|This expedition to Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Islands offers superb wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as the opportunity to explore some of the least visited regions of the world on foot and by zodiac. Enormous numbers of penguins, whales, seals and seabirds congregate in the food-rich waters along the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic shores. From volcanic islands to windswept ice shelves, snow-topped mountains and jagged ice bergs, the landscape is entrancing and dramatic. Visits to scientific bases, ruined whaling stations and museums offer the chance to absorb the fascinating natural and cultural history of the region -
21 nights/22 days
In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located in the shadow of the Andes and right at the Beagle Channel shore. We’ll sail through this scenic waterway during the afternoon.
At sea, in the westerlies the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.
In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) we plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. A hike along the shore of Carcass Island will give us instead views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl and Night herons. In addition, on Saunders we will be able to observe Rockhopper Penguins, Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.
In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South- American characteristics as well as Victorian charm. In Stanley and surrounding area we can see a quite important number of stranded clippers from a century ago. Especially for the birders, we will also offer a three hours excursion outside Port Stanley.
Day 5 & 6
At sea, on our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop as much as 10 degrees C in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence we will see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship; several species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Prions and Skuas.
Day 7- 10
In South Georgia we shall visit the bay of Elsehul, with it´s very active fur seal breeding beach, and then take course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Gold Harbour and Cooper Bay to give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the introduced Reindeer, Elephant seals, King and Macaroni Penguins. At Fortuna Bay we might try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stømness Bay. There and at Grytviken we’ll see and abandoned whaling village, where King Penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. At Grytviken we´ll also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton´s grave near by. One of the highlights might be our visit to Prion Island, where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their displays.
Our vessel now takes us to the South Sandwich Islands.
Day 12 – 13
At the rarely visited and uninhabited South Sandwich Islands (British Territory), where we will try to land on Zavadovski Island, home to over a million pairs of breeding Chinstrap Penguins, making it one of the world's largest penguin colonies. Other landings will be pursued on the steep-sided Candlemas Island, Saunders Island, Montague Island and/or Southern Thule, depending on weather and landing conditions. These volcanic islands, discovered by James Cook in 1775, with an ice cap on the top, are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins and Southern Giant Petrels. Elephant Seals and Fur Seals also haul out at the beaches.
At sea, where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds.
At some point we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the Maccormick Skua, Snow Petrel and the elusive Emperor Penguin.
We are aiming for a visit at Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
Day 17 - 19
We will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to visit Paulet Island with a million pairs of Adelie Penguins and the remains of the Nordenskiöld expedition. At Brown Bluff we can put our feet on the continent.
At Deception Island, we will try to land at Baily Head home to a colony of ten thousands of Chinstrap Penguins. Deception itself is a sub ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Good walkers may hike from Baily Head over the ridge of the crater into Whalers Bay, while our ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. In the afternoon we may land at Half Moon Island, where we can observe Elephant, Weddell and Fur Seals as well as Chinstrap Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Kelp Gulls, Snowy Sheatbills, Antarctic Terns and Antarctic Brown Skuas.
On our way West, we sail to Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. From there we sail to Neko Harbour in Andvord Bay and through Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, while having chances of seeing large Whales. We will have opportunities for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords.
Day 20- 21
On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and in order to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife.
View The Falklands, South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands & Antarctic Peninsula in a larger map