20-day Sea Expedition Encompassing The Highlights of the Antarctic
USHUAIA – STANLEY – SOUTH GEORGIA – SOUTH SHETLAND – ANTARCTIC PENINSULA – USHUAIA
This is a truly epic adventure through the remote Falkland Islands, the wildlife paradise of South Georgia and the extraordinary landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula. You’ll enjoy unforgettable encounters with untamed wildlife in a vast, dramatic and spectacular setting; you’ll take a step back in time at historically significant sites; and you’ll be mesmerized by the rich diversity and contrasts that make these regions so captivating and unique.
Watch a wild, isolated and extreme world come to life as scores of penguins dive for food, herds of elephant seals bathe in the sun, and pods of orcas pass you by. You’ll be transported to your own wildlife documentary, staged in a magnificent setting of mountains, sea and ice.
• Explore the Antarctic Peninsula, the northernmost tip of the world’s 7th continent, by ship, Zodiac and foot
• Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife with our expert team of on-board lecturers
• See South Georgia’s incredible wildlife, including 30 breeding bird species and four penguin species
• Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyages
• Wander the quaint British town of Stanley in the Falkland Islands
• Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Antarctic, with an optional kayaking excursion
Day 1 – Ushuaia, Argentina
Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia has a small-town feel yet also has 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. Tonight you will stay at a hotel in the town.
Day 2 – Embarkation Day
As you embark the expedition boat, the anticipation grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers 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
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings, and also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures, a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.
Days 4 & 5 – Falkland Islands
Upon your arrival in the Falklands, your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this region. The archipelago contains two main islands which you will explore during Zodiac excursions and daily landings.
Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored 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, is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here the archipelago as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species—Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck. 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 & 7 – At Sea
Sailing south, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the invisible biological boundary called the Antarctic Convergence. Encircling the continent, cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating an abundance of krill and marine life that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world.
Days 8 to 11 – South Georgia
This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you’ll still see remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest 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, a museum, a gift shop, a church and a small research station.
Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife.
One day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach, and the next day you may visit another beach dotted 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.
Days 12 & 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. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar. 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 & Antarctic Peninsula
You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation 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 landing, whether you are trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Curious whales, such as minkes, are often attracted to our Zodiacs, giving you a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy. As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional (extra cost) kayaking excursion or going for a swim in Antarctic waters!
DAYS 18 & 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 mingling with your fellow shipmates. The populated world awaits your return, so savor 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 or for guests wishing to stay in Patagonia for longer, they will be transferred to the town.
• Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
• 1 night hotel stay in Ushuaia
• All breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks on board
• All hotel, seaport & airport transfers
• Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader
• All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
• Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and special guests
• A photographic journal documenting the expedition
• Waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
• An official expedition parka to keep
• Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
• All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
• All luggage handling aboard the ship
• Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
• Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader