This is a “once in a lifetime” voyage: all islands, all “hot spots” combined in one voyage. During this unique voyage we combine the Falkland islands (Carcass and Saunders), South Georgia (famous for its Elephant Seals, King Penguins and breeding grounds of the Wandering Albatrosses) with the rarely visited and uninhabited South Sandwich Islands, home to the world’s largest Chinstrap Penguin colony (over a million breeding pairs!). The expedition will aim for a landing on the continent of Antarctica.
In the afternoon, we embark in Puerto Madryn and set sail to the Falkland Islands.
On our way to the Falkland Islands, 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 views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl and Night herons and passerines. In addition, on Saunders we will be able to observe four species of breeding penguins (Gentoo, King, Magellanic and Rockhopper), Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.
On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop by 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.
We visit the areas where the German explorers, von Neumayer, Drygalski, Filchner, Kohl-Larsen, have worked and put their marks ( e.g. Grytviken, Royal Bay/Moltke Harbor, Drygalski Fjord and more). The sites that we visit give us a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like King and Macaroni Penguins, Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Fur Seals, and Elephant Seals. There will be opportunities for walkers in the group to hike on South Georgia. All hiking excursions are subject to weather and landing site availability. The voyage in South Georgia ends at Drygalski Fjord, which is a great scenic place for zodiac cruising.
On our way to South Sandwich Islands we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Southern Atlantic.
At the rarely visited and uninhabited South Sandwich Islands (British Territory) we will try to land on Zavodovski 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 and Montagu Island. 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. This is the area where we meet the remains of the huge table ice bergs from the Weddell Sea of which those deep blue ice bergs remain with penguins huddling in ice grottos. Southern Thule is a huge crater with a natural harbor like Deception Island. German explorer Wilhelm Filchner visited the South Shetland Islands in November 1911 onboard the ´Deutschland´ prior to exploring the unknown Weddell Sea.
Sailing along the ice edge to the west the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At the edge of the pack-ice which extends far to the north we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel and the elusive Emperor Penguin.
If the island are not still surrounded by sea-ice we are planning on a visit to 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.
In the evening we try to land at Elephant Island, or just cruise by. We spend only a few hours here. Depending on the weather conditions (often very challenging) we may visit Point Lookout on the South side of the Island or Point Wild on the North Coast. Point Lookout is a favored haul-out site for Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals. Point Wild is the historical outpost west of Cape Valentine where Shackleton’s men beached here after the Endurance sank in the Weddell Sea. Shackleton started from here his successful open-boat passage to South Georgia. Shackleton´s voyage onboard `James Caird´ was originally retraced by German explorer Arved Fuchs in a replica of the boat. A brave adventure.
We may land at Half Moon Island at the South Shetland Islands, where we can observe Elephant, Weddell and Fur Seals as well as Chinstrap Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags, Wilson’s Storm Petrels, Kelp Gulls, Snowy Sheathbills, Antarctic Terns and Antarctic Brown Skuas. At Deception Island, we will sail into the crater through the spectacular narrow entrance Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of the caldera to reach Whalers Bay. Deception itself is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor 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.
On our way south, we sail to Danco Island and Cuverville Island in the Errera Channel, 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. We also hope for a continental landing at Neko Harbor in Andvord Bay. We are aiming to sail further south to 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. We may land at the Argentinian station Almirante Brown, which is most of the time not manned. Sailing South through the Lemaire Channel we will visit Petermann Island (named after the German geographer August Petermann), our most southern point of this voyage. We are heading back North with direction Neumayer Channel (named after German scientist Georg von Neumayer). We aim for the historic British station Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. We also hope for a landing on the neighboring island Jougla Point which is inhabited by Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags. Sailing north again through Neumayer Channel and Gerlache Strait. We pass by the Melchior Islands with a final glimpse at the beautiful landscape with icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales. We leave from here to the open sea with direction Ushuaia.
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.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
|Per Person USD|
Embark Puerto Madryn, Disembark Ushuaia
Embark Ushuaia, Argentina
Disembark Bluff, New Zealand
Embark Bluff, New Zealand
Disembark Ushuaia, Argentina
Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single Supplement for twin cabins is 1.7 times the twin rate. Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.
Helicopter cost is Mandatory on the Ross Sea trips.
There is always a possibility of an added fuel surcharge if marine oil prices raise significantly.
2013-2014 Ortelius Deck Plan
2014-2015 Ortelius Deck Plan