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Antarctica, Falklands, and South Georgia – Solar Eclipse Voyage

Antarctica Cruise Information

Summary : A total solar eclipse occurs only every 1-2 years, and to witness it in this special part of the globe is without doubt a rare occurrence. On this unique voyage, you will visit Antarctica and experience the incredible white continent in late spring, photograph glistening icebergs, witness mischievious Adélie penguins stealing one another’s stones during nest-building, and orca whales hunting in packs. It’s a wonderful time to opt to kayak and snowshoe while the snow is still pristine.

NASA astronomer, Dr. Michelle Thaller and NASA Engineer, Dr. Andrew Booth, will be joining this voyage. Assistant Director for Science Communication at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, Dr. Thaller will share knowledge she has acquired over 20 years of research with guests in the form of onboard lectures. Dr. Thaller will also conduct a series of talks alongside Dr. Booth, a lead engineer on NASA’s WSFIRST mission to unravel the secrets of dark energy and matter.

NOTE: This is a NEW ship for this season. All details are subject to change.

Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Triple/Quad Cabins

PRICING

Prices from
$23,700 to $51,200

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Itinerary
Day 1
Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive in Ushuaia where you’ll be met by an expedition representative and transferred to your downtown hotel (if taking the designated group flight).

Day 2
Ushuaia, Argentina / Embark

This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day city tour.

The city tour will aim to visit The Mission, Brown and Solier neighborhoods, where you can see old houses belonging to the first families in Tierra del Fuego, such as the Beban, the Pastoriza, and the Ramos. Head 11 kilometers (6.8 miles) out of town to Martial Glacier. The ride in the chair lift to the trails leading up to the glacier provides wonderful regional views of Ushuaia, the Beagle Channel and its islands. Afterwards, continue to the End of the World Museum with exhibitions explaining the history of Tierra del Fuego.

Transfer to the pier where your expedition team will warmly welcome you on board the Greg Mortimer at approximately 4:00pm.

As the Greg Mortimer pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings.

NOTE: Lunch is not included today.

Day 3 – 4
Drake Passage

Crossing the Drake is a rite of passage that signifies your journey to the White Continent has begun! As you sail from the southern tip of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula, enjoy time on deck in the cool salt breeze as you spot sea birds gracefully soaring in the wind. Attend engaging presentations, enjoy the ship’s amenities, and get to know your fellow traveling companions as excitement builds in anticipation of your first excursion. The first iceberg will flash into sight as you near the South Shetlands Islands, and you may even see penguins swimming!

Day 5 – 9
Antarctic Peninsula / South Shetland Islands

As you navigate historic waterways and visit prime sites along the Antarctic Peninsula and neighboring South Shetland Islands, the goal is to attempt 1-2 excursions per day. Your Captain and Expedition Leader continually monitor weather and ice conditions, working together to insure you experience the best of Antarctica whether you’re exploring Paradise Bay, the Lemaire Channel, Port Lockroy, Deception Island, or the many other locations available for landings and Zodiac cruising in the region.

Sailing in the wake of the 19th century’s great explorers—Sir Ernest Shackleton, Adrien de Gerlache, Robert Falcon Scott, and Roald Amundsen (to name just a few)—you’ll photograph the same towering mountain peaks they saw, hear raucous penguin colonies as you go ashore, see dazzling shades of blue and white as you navigate bays with impressive ice sculptures, and gain a new perspective of what it takes for wildlife—from penguins and giant petrels to elephant seals and humpback whales—to thrive in the beauty of this environment.

Day 10
Elephant Island, Weddell Sea

This morning, if weather permits, set course for Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetlands. Learn the story of Shackleton and hear how his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, before he and his men climbed into three open boats, spending 16 months at sea, before finally making landfall on this tiny toe of rock and ice in the vastness of the Southern Ocean on 14th of April, 1916. Plan to sail past Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men first put ashore over 100 years ago. Weather permitting; follow the coastline 6 miles west to Point Wild, where the men eventually set up camp under two of their upturned open boats and some old tents. If weather permits, attempt to make a landing on historic Point Wild, Elephant Island.

Later, the ship will begin to reposition to a prime location for the eagerly awaited solar eclipse.

Day 11
Solar Eclipse

According to NASA, the optimum position to experience the solar eclipse is well into the Weddell Sea. The eclipse is visible from the following geographic regions: Antarctica, South Africa, south Atlantic, but the full eclipse will only be visible in Antarctica.

The instant of greatest eclipse takes place on Dec 04 at 07:34:38 TD (Terrestrial Dynamical Time) or (07:33:28 UT1).

Historically, early December would be considered too early to visit South Orkney Islands because of extensive sea ice. However, conditions have been changing every year and it may be possible to get into the South Orkneys on 4th of December, 2021 – the unknown is part of what makes the experience even more thrilling.

Day 12 – 13
Scotia Sea

En route for South Georgia head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On the 24th of April, 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 802 miles distant. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside your naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from your historian.

Day 14 – 17
South Georgia

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.

Day 18 – 19
Sea Crossing

En route to the Falklands (Malvinas), be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow the ship's wake, skillfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, travel into the prevailing weather makes it difficult to estimate your arrival time in the Falklands (Malvinas). Your lecture program will continue to highlight all of the amazing sights you have witnessed over the past few days. You’ll have ample time to enjoy the rest of your time observing the sea birds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing with a book.

Day 20
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)

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.

Day 21
Sea Crossing

You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture. Celebrate the end of an unforgettable voyage with newfound friends at a special Captain’s farewell dinner.

Day 22
Ushuaia, Argentina

Upon disembarkation, transfer to the Ushuaia airport to continue on your journey home.

Notes

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. The information below is subject to change at any time.

NOTE: This is a NEW ship for this season. All details are subject to change.

Special Guests:
NASA astronomer, Dr. Michelle Thaller and NASA Engineer, Dr. Andrew Booth, will be joining this voyage. Assistant Director for Science Communication at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, Dr. Thaller will share knowledge she has acquired over 20 years of research with guests in the form of onboard lectures. Dr. Thaller will also conduct a series of talks alongside Dr. Booth, a lead engineer on NASA’s WSFIRST mission to unravel the secrets of dark energy and matter.

Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation on this expedition, all passengers must purchase emergency evacuation/repatriation insurance at a minimum coverage of $250,000. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. Insurance should cover personal accident and medical expenses, evacuation and repatriation, baggage loss, and cancellation or curtailment of holiday. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.

Kayaking:
Exploration by sea kayak is an ideal way to surround yourself in the sights and sounds of Antarctica. Paddle among icebergs and brash ice, get up close to wildlife and observe in an unobtrusive manner. Some kayak excursions may be long in duration and on choppy water, so a reasonable level of kayaking experience is required to participate in this activity. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.

Snorkeling:
Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you'll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs! Participant numbers are limited to ensure the highest safety standards and an experienced dive guide will oversee the program. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.

Shackleton Crossing (on foot):
On this voyage, a small band of adventurous souls will attempt to repeat the epic crossing of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Trekking for up to three days from King Haakon Bay to Stromness, the crossing distance is 35 to 50 kilometers (21 to 31 miles) depending on the route taken. This is an extreme mountain environment that involves crossing large, heavily crevassed glaciers, and alpine passes that must be treated with great caution. Participants therefore must have a suitable level of alpine climbing and trekking experience to undertake this activity. Most of the journey is on glaciers and requires some ropework, so knowledge of glacier travel techniques is required. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.

Snowshoeing:
Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarctica’s soft, powdery snow a breeze, allowing you to explore places where others struggle to reach in boots alone. Armed with your very own set of snowshoes and ski poles, you’ll be led by guides who will provide all the instruction you need for a thrilling experience. No previous experience is required, but a good level of fitness is necessary. Fee required to participate. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to book.

Included:
One pre-cruise hotel night in Ushuaia with breakfast; group transfers from Ushuaia airport to hotel if on the group flight; half-day tour of Ushuaia before embarkation (lunch not included); transfer from ship to Ushuaia airport or downtown on disembarkation day; shipboard accommodations; printed photo book from your voyage (post voyage, one per booking); gear to keep (expedition jacket); gear on loan (boots); all meals onboard ship; house wines, beers, and soft drinks with dinner onboard ship. Subject to change without notice.

Not Included:
Airfare; passport and visa expenses; hotels and meals not included in itinerary; transfers not mentioned as included; optional activity supplements; alcohol and soft drinks not mentioned as included; items of a personal nature such as Wi-Fi, laundry service, spa charges, medical expenses, etc.; required travel insurance; excess baggage charges; airport arrival or departure taxes; gratuities (Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill); fuel surcharge may apply.


Photos: © Aurora Expeditions

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