Summary : On this extraordinary voyage, follow in the wake of courageous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica and the South Shetlands before heading via Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea to South Georgia and Falkland Islands.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark the vessel to begin your journey through the Beagle Channel, a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago.
Sailing onward, cross the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest confidently aboard your expedition vessel, which is purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and a highly qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement – and soon you can tick it off on the list yourself!
In the Drake, the excitement builds as Antarctic wildlife comes into view with your first sight of seals, penguins and albatrosses.
Having crossed the Drake explore the South Shetland chain and marvel at the captivating landscapes you will encounter along the way. Weather permitting, the hope is to make the first landfall on King George Island.
Over the coming days, begin your exciting Antarctic experience at the very tip of the continent. The aim is to have both continental and island landings on the shores of Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea, always on the lookout for some of the unusually large penguin colonies, which have recently been observed.
The itinerary and activities over the next few days depend on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings will be determined by the Captain and Expedition Leader and communicated to the guests through regularly scheduled briefings.
From the Weddell Sea, continue your journey into the open sea, just as Ernest Shackleton and his men did more than a hundred years ago. Having lost their ship Endurance deep south in the Weddell Sea they moved slowly north on ice floes and later in open lifeboats until they reached Elephant Island. From here started one of the most remarkable boat journeys in the polar history, when Shackleton and five of his men during two weeks navigated the 720 nautical miles to South Georgia to call for recovery of his stranded crew on Elephant Island. Passing Elephant Island at close distance you on the other hand will reach the mighty South Georgia after just a few days at sea!
Often referred to as the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’, South Georgia is one of the planet’s most significant biological hotspots. Imagine tens of thousands of King penguins—stretching as far as the eye can see from the ocean to the base of alpine peaks—and going ashore at pivotal historic sites from the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. It is simply spectacular and not to be missed.
Landing sites on South Georgia are varied and are largely determined by the weather and sea conditions on your voyage. Whatever sites you visit—such as Grytviken, Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbor, Fortuna Bay, and Stromness—you’ll have wildlife encounters unrivaled anywhere else on earth.
Days at sea are great for participating in lectures, photo sessions and recaps, reading books in the ship library and watching the ubiquitous storm petrels and albatrosses from top deck...or just to relax.
The Falklands are more than a gateway to South Georgia and Antarctica, as this remote collection of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean is home to remarkable bird life and marine mammals as well as stunning landscapes. You may hike to the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world, spot Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins in the surrounding waters, or watch penguins in the surf as they prepare to come ashore on an expansive sandy beach.
In Port Stanley, capital of the Falklands and the center of its culture, you’ll be treated to a charming mix of colorful Victorian-era homes, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs.
Disembark the ship after breakfast 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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance; minimum $200,000. The medical insurance must be able to cover all existing health issues the passenger might have. It must also cover medical treatment and medical evacuation in any of the areas traveled. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. 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 U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Airfare; accommodations other than the ship; transfers not mentioned as included; passport and visa expenses; kayaking; alcohol, soft drinks and other beverages (unless mentioned as included in select suites) besides coffee and tea; Wi-Fi; communication charges; all items of a personal nature; required travel insurance; gratuities (gratuities will be automatically added to your onboard account; gratuities are adjustable); laundry (unless mentioned as included in select suites); excess baggage charges; airport departure tax; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos © Albatros Expeditions