Summary : Enjoy all of the best Antarctic highlights in one voyage, with spectacular landing sites on the Falkland Island and encounters with black-browed albatrosses and rockhopper penguins. This voyage also included four days on South Georgia, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. South Georgia adds another dimension to your Antarctic adventure. This historic island offers superb photographic opportunities, vast king penguin colonies, fur and elephant seals, and the chance to follow in the wake of one of the great heroes of Antarctic exploration: Sir Ernest Shackleton, who is buried in Grytviken at the foot of South Georgia’s mountain range. On the Falkland Islands, spend time leisurely hiking to penguin rookeries and other unspoiled wildlife habitats, or perhaps stroll the village streets of Port Stanley.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking
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$13,200 to $20,800
Embark the vessel in the afternoon and sail toward the Falkland Islands.
As you sail toward the Falklands, keep an eye out for several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels. The waters here are rich in krill, making them a favorite with local wildlife searching for food.
Spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. Hike along the Shore of Carcass Island giving views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl, night herons and passerines. In addition, on Saunders you can observe four species of breeding penguins (Gentoo, King, Magellanic and Rockhopper), Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.
Experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm. You are free to wander around on your own. Recommend is a visit to the local church and museum (admission fees not included).
On the way to South Georgia, cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop by as much as 10 degrees C in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence you’ll see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship; several species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Prions and Skuas.
In the afternoon, arrive at your first landing site in South Georgia. Sites may include a visit to the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay and/or Drygalski Fjord. Whatever the itinerary be, a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the introduced Reindeer, Elephant seals, Fur seals, King and Macaroni Penguins will exist. One of the highlights could be a visit to Prion Island to witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their displays.
At Fortuna Bay, you may try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stømness Bay. There and at Grytviken you’ll see an abandoned whaling village, where King Penguins now roam the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. At Grytviken, you’ll also visit the Whaling History Museum as well as Shackleton´s grave.
Enjoy time at sea followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point the ship may encounter sea-ice, and it is at this ice-edge where you might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel.
Visit Orcadas Station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel will give you a tour of their facilities while you enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
Enroute to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. You may visit Paulet Island with a million pairs of Adelie Penguins and the remains of the Nordenskjöld expedition. At Brown Bluff you may set foot on the Continent.
Attempt to land at Half Moon Island, where you can observe Elephant, Weddell and Fur Seals as well as Chinstrap Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Kelp Gulls, Snowy Sheathbills, Antarctic Terns and Antarctic Brown Skuas.
At Deception Island, a landing will be attempted at Baily Head home to a colony of ten thousands Chinstrap Penguins. Good walkers may hike from Baily Head over the ridge of the crater into Whalers Bay, while the ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island.
Deception itself is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.
On the way south, sail to Cuverville Island in the Errera Channel, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. Try for a continental landing at Neko Harbour in Andvord Bay. Aim to sail further south to Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, while having chances of seeing large Whales. Opportunities for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords will be on offer. Sail through the Neumayer Channel and arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape of icebergs, where you may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales.
Heading north, you’ll again be followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the infamous Drake Passage.
Arrive in the morning in Ushuaia, disembark and transfer to the airport.
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 this expedition, all passengers must purchase insurance including medical, accident and repatriation/evacuation insurance. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Shore-Based Walking Option:
Enjoy walking excursions of 2-3 hours with knowledgable, experienced guides. Sturdy, knee-high boots are provided. Groups of 10-20 passengers per excursion.
Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary; all meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea; free use of rubber boots and snowshoes on loan; pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation); luggage transfer from pick-up point to the vessel on the day of embarkation in Ushuaia; all shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; comprehensive pre-departure material.
Any airfare; pre- and post-land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; travel insurance; excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for the ship's crew; fuel surcharge may apply.