In this exclusive charter, unique to Chimu Adventures, we will be trailing in the wake of the legendary polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led three expeditions to the Antarctic and has become well known for his formidable rescue effort of his crew, who were stranded on Elephant island after losing their ship to the wrath of the Antarctic sea ice, back in 1917.
DAY 1: Ushuaia
Ushuaia is the most southerly city in the world and the capital of Tierra del Fuego, with a dramatic setting overlooking the Beagle Channel, surrounded by mountains. It is a major port for Antarctic bound vessels and an interesting city to explore.
Day 2: Embarkation
This morning is free for you to explore Ushuaia and pick up any essential supplies before boarding the ship in the mid-afternoon. On embarkation you will meet the expedition crew and be shown to your suite. In the early evening sail down the majestic Beagle Channel past magellanic penguin, rock cormorant and sea lion colonies as we head towards Antarctica. We will enter the legendary Drake Passage just after midnight.
Days 3 – 4: At Sea, Drake Passage
We cross this famous stretch of water which sits between the Antarctic continent and South America and which takes its name from the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. The on board lecture program will commence today with Antarctic experts giving you a fascinating insight into the continent with presentations on the wildlife, history and geology of Antarctica, preparing us for what lies ahead. On the second day cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer equatorial water moving in the opposite direction. This mixing pushes nutrient rich waters to the surface, attracting a variety of seabirds, whales and other species. You will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean. If weather permits, head out on deck to look for whales, dolphins and trailing sea birds such as albatrosses, prions and petrels. Depending on sea conditions we may reach the South Shetland Islands by nightfall of day 4.
Days 5 – 8: Antarctic Peninsula
Experience some of the most unique wildlife viewing and awe-inspiring scenery in the world as you set foot on the Antarctic continent. Over the next four days you will explore the islands and waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula. Making use of on board Zodiacs, you will cruise amongst ice-filled bays, looking out for wildlife as well as making shore landings. Here you will be greeted by a host of animals and may encounter Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals; gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins as well as elephant seals. The scenery will take your breath away as you gaze at majestic mountains, incredible glaciers and vast beautifully sculptured icebergs
Day 9: Elephant Island
Departing the Antarctic Peninsula head towards Elephant Island, where weather permitting we will attempt to make a landing. Elephant Island is the desolate island where Sir Ernest Shackleton left 24 of his men for months while he embarked on one of the greatest survival stories of all time, on a mission to South Georgia in the hope of returning and saving them all.
Days 10 – 11: At Sea
Set sail again for the open seas and retrace Shackleton’s path to South Georgia. Spend time looking out for seabirds, whales and other wildlife, listening to expedition lectures from the on board Antarctic experts and soaking up the ice-swept seascape..
Days 12 – 14: South Georgia
Over the next few days will explore the wonderful island of South Georgia and see why the island is known as the “Galapagos of the South”. With enormous quantities of sea birds, penguin colonies numbering in the hundreds of thousands, sea lion pups and a wealth of history, this promises to be the highlight of any trip. Visit the old whaling settlement of Gritviken and pay a visit to the grave of the legend himself – Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Day 15: At Sea
Leave South Georgia and chart a course for the Falkland Islands. Spend time out on deck scanning the horizon for seabirds and other wildlife and maybe take in an expedition lecture on the dramatic history and rich wildlife of the Falkland Islands.
Day 16: Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands have much to offer and provide a rare opportunity to witness the biological diversity, extraordinary scenery and history of the southern islands. The Falklands have the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world and five species of penguin breed on the islands (gentoo, king, macaroni, magellanic and rockhopper). Port Stanley, the capital, offers an opportunity to meet the hardy local inhabitants whose colourful houses provide contrast to the long dark winters. We Explore Stanley, chosen as the capital for its sheltered harbour and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel. Take a historical walking tour of the town to learn more about Stanley’s rich and colourful history. If time permits you will also visit nearby bird and penguin colonies. Depart in the afternoon setting a course for Puerto Madryn.
Day 17: At Sea
Sail towards Puerto Madryn, taking the time to reflect on the spectacular scenery and prolific wildlife encountered during the voyage, and the endeavours of explorers such as the legendary Shackleton.
Day 18: Disembarkation
This morning we explore the wildlife oasis of Puerto Madryn on the Patagonian coast before returning to the ship for lunch, and disembarking late afternoon.
Images courtesy of Chimu Adventures