Falklands, S. Georgia, Antarctica Explorer
Be among the first of the season to set foot on some of this planet’s most spectacular wildlife sites. This 21-day voyage beginning in Puerto Madryn and ending in Ushuaia, features the clean unspoiled early season scenery, wildlife, and rich history of the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as the crown jewels of the Southern Ocean: South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
Puerto Madryn embarkation: Upon arrival at the ship, you will be greeted by our Expedition Team and ship's officers. A safety and orientation briefing will be followed by the Captain's welcome dinner.
We begin our educational series with optional lectures on the wildlife, history, and geology of the Falkland Islands and Southern Ocean. Important presentations with regard to Zodiac and landing safety as well as environmental regulations will be mandatory. The Falklands are home to more than sixty breeding species of birds and our voyage there will afford spotting opportunities including Albatrosses, Prions, and Petrels. Whales and dolphins may also be seen in the area. Depending on the weather during our crossing, we may be able to land at Steeple Jason with its large Black-browed Albatross colony on the evening of Day 3.
The westernmost settled outposts in the Falklands are remote farms that have been family owned for six and seven generations. The sheep graze alongside Albatross colonies and Rockhopper, King, and Macaroni Penguin rookeries while Striated Caracaras patrol overhead and Upland Geese graze at the water's edge. A visit to one of these homesteads often includes an invitation for cakes and a cup of tea.
Chosen for its sheltered harbor and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel, Stanley is easy to discover on foot as most shops and services are centered on the port. The museum, the post-office featuring first day covers, plenty of shops with locally made wool items and Stanley's lively pubs will all be available. It is possible to experience the wildlife of the Falklands from the town including Sea Lions and Peale's and Commerson's Dolphins in the harbor.
There will be plenty of wildlife spotting as we make our way east across the Antarctic Convergence and officially enter Antarctic waters. Ship board presentations will continue featuring the exciting history and abundant wildlife of South Georgia.
Its unique position inside the Antarctic Convergence yet outside the limit of the yearly sea ice makes this 3,755 square kilometer island home to tens of millions of breeding Penguins, Seals, Seabirds, and even Reindeer. Magnificent mountain scenery, glaciers galore, a rugged coastline punctuated with castellate and tabular icebergs, a rich historical tapestry, and an astounding array of wildlife are all available to us as we travel down South Georgia's leeward coast. Landing sites feature huge Elephant Seals, aggressive Fur Seals, Macaroni Penguins, Albatross, Petrels, Skuas, and Gulls. King Penguins from fuzzy little chicks to fattened adults can be seen in the hundreds of thousands. We will visit historic Grytviken whaling station, home of the whaling museum, Norwegian seaman's church, the active British Antarctic Survey station and the tiny graveyard where the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried.
Heading farther south, we continue our education series as the icebergs become more and more plentiful.
The land of superlatives, Antarctica! Our Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and opportunity. The course will stress the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas as well as sites of historic and scientific interest. The trip may include the Gerlache Strait area including Neko Harbor, Paradise Harbor, Wilhelmina Bay, and Neumayer Channel. Depending on ice, we may also be able to visit the beautiful Antarctic Sound including Brown Bluff, Hope Bay, and Paulet Island. Active scientific bases such as Poland's Arctowksi or Ukraine's Vernadskiy and historic bases such as U.K.'s Port Lockroy or Wordie House may also be visited. Adelie, Chinstrap, and Gentoo Penguins abound with rare opportunities to see the elusive Emperor. Weddell, Crabeater, and Elephant Seals are often found hauled out to rest along with the predatory Leopard Seal. Minke and Humpback Whales are frequent visitors and Orca sightings are also common.
We will continue our lecture series and wildlife spotting as we sail back to Ushuaia. Depending on sea conditions, we may have an opportunity to sail past the legendary Cape Horn. We will arrive at the pier in Ushuaia in the early hours of Day 21.
* Itinerary may be subject to change