Summary : Experience the wonders of Antarctica and the amazing wildlife of South Georgia. Explore Montevideo, enjoy lectures and information sessions from expert expedition staff, explore abandoned whaling stations and visit Shackleton’s grave, visit king penguin colonies of over a million birds, watch the mating rituals of mammoth elephant seals, explore the South Shetland Islands as they thaw for the summer, and encounter stunning glaciers and mighty icebergs.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$11,999 to $18,999
Arrive at any time and transfer to the hotel. Enjoy the city at your leisure. A group meeting in the early evening provides the opportunity to meet fellow travelers and discuss plans for the following day.
Leave the hotel as a group in the early afternoon. The morning is free for you to do any last minute shopping or visit one of Montevideo's colorful neighborhoods. Embark your vessel and spend the evening onboard the ship sailing southwards towards the Falkland Islands.
Make your passage south, and become acquainted with the ship and your onboard staff and crew. Spend time on deck spotting wildlife including albatross and always keep an eye out for whales and dolphins. Begin the lecture and information sessions to learn the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region.
The Falkland Islands provide a rare opportunity to witness the biological diversity and extraordinary scenery of the southern islands. The Falklands are home to numerous animal species, including elephant seals and several varieties of penguins, as well as the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world. Port Stanley provides an opportunity to meet the local inhabitants whose colorful houses provide contrast to the long dark winters.
Sailing east, set course for South Georgia Island. Days at sea provide time for learning about the region with educational lectures to prepare for landings, getting to know your shipmates and relaxing. Spend time on deck identifying the abundant sea birds of the Southern Ocean, while keeping your eyes peeled for the many whales that inhabit these waters.
South Georgia is home to many marvels, including Shackleton’s grave, several former whaling stations and prolific wildlife. Visit a huge colony of King penguins, one of the many highlights of the journey. Weather permitting, you will have four full days to explore the island. South Georgia’s wildlife is extraordinary, not only in its variety, but also for its sheer abundance. South Georgia is home to roughly 300,000 elephant seals, 3 million fur seals, and 25 species of breeding birds, including wandering albatross.
Turn south, retracing Shackleton's route backwards as you head towards Elephant Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. The nutrient rich waters provide for a complex food chain topped by several species of whales, seals, and seabirds.
Experience some of the most unique wildlife viewing and inspiring scenery in the world as you set foot on Antarctic Islands. Attempt two shore landings per day (weather conditions permitting), and encounter gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguin rookeries, Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals, and orca, humpback and minke whales in the cold Antarctic waters. As well as magnificent natural history, Antarctica also has a remarkable human history. During the voyage, learn about the important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world.
The South Shetland Islands abound with wildlife activity. Penguins gather with their fast-growing chicks, whales are seen, seals haul out onto ice floes and beaches, and numerous seabirds trail in the ship’s wake. Enjoy the sheer beauty and the breathtaking scenery of the Scotia Sea, blue and white icebergs, and rugged snow-capped mountains. As you thread your way along these islands, keep a lookout from the bridge or the deck of the ship, feeling the same sense of excitement as many of the early explorers. The coastal areas you visit have some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on the continent. Antarctica is one of the largest and last true wilderness areas left on earth – largely unchanged since the first sealers, whalers, and early explorers first landed on its shores less than two centuries ago.
Turning north, embark upon the crossing of the Drake Passage. Your ship is at home in this part of the Southern Ocean. Cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water south. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-Antarctic waters, where the mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity. Wandering, black-browed and light-mantled sooty albatross, prion's and cape petrels are among some of the species of seabirds that may join in your journey back towards the South American continent.
Have a final breakfast on the expedition ship before saying goodbyes. Disembark in Ushuaia in the morning. You are free to fly out of Ushuaia anytime from noon onward.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions – and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on the expedition, all passengers must purchase medical and emergency evacuation insurance with a minimum medical coverage of $200,000 and this insurance must cover personal injury, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, and evacuation expenses. Clients must be able to provide proof of insurance purchase and adequate coverage as per the required amounts above. We also strongly recommend that all passengers purchase comprehensive travel insurance which would include coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Venture out to sheltered bays and areas known for calmer waters on small group kayaking excursions led by expert kayaking guides. Space is limited to 10 passengers per cruise. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
One pre-cruise hotel night with breakfast in Montevideo; hotel to ship transfer; Ushuaia airport transfer (depending on your departure flight details); cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; beverages including coffee, tea, and water; shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; services of the Expedition staff and naturalists; lecture and educational programs; shore excursions and Zodiac cruises; services of Expedition staff and naturalists; lecture and educational programs; an Antarctica destination guidebook; gear on loan (waterproof rubber boots for US sizes 6-16); and a complimentary wind- and water-resistant parka. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel insurance (required); passport and visa fees; departure taxes; gratuities are at your discretion; items of a personal nature including laundry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (except coffee, tea and water); optional excursions; kayaking; fuel surcharge may apply.