Summary : The South Sandwich Islands add another dimension to your Antarctic adventure. South Georgia is a historic island offering 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
$999,999,999 to $0
Embark the vessel in the afternoon and sail through the scenic Beagle Channel.
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.
At the rarely visited and uninhabited South Sandwich Islands, attempt to land on Zavodovski Island, home to over a million pairs of breeding Chinstrap Penguins, making it one of the world's largest penguin colonies. Other landings will be pursued on the steep-sided Candlemas Island and on Saunders Island. These volcanic islands, discovered by James Cook in 1775, with an ice cap on the top, are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins and Southern Giant petrels. Elephant seals and Fur seals also haul out at the beaches. View the remains of the huge table ice bergs arriving from the Weddell Sea.
Sailing along the ice edge to the west the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At the edge of the pack-ice which extends far to the north you might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick skua and Snow petrel. The ice edge is a prime feeding area for the great whales such as Humpback whales and Fin whales. The very rare Southern Blue whale may also be spotted.
Attempt to 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.
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. At Brown Bluff, you may set foot on the Continent.
Charlotte Bay on the west coast of Graham Land was discovered by Adrien de Gerlache during the 1897–99 Belgica expedition and named after the fiancée of Georges Lecointe, Gerlache's executive officer, hydrographer and second-in-command of the expedition. The topography of the surrounding area is mountainous, with nunataks rising through the ice. Charlotte Bay is often filled with icebergs. Spot seals on ice floes and occasional kelp gulls, skuas, shags, or penguins. In Wilhelmina Bay, admire the rugged ice coated mountains of the Arctowski Peninsula.
At Deception Island, 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.
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.
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 on loan; group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation); shore excursions by Zodiac; program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; comprehensive pre-departure material. Subject to change without notice.
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 Stanley museum charge, 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.