Summary : Experience the trip of a lifetime and follow in the footsteps of brave explorers, the likes of Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton. A frosted wilderness of glistening white as far as the eye can see, dominated by natural ice sculptures like enormous works of avant-garde art, await you. Hear the cries of penguins multiplied by the thousands, watch leopard seals and sea lions perfectly at ease in the company of visitors, feel the unspeakable magnificence of a whale breaching from beneath cold ocean waters. Experience the wonders of the Antarctic plus an opportunity to visit the South Sandwich Islands while taking full advantage of the luxurious all-inclusive lifestyle, including spacious suites and comfortable common areas.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Embark the vessel in the afternoon and meet the Expedition Leaders. As you sail away, enjoy the mountain-lined shoreline of the Beagle Channel while you leave Ushuaia and bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the Land at the End of the World.
The Expedition Team’s expert lecturers will present ornithological and historical insights into the Falkland Islands, your first destination. Hear about the early European explorers and the different attempts at settling the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. Get introduced to the birdlife expected to be seen by the on-board ornithologist.
Tonight, you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party hosted by the Captain, who will introduce his senior officers.
Steeple Jason Island illustrates the remarkable beauty of the remote Falkland Islands. Rising sharply from the sea, Steeple Jason is undoubtedly one of the most dramatic islands in the archipelago. The island is of significant importance to conservationists, as it is the home to the world’s largest Black-browed Albatross colony. Large numbers of Striated Caracara, Falkland Skuas, Southern Rockhopper Penguins, Magellanic Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Slender-billed Prions and Southern Giant Petrels also breed here. Sea lions, Peale’s dolphins, Commerson’s dolphin and fur seals can be seen along the shore.
Today’s adventure introduces you to the remarkable beauty of the remote Falkland Islands. Watch for Peale’s dolphins and the distinctive black and white markings of the Commerson’s dolphin as Silver Explorer approaches West Point Island. Upon arrival, photographic opportunities are everywhere as you walk across rolling moorland and admire colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses that nest side-by-side with feisty Rockhopper Penguins. Learn about the island’s unique vegetation. Magellanic Penguins and Magellanic Cormorants can also be found on the island.
Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and has a distinct British ambiance and feel. Stroll through the charming streets of this colorful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs. The islands, also known by their Spanish name of Islas Malvinas, are home to arguably more tuxedo-clad inhabitants of the penguin variety than human residents. Various species, such as Gentoo, Magellanic and the more elusive King penguins, either live here permanently or use the Falklands as a stopover on their migration route.
As you begin to venture further south, take full advantage of spectacular midnight sunsets on deck, or bring your camera and binoculars to capture the entirety of nature’s splendor. It is very possible to witness humpback and killer whales in their native habitats, and perhaps even catch a glimpse of the wandering albatross, easily recognized by its black wingtips and large wingspan.
This breathtaking destination of towering snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and low-lying grasslands attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife: Southern fur seals, Southern elephant seals and a variety of albatross species including black-browed, light-mantled sooty, grey-headed and the spectacular wandering albatross, plus thousands of king and macaroni penguins. South Georgia is also linked to many early Antarctic explorers. Captain James Cook first stepped ashore in 1775, but perhaps more famous is the 1916 arrival of Ernest Shackleton to the island following the sinking of his infamous ship, the Endurance. Visit Shackleton’s grave and the whaling museum at Grytviken.
Participate in onboard activities, relax in one of the lounges, or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library. Tonight, before turning in, take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendor of the vast sea and sky.
The South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia are sub-Antarctic islands that are governed together as a British overseas dependency. The South Sandwich Islands are extremely remote and untouched, being 470 miles southeast of South Georgia. They are a 240-mile chain of 11 islands that form part of the "Scotia Arc", and even today they experience active volcanism. Captain James Cook, on his search for a rumored southern continent, discovered the islands in 1775. Most of the islands are rugged and mountainous rising steeply from the sea with snow-covered peaks. The islands have been recognized by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area.
While you're at sea, enjoy wine tastings, designer boutiques, language and dance classes. Take in a matinee movie, slip away with a novel from the library to a sunny chaise or with a movie to your suite. Or just take in the sun pool side. The choice is yours.
The South Orkney Islands are a group of four main islands in the Scotia Sea about 375 miles northeast of the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. They are claimed by both Britain and Argentina, which each have bases on the islands, but under the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, all sovereignty claims are to be held dormant. They were discovered in 1821 by two sealers, the American Nathaniel Brown Palmer and the British George Powell, who named them Powell's Group. The islands were renamed in 1823 by James Weddell, after the Orkney Islands in Scotland.
Awesome glaciers flecked with pink algae can be seen approaching Elephant Island — so named either for its elephant-like appearance or for sightings of elephant seals here. Elephant Island is home to several Chinstrap Penguin rookeries, as well as 2,000-year-old moss colonies. Weddell seals and Macaroni Penguins can also be spotted. In 1916, when Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, the crew was stranded here for more than 4 months finding shelter under two upturned lifeboats on the spit of land Shackleton’s men named ‘Point Wild’. The bust of the Chilean captain Luis Pardo has been erected here to commemorate the successful rescue in the tug Yelcho.
Past the furthest reaches of Tierra del Fuego and beyond your wildest imagination lies the last great frontier – Antarctica’s vast white wilderness. Landscapes formed by the harshest wrath of mother nature, yet blessed by an isolated independence and tranquility await. A place where remarkable natural beauty and wildlife species exist and, in fact thrive despite the harsh climate.
Witness the dramatic splendor of spectacular iceberg sculptures, marvel at calving glaciers and experience up-close encounters with marine mammals. Watch for seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and for humpback, minke, and orca whales breaching from below the frigid waters. Each day you will have the opportunity to partake in Zodiac departures, and, if conditions permit, will visit a variety of penguin rookeries and scientific research stations. Perhaps a Zodiac cruise among colorful icebergs or an excursion with your naturalist will be the highlight of your day’s agenda.
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary where cold polar water flowing northward and warmer equatorial water moving southward mix. When they meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that float in the air currents of the ship’s wake such as the black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters and white-chinned petrels. As you return to Ushuaia, take advantage of the opportunity to listen to additional presentations offered by onboard specialists and swap prized photos with new found friends.
Disembark the vessel 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.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage 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.
Ship accommodation; onboard meals; butler service; complimentary beverages served throughout the ship (an assortment of complimentary wines, champagne and spirits); all onboard gratuities (except spa); expedition parka and backpack; port charges and handling fees; Silver, Medallion, Grand and Owner's Suite guests receive laundry service and dinner at Officer's table; 1 hour of internet access per guest/per day for passengers booked in Adventurer, Explorer, View, Vista, and Veranda Suites; unlimited internet access for passengers booked in Medallion, Silver, Grand, and Owner’s Suites. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; transfers and luggage handling; travel insurance; government fees and taxes; visa and passport expenses; gifts and items of a personal nature such as laundry and spa options, fuel surcharge may apply.
Photo Credit: © Creative Services of Silversea Cruises, © Bruno Cazarini (king penguins, hike), © Richard Sidey (waterfall, albatross, ice, seal)