Summary : Embark on a polar adventure of a lifetime on this voyage that sails to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Along the way, the route will visit the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies, and whale feeding areas as well as sites of historic and scientific interest. The trip may include picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the humpback whale-favored Wilhelmina Bay, the wildlife-filled Errera Channel, the majestic Neumayer Channel, or the striking Antarctic Sound with its tabular icebergs. Travel to remote farms in the Falklands Islands that have been family-owned for six and seven generations. Marvel at sheep grazing alongside albatross colonies and rock hopper, king, and Magellanic penguin rookeries while striated caracaras patrol overhead and upland geese graze at the water's edge. Discover South Georgia's magnificent mountain scenery, glaciers galore, rugged coastline punctuated with castellate and tabular icebergs, rich historical tapestry, and an astounding array of wildlife.
Activities : Birding, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Located in the Patagonian province of Chubut, Puerto Madryn is one of Argentina's fastest growing cities and the gateway to the Peninsula Valdés. Puerto Madryn is a popular resort destination for wildlife excursions—visit a sea lion colony or take a whale watching trip to view the Southern Right Whales, watch for nesting cormorants and magnificent elephant seals, or experience a walk through a colony of Magellanic penguins and myriad species of native seabirds.
Arriving at the ship in the afternoon, you will be greeted by your Expedition Team and ship's officers at a safety and orientation briefing followed by the captain's welcome dinner. Then, watch the city lights fade in the fresh night air as you sail seaward.
Among the wildlife spotting opportunities as you sail south are the albatrosses, prions, and petrels that frequently follow the ship. Your expedition team will be out on deck as well, looking for the whales and dolphins that may also be seen in the area. Your experts will begin the presentations with informative and entertaining talks on the wildlife, history, and geology of The Falkland Islands and Southern Ocean. Helpful briefings on environmental regulations and expedition safety will also be held in the comfortable lounge.
The westernmost settled outposts in the Falklands are remote farms that have been family-owned for six and seven generations. The sheep graze alongside albatross colonies and rock hopper, king, and Magellanic penguin rookeries while striated caracaras patrol overhead and upland geese graze at the water's edge. A visit to one of these homesteads often includes an invitation for cakes and a cup of tea.
Chosen for its sheltered harbor and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel, Stanley is easy to discover on foot as most shops and services are centered on the port. The museum, the post-office featuring first day covers, plenty of shops with locally made wool items and Stanley's lively pubs will all be available. It is possible to experience the wildlife of the Falklands from the town including sea lions and Peale's and Commerson's dolphins in the harbor or bird life in nearby Gypsy Cove.
There will be plenty of wildlife spotting as you make your way east across the Antarctic Convergence and officially enter Antarctic waters. Shipboard presentations will continue featuring the exciting history and abundant wildlife of South Georgia.
Its unique position inside the Antarctic Convergence yet outside the limit of the yearly sea ice makes this 2,333 square mile island home to tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals and seabirds. Magnificent mountain scenery, glaciers galore, a rugged coastline punctuated with castellate and tabular icebergs, a rich historical tapestry, and an astounding array of wildlife are all available to you as you travel down South Georgia's leeward coast. Landing sites feature huge elephant seals, aggressive fur seals, macaroni penguins, albatross, petrels, skuas, and gulls. King penguins from fuzzy little chicks to fattened adults can be seen in the hundreds of thousands. We will visit historic Grytviken whaling station, home of the whaling museum, Norwegian seaman's church, the active British Antarctic Survey station plus the tiny graveyard where the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.
Heading farther south, you will continue your informative presentations and wildlife watch as the icebergs become more and more plentiful.
Your expedition leaders and captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. The route will stress the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas as well as sites of historic and scientific interest. The trip may include picturesque Neko Harbor, sheltered Paradise Harbor, the Humpback Whale favored Wilhelmina Bay, the wildlife-filled Errera Channel, the majestic Neumayer Channel, or the striking Antarctic Sound with its tabular icebergs. You may stop at an active scientific base such as Poland’s Arctowksi or Argentina’s Esperanza as well as an historic base such as U.K.’s Port Lockroy or the Nordenskjöld expedition remains at Hope Bay. Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins abound, and Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant Seals are often found hauled out to rest along with predatory Leopard Seals and the irritable Antarctic Fur Seal. Minke and humpback whales are frequent visitors in the late season and Orca sightings are also common.
Continue your lecture series and wildlife spotting as you sail back to Ushuaia and reflect on beautiful Antarctica and its fragile future.
Morning disembarkation lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.
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: All passengers are required to carry valid travel insurance. This insurance must contain medical and evacuation coverage. Cancellation and trip interruption insurance are strongly recommended as well. As any potential evacuation from Antarctica can cost up to $200,000, it is recommended that no policy carry less than this amount of coverage. Pre-departure forms will require information as to travel insurance carrier, policy number, and a 24 hour contact number. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions.
The Citizen Science program is complimentary and open to anyone onboard who wants to help with real-world scientific research. From penguin surveys to measuring ocean salinity, there are a number of projects you can take part in. Participation availability can vary. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking offers an opportunity to participate in the most intimate Antarctica encounters. Basic paddling experience is highly recommended. Participants should be capable of getting in and out of a kayak, doing a wet exit, and performing forward and back strokes. Maximum participants: 16 passengers per voyage. Included: kayaks (mix of tandems and singles), dry suits, paddles, personal flotation devices (PFDs), and Pogies (neoprene gloves). Booking in advance is highly recommended. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Get the most out of your photography and bring home memories that will last a lifetime. On every voyage there is a dedicated photography coach who is experienced in the unique weather and lighting conditions that make Antarctica the most special place on earth while sometimes challenging to capture on film. Everyone on board is welcome to take advantage of this included service. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
One pre-voyage hotel night in Puerto Madryn; transfer from the Trelew Airport in Puerto Madryn to the group hotel (if arriving on Day 1 of the itinerary); transfer from the group hotel to the ship for embarkation; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; scheduled landings and excursions; 24/7 complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate; welcome/farewell cocktail; citizen science program; complimentary house beer/wine/soft drink with dinner; WiFi from the public computers in the library; 100-minute WiFi card (for use on your personal device); daily international news service; digital voyage log; gear on loan (a pair of boots); and a waterproof jacket (yours to keep). Owner's Suite, Penthouse, Veranda, Deluxe, and Promenade categories: champagne and chocolates on arrival, a complimentary mini bar (beer, wine, and soft drinks), and an en suite Nespresso machine (available on request). Inclusions subject to change without notice.
Any airfare or travel expenses associated with arrival in Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn; transfer from airport to group hotel, unless arriving on Day 1 of the itinerary; pre- or post-voyage expenses in Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn; laundry and personal expenses incurred on board; alcohol and soft drinks (except as listed in the inclusions); onboard communication charges such as phone calls; Wi-Fi from personal devices in excess of 100 minutes provided; staff gratuities; fuel surcharge (may apply in the event of significant fuel price increases).