Summary : Discover the Antarctic Peninsula, South Shetland Islands, Falkland Islands, and South Georgia on this ultimate wildlife expedition filled with breathtaking scenery and stunning wildlife. Explore the polar wilderness of Antarctica, where lofty serrated mountain ranges, all-encompassing glaciers, icebergs of every size, and robust populations of penguins, seals, and whales are found. In the Falkland Islands, where birdlife abounds, discover easily accessible albatross and penguin rookeries on idyllic island farmsteads. In South Georgia, amidst the dramatic Southern Ocean seascape, find world-famous wildlife beaches thronged with jousting elephant seals, raucous fur seals, and stately king penguins. In the South Shetland Islands, explore a pristine polar wilderness of singular beauty, complete with bustling penguin colonies, dauntless seals, and voracious whales. On this ultimate wildlife expedition, each destination is more amazing than the last.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$17,695 to $38,695
Welcome to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and starting point of your expedition. Transfer to your hotel (included in the price of your voyage). For the rest of the day you are free to explore the city. Take advantage of souvenir shopping and a variety of dining options in the city center.
Arrive at the ship via group transfer in the afternoon where you will be greeted by the expedition team and ship's officers. Explore the ship and get comfortable in your home away from home for the extraordinary adventure to come. Savor the anticipation of your Antarctic dreams coming true as the ship slips her moorings and sails toward a true wilderness where wildlife abounds. The scenery as you sail through the Beagle Channel on your first evening is wonderful—there is already the possibility of marine mammal encounters.
After transiting the Beagle Channel and passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, head northeast toward the Falkland Islands. Be on the lookout for marine mammals such as dolphins and whales. Presentations by knowledgeable guides will prepare you for arrival in the Falkland Islands.
The remote and sparsely populated Falkland Islands are a birders’ paradise. You can anticipate visiting one or more of the isolated outer islands where large colonies of penguins and albatross are easily accessible. The Falklands are also a great place to observe marine mammals. Fur seals and elephant seals can be found on sandy beaches while the waters in and around the archipelago are home to various whale and dolphin species. Your route and exploration opportunities are dependent on the weather in these windswept islands. You may also visit Stanley, the charmingly British capital of the Falkland Islands. Attractions within pleasant walking distance along the waterfront promenade include the Falkland Islands Museum, the governor’s house, a cathedral with an impressive whalebone arch outside, a war memorial, quality gift shops, pubs, and views of shipwrecks in the harbor.
From the Falkland Islands the ship will head east toward South Georgia, passing the remote, seabird-covered pinnacles known as Shag Rocks on the way. You will also cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. Briefings, biosecurity procedures, and lectures from your expert staff will prepare you for arrival in South Georgia.
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. The route and exploration opportunities in South Georgia are heavily dependent on the weather conditions encountered. Your experienced captain and expedition leader will decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. You can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented by nature in this wild and remote corner of the world. You will take every safe opportunity to go ashore in this amazing place.
South Georgia is a scenic wilderness and an unrivaled paradise for sub-Antarctic wildlife viewing. The islands are said to host upwards of 100 million seabirds, including numerous species of albatross, penguins, prions, petrels, and terns. On beaches such as those at Salisbury Plain and St. Andrews Bay, over 100,000 elephant seals and three million fur seals jostle for space among innumerable penguins including stately king penguins and sprightly macaroni penguins.
The bountiful waters surrounding South Georgia are also inhabited by an increasing number of whales. The historical whaling station of Grytviken is now home to the excellent South Georgia Museum managed by the South Georgia Heritage Trust. This is also the final resting place of Ernest Shackleton, the legendary polar explorer. Your days in South Georgia are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations, and enough incredible scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
Continue west toward the Antarctic Peninsula. Pelagic seabirds including the majestic albatross are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks or from exterior stateroom windows and balconies. You may also encounter enormous tabular icebergs drifting north from the Weddell Sea.
The Antarctic Peninsula region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and some of Antarctica’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Protected bays and narrow channels are surrounded by towering mountain peaks covered in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to a variety of whale and seal species. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large nesting colonies at special places on land. The area is also home to Antarctic research stations of various nationalities, some with a gift shop and post office.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely be your first sighting of land. This wild and beautiful island chain contains numerous landing sites with abundant wildlife and historical significance. Among them is Elephant Island, where men from Shackleton’s famous Endurance expedition spent the winter.
Farther south, on the Antarctic Peninsula, the gorgeous Gerlache Strait area contains sheltered bays, accessible wildlife, and stunning scenery. Places with names like Paradise Bay are the epitome of everything Antarctic: glaciated mountains, towering icebergs, feeding whales, seals on ice floes, and bustling penguin colonies. At the southern end of Gerlache Strait is the famous Lemaire Channel, also known as “Kodak Gap” because of the photogenic way the mountainous sides of the narrow channel are reflected in calm waters strewn with icebergs. Every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, amazing scenery, and excursions via Zodiac will be taken.
It is now time to head north across the Drake Passage toward South America, though the adventure is not quite over. Keep an eye out for marine mammals and seabirds. This is also the time for festivities such as the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and the end-of-voyage slideshow. Finally, as the ship enters the Beagle Channel, enjoy a night of sailing toward Ushuaia.
After breakfast say farewell in the city of Ushuaia, where you first started. A group transfer is provided to the airport or to the town center. As you look back on your wonderful experience in Antarctica, you may already be looking forward to your next incredible adventure to the ice!
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.
Bilingual Departures: All voyages are conducted in English and German.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to carry adequate travel insurance that must contain medical, evacuation and repatriation coverage. Passengers must ensure that their purchased insurance includes cruise travel in the polar regions, and has evacuation and repatriation coverage of no less than $200,000 per person. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
Pre-booking required; space is limited. Weather permitting, experience the thrill and tranquility of sea kayaking in the polar regions as part of a guided paddling group. Participants must be at least 16 years old at the time of their voyage, in good health with appropriate physical fitness, and have previous kayaking experience. Children who are 16 to 18 years of age at the time of their voyage are allowed to participate if they are accompanied and supervised at all times by a parent or guardian.
Photography Program: Included
Learn and practice your photography skills alongside an experienced professional. An expert photographer will be available to answer your questions and give advice, both in the form of onboard lectures and workshops on shore. Explore the key elements of photography in a fun and relaxed setting with plenty of opportunities for questions and feedback. Learn how to see light in a new way and experiment with the techniques of composition and framing.
One pre-voyage hotel night in Ushuaia; group transfer airport/hotel on day prior to embarkation; group transfer to ship on day of embarkation; group transfer to airport or central location upon disembarkation in Ushuaia; shipboard accommodations; welcome and farewell cocktails on board ship; leadership throughout the voyage by experienced Expedition Leader and Expedition Team; scheduled landings/excursions (subject to weather and ice conditions); Wi-Fi on board ship; digital voyage log; photography program; gear to keep (wind- and water-resistant parka); gear on loan (rubber boots); all meals onboard the ship; 24-hour coffee/tea station on board ship; all port fees. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers to/from hotel if arriving prior to Day 1 of the program; visa and passport fees (if applicable); emergency evacuation insurance to a minimum benefit of $200,000 (required); luggage and trip cancellation insurance (highly recommended); excess baggage charges; soft drinks and alcoholic beverages other than those mentioned as included; kayaking; personal expenses such as laundry and onboard communications such as telephone calls; gratuities; pre- or post-cruise travel expenses; fuel surcharge may apply.
Photos: © Poseidon Expeditions