Summary : Experience the trip of a lifetime and follow in the footsteps of brave explorers, the likes of Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton. A frosted wilderness of glistening white as far as the eye can see, dominated by natural ice sculptures like enormous works of avant-garde art, await you. Hear the cries of penguins multiplied by the thousands, watch leopard seals and sea lions perfectly at ease in the company of visitors, feel the unspeakable magnificence of a whale breaching from beneath cold ocean waters. Experience the wonders of the Antarctic while taking full advantage of the luxurious all-inclusive lifestyle, including spacious suites and comfortable common areas.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark the vessel in the afternoon and meet the Expedition Leaders. As you sail away, enjoy the mountain-lined shoreline of the Beagle Channel while you leave Ushuaia and bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the Land at the End of the World.
The Expedition Team’s expert lecturers will present ornithological and historical insights into the Falkland Islands, your first destination. Hear about the early European explorers and the different attempts at settling the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. Get introduced to the birdlife expected to be seen by the on-board ornithologist.
Tonight, you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party hosted by the Captain, who will introduce his senior officers.
Saunders Island is the fourth-largest of the Falkland Islands in the western portion of the archipelago. The island’s topography is unusual, being made up of three peninsulas linked by narrow necks, and three big upland areas. Today the island is run as a sheep farm, but has historical importance as the location of the first British settlement in the Falklands. Saunders’ wildlife is also impressively varied. Gentoo Penguins and King Penguins reside in the open dune and sand flat area, while Rockhopper Penguins, Imperial Shags and Black-browed Albatrosses frequent Mount Richards. Other key bird species are the Black–throated Finch, Ruddy-headed Goose and Falkland Steamer Duck.
Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and has a distinct British ambience. A classic ‘City Highlights’ tour which covers Stanley and surrounding environs will be offered this morning. This excursion passes by older and newer portions of Stanley, stopping at the local harbor for small boats, both in current operations as well as half sunken hulks from 100 years ago, some of which are now being used as docks. Additional stops will be the shipwreck of the Lady Elizabeth, the peat cutting area, an outdoor whale bone display, war memorials and the museum.
Stroll through the charming streets of this colorful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs, and visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral. Some lingering reminders of the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina may still be seen.
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Gather in The Theatre to perhaps hear about Captain Cook’s first visit to South Georgia or to learn about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Our knowledgeable onboard experts will present lectures and seminars in a variety of scientific fields. Other onboard diversions may include photography workshops, Spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
This breathtaking destination of towering snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and low-lying grasslands attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife: Southern fur seals, southern elephant seals and a variety of albatross species including Black-browed, Light-mantled Sooty, Grey-headed and the spectacular Wandering Albatross, plus thousands of King and hundreds of Macaroni Penguins.
South Georgia is also linked to the early Antarctic explorers. Captain James Cook first stepped ashore in 1775, but perhaps more famous is Ernest Shackleton’s arrival in 1916 following the sinking of his ship Endurance. Visit the graves of Shackleton and Frank Wild, and the whaling museum at Grytviken. Here are some of the places you may visit:
Enjoy a Zodiac cruise to see Macaroni and Chinstrap Penguins on the rocks and in the water.
A large King Penguin colony can be found near Bertrab Glacier, while elephant seals can be seen sunning on the beaches.
Grytviken is a historic whaling station. You can still see the remains of the activity, including rusted hulls of long abandoned whaling and sealing ships, and some of the working-areas. In the museum guests can learn about past whaling techniques and view various exhibits on exploration and discovery. Visit the burial site of famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. The remains of his faithful companion Frank Wild have been brought here too.
Salisbury Plain is a favorite breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of King Penguins. It is amazing to see how they completely cover the beaches and hills.
Participate in onboard activities, relax in one of the lounges, or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library. Take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendor of the vast sea and sky. During the cruise towards the Antarctic Peninsula you might see some of the giant tabular icebergs coming from the Weddell Sea.
Awesome glaciers flecked with pink algae surround you as your ship approaches Elephant Island – so named for its abundance of elephant seals. When Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, was enveloped by pack ice in the Weddell Sea during his infamous 1916 voyage, the crew was stranded here for 137 days. Elephant Island is home to several Chinstrap Penguin rookeries, as well as old moss colonies. Weddell seals and Macaroni Penguins can also be found on the spit of land Shackleton’s men named Point Wild. A solitary statue can be seen there, honoring the Chilean captain Luis Pardo, who took the cutter Yelcho across the Drake Passage to rescue Shackleton’s men.
Start your Antarctic experiences at the top of the Antarctic Peninsula, venturing into Antarctic Sound and its magnificent array of tabular icebergs, historical sites and Adelie and Gentoo Penguin rookeries. Depending on weather and ice conditions Silver Explorer might visit Brown Bluff, Hope Bay and cruise the Antarctic Sound.
A 2,200-foot bluff on the Antarctic continent, Brown Bluff is an ice-capped, 745-meter-high, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock. The coastal area at the base of Brown Bluff is used by Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels as a breeding area. Under good climatic conditions a walk onto a nearby glacier might be feasible.
With one of the largest Adelie penguin colonies in Antarctica, take a Zodiac cruise past the Argentine Station “Esperanza” to see some of the penguins, Weddell seals and Blue-eyed Shags.
While sailing along the Antarctic Peninsula’ white wilderness, every turn can reveal a new and breathtaking adventure. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular icebergs and calving glaciers, and for the possibility of up-close encounters with marine mammals. Watch for seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and for humpback, Minke, and orcas to surface from below the frigid waters in this spectacular wilderness. You may visit:
Errera Channel has large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels may be seen, and Wilson’s Storm Petrels nest in the higher scree of the island. During Zodiac tours, look for hauled-out Weddell and leopard seals. Conditions permitting, attempt to hike to the top of the island for some spectacular panoramic views.
Well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs, from the ship or Zodiac you can observe Argentina’s “Base Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations, and view the wildlife. There is a good chance you will come across a crabeater seal relaxing on a nearby ice floe. Blue-eyed Shags nest in the cliffs close to the base, while Brown Skuas like to be around the buildings. Minke whales frequent the area.
Named for geographer August Petermann, it was discovered by a German expedition in 1873-74. During your landing, observe rookeries of Adelie Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. Petermann has various geological features, especially rock surfaces showing glacial polish and some glacial grooving. To reach Petermann Island the Lemaire Channel has to be crossed. This is one of the most spectacular channels with steep snow-covered mountains on both sides and icebergs of different sizes at the southern end.
The South Shetland Islands run parallel to the Antarctic Peninsula and have both scientific stations and large penguin colonies. Depending on conditions, you might visit the Aitcho Islands, Deception Island or Half Moon Island.
Port Foster (Deception Island):
An excellent example of a breached caldera flooded by seawater, sail into Port Foster through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows. The resident Geologist will take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area, while the Historian might introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island. The British base’s Biscoe House was destroyed by a mudflow after a volcanic eruption in the late 1960s but can still clearly be seen. Depending on weather conditions several hikes to viewpoints might be offered.
Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that float in the air currents of the ship’s wake such as the black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters and white-chinned petrels. As you return to Ushuaia, take advantage of the opportunity to listen to additional presentations offered by onboard specialists and swap prized photos with new found friends.
Disembark the vessel after breakfast.
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.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Ship accommodation; onboard meals; butler service; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of complimentary wines, champagne and spirits); all onboard gratuities (except spa); expedition parka and backpack; port charges and handling fees; Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table; 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Adventurer, Explorer, View, Vista, and Veranda Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Owner’s Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry and spa options, fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services of Silversea Cruises, © Bruno Cazarini (king penguins, hike), © Richard Sidey (waterfall, albatross, ice, seal)