This extended expedition encompasses the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, the remote Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), as well as the extraordinary beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll experience a great diversity of environments and landscapes, which will provide unprecedented wildlife viewing opportunities. Join us for the quintessential Antarctic experience for polar travellers!
- Explore the world’s seventh continent on the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, Zodiac and on foot.
- Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife with an expert team of lecturers.
- See the incredible wildlife of South Georgia, often referred to as “the Galapagos of the South.” This includes more than 30 species of breeding birds, including four species of Penguin.
- Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyages on South Georgia and pause for a moment at his graveside.
- Explore the quaint, British town of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.
- On board lecturers and educational presentations from Polar Specialists.
Day 1 — Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina
Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia has a small-town feel yet boasts many shops, museums, cafés and restaurants that you can enjoy before your voyage. If you’re feeling adventurous, the nearby national park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking.
Day 2 — Embarkation Day
As you embark, the anticipation grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travellers and get acquainted with your ship. Since every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you.
Day 3 — At Sea
Your days at sea are filled with presentations and lectures led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival.
Days 4 and 5 — Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Upon your arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this sub-Antarctic region. The archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore during daily Zodiac excursions and landings.
Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favoured landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore, grab a pint at the local pub or visit numerous churches and museums.
In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and southern rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species—the flightless Falkland steamer duck and possibly the elusive Cobb’s wren.
Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands.
Days 6 and 7 — At Sea
Sailing southeast to South Georgia, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary encircling the continent. This meeting of oceans, where the cold Antarctic waters mix and mingle with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, helps create the abundance of krill that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Your Expedition Team will notify you when you cross this invisible yet important line, and also look out for the seabirds and marine life that frequent the area.
Days 8 to 11 — South Georgia
This remote, mountainous island was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and seals. Today, island wildlife populations are rebounding, but you’ll still see remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.
One significant and historic site is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, plus a museum, gift shop, church and small research station.
Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, its incredible densities of wildlife make it truly memorable. Each landing you make on South Georgia, often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, will open your eyes to the wondrous lives of new, enthralling creatures.
One day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach, and the next, you may visit another beach blanketed with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island. This fragile and interwoven relationship is something your Expedition Team will explain to you during your time here.
Days 12 and 13 — At Sea
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival.
If conditions allow, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, our first official stop in Antarctica.
Days 14 to 17 — South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is beyond words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica.
You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete isolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each excursion, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. During Zodiac cruises, keep an eye out for Antarctic whales such as minkes, which may give you a chance for an intimate experience with these majestic animals. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy.
Days 18 and 19 — Crossing the Drake Passage
After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure.
Enjoy your final moments celebrating with your fellow shipmates. The busy, populated world awaits your return, so savour the silence of the sea as long as you can.
Day 20 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia
After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. Airport transfers will be provided for those departing on the first homeward flights. Other guests will be transferred to town.
Images courtesy of Quark and David Merron