Summary : This voyage is the complete Antarctica experience with opportunities to explore the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic Peninsula. 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 charming Port Stanley. Polar diving option available.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Diving, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
$14,250 to $21,950
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, but also numerous waders and passerine birds are present. On Saunders Island, observe four species of penguins: gentoo, king, magellanic and rockhopper. You can also see black-browed albatrosses and king cormorants.
Experience the Falkland's unique blend of South American culture and Victorian charm as you wander among colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English style pubs. The small, but very interesting museum is well worth a visit featuring an exhibition covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War of 1982 (admission fees not included). Approximately 1,300 people live in the small capital in which all passengers are free to wander around on their own.
On the way to South Georgia, cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic currents, the temperature can drop by as much as 10 degrees C in the time span of only a few hours. Nutritious water is brought to the surface by the colliding water columns bringing a multitude of seabirds near the ship such as albatross, 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. You will have a wonderful opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like elephant seals, fur seals, king and macaroni penguins. One of the highlights could be a visit to Prion Island (the island is closed for visitors during breeding season from November 20th – January 7th) 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 residency. At Grytviken, you’ll also visit the Whaling History Museum as well as Shackleton's grave. Depart South Georgia in the afternoon of Day 10.
Enjoy time at sea followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point the ship may encounter sea-ice, and you might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel.
Attempt a visit to Orcadas Station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel will show you their facilities while you enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
Enroute to the Antarctic Peninsula.
If ice conditions permit, 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. Wildlife sightings in the area will include penguins, seals and whales! You may have stops at Brown Bluff, Cierva Cove, Mikkelson Harbour, Half Moon Island, and/or Deception Island.
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 variety 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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Polar Diving: 2/17/2018
Dive under shallow water, down along walls, from the beach, or from a Zodiac. You will reach a maximum of 60 feet. Unlike no other dive—the combination of water, sunlight, and ice formations creates an ever-shifting spectacle of colors. Space is limited; request at time of booking. Participants will dive in group of eight divers per guide, with a maximum of 24 divers per excursion. Compressors and weights are provided. Participants must bring their own dry suit with hood and additional equipment. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for a complete list. This activity is available for experienced divers. Participants are required to present their internationally accepted diver certificate, diver's logbook, and a statement from their doctor (not older than two years) that demonstrates they are in a good state of physical health allowing them to scuba dive. Experience with both cold water diving and dry suit diving (at least 30 dives) is required. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary; cabin accommodations and meals 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 and activities by Zodiac; lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges. Subject to change without notice.
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 and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for the ship's crew; fuel surcharge may apply.