This is one of the most extensive Antarctic expeditions. We depart from Ushuaia and make our first stop in the Falkland Islands. Here, we will find a relatively warm climate where an abundance of unusual wildlife thrives. Sixty species of migratory birds and the rare rockhopper penguin inhabit these islands.
Our voyage on the well-appointed Akademik Sergey Vavilov, continues through the Antarctic convergence to the pristine island of South Georgia. Towering glacier-covered mountains are merely the backdrop to spectacular wildlife sightings including rookeries of the pompous king penguin, several seal species and the laughable macaroni penguin.
We hope to see the South Orkney Islands, often cloaked in mist, as we make our way to the South Shetland Archipelago and Antarctica. We all experience a deep sense of awe when we first glimpse the much-anticipated continent. Even our expeditions' leaders, who have led more than a hundred expeditions, are still overcome by its formidable beauty.
We are greeted by thousands of icebergs that look like modern art sculptures lining the bays of Paradise Harbor or Hope Bay. Meanwhile an overwhelming profusion of wildlife is on display from penguins torpedoing through the water to predatory leopard seals staking their claim on ice floes.
We hope to stand on the mainland of the White Continent itself. From this vantage point, it is easy to understand why legendary explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Sir Ernest Shackleton were so captivated by this haunting region. As with all our voyages, safety is our top priority. For that reason weather, ice or other conditions may require us to change our itinerary and shore excursions as we go but that is half the fun of Polar exploring. Predictability is a word that has no relevance in this environment.
Nov 22 – Dec 10, 2013 Save the albatross with wildlife artist Bruce Pearson
BirdLife International has joined forces with artist, writer and printmaker, Bruce Pearson, in a bid to Save The Albatross in the Southern Ocean, which is under serious threat of extinction.
Bruce Pearson, who has a life-long fascination with the sea and seabirds and who has travelled a number of times across the Southern Oceans, will be our ‘artist in residence’ on the 22 November departure to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica.
During the expedition, aimed at those interested in the opportunity to visit one of the world’s last remote wildernesses and to witness first-hand the wandering, black browed, grey headed and light mantled sooty albatross, Bruce will give presentations and hold drawing and painting workshops both on board and ashore.
He comments: “Seabirds, notably albatrosses, have become increasingly threatened over the past 20 years, and at a faster rate globally than any other species of birds. The threats are many and varied, but the most critical problem is the hundreds of thousands of birds snared accidentally as by-catch on long-line fishing vessels.”
Among the international efforts to reverse the decline in numbers, the work of BirdLife International’s Save the Albatross campaign and Albatross Task Force has resulted in a substantial reduction in seabird mortality. However, unregulated fishing interests still operating beyond the reach of international treaties and boundaries continue to place the albatross at risk of global extinction. According to Birdlife International, an estimated 100,000 albatrosses are being killed each year due to long-line fishing – that’s one every five minutes.
There is no additional charge for the art workshops with Bruce Pearson.
Today is the first day of our adventure. As we board the Akademik Sergey Vavilov in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city near the tip of Argentina, and start to become familiar with 'our home' for the next 19 days we cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead of us. In the early evening, we set sail and begin our voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
Our guests have the chance to spend plenty of time with our onboard polar experts. They will be educating us as we go deep into the wonders of Antarctica. Sailing northeast, we will likely be joined by swooping seabirds including the wandering albatross, who we will come to know well on this journey.
Arriving in the Falkland Islands overnight, by morning we are all excited to make our first shore excursion. Our plan will be to explore the islands of the West Falkland Archipelago, home to a profusion of seabirds and migratory birds including the black-browed albatross. Our first penguin sightings will be on the island of West Point with its bustling rookeries of rockhoppers.
On Carcass Island, we will observe nesting Magellanic penguins along with oystercatchers, geese and the flightless steamer duck who is a permanent Falkland resident. The next day we will make a stop in Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. As we wander through the charming streets of brightly painted houses, we will learn how this quiet harbor was once a major port in the 19th century for ships attempting to round the formidable waters of Cape Horn. We will also make a stop in Stanley's famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps.
Now we sail southeast bound for the island of South Georgia. These days at sea are never dull. Much of our time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals as well as seabirds. Our friendly onboard experts continue to fill minds with heroic stories of some of the earliest adventurers to explore Antarctica. We will also learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of our One Ocean Expeditions' guides and crew. The anticipation grows particularly as we cross the Antarctic Convergence and notice a dramatic drop in temperature.
Majestic snow-covered mountains greet us on the island of South Georgia - the most rugged island in this region. We will cruise the protected waters of the eastern coast looking for suitable landing spots such as Salisbury Plain and St Andrews Bay. The highlight of both these excursions is the mind-boggling abundance of king penguin adults and young that live in these locations by the hundreds of thousands, covering every inch of the shore. That is not the only wildlife on display. Fur seals can be seen poking their heads above the water, skuas and giant petrels swoop in the skies above, and the albatross our constant companion is never far away. We hope to explore an old whaling station at Grytviken (Greet-vik-in) and visit the grave of the most famous Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton and his right hand man Frank Wild.
Also known as “the Boss” Shackleton’s commander Frank Wild’s wish was to be buried beside Shackleton but his wish never materialized due to the outbreak of WWII a week after his death. Our voyage falls exactly three years following the transport of Wild’s ashes to South Georgia, and 94 years after his last voyage with Shackleton in 1921. The interment was only possible following a seven-year- long research journey by South African author and polar expert, Angie Butler, who discovered Wild’s ashes in Johannesburg.
As we cross the Scotia Sea, sailing ever closer to Antarctica, we hope to visit the South Orkney Islands. Linked to the Antarctic Peninsula by an enormous sub-marine mountain range these islands, often shrouded in mist, are protected by large icebergs and sea ice. If we are lucky, there will be an excursion to Coronation Island to observe penguins nesting in moss beds alongside graceful snow petrels. We may also stop at the remote island of Laurie and visit the Argentinean meteorological station located there.
Elephant Island, en route to the South Shetland Islands, will be our next destination if conditions are suitable. Here, we will learn more about the famous Antarctic adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This island was a place of refuge in 1916 for Shackleton and his crew after his ship was destroyed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea close to 100 years ago. Following the loss of their ship the 28 exhausted men reached Elephant Island after a harrowing ordeal on drifting ice floes. They established a camp at a place they called Point Wild, named after Frank Wild.
Next, we will spend some time cruising among the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Dazzling wildlife sightings await us on our excursions to some of these islands including King George, Half Moon, Barrientos or Livingston. Adelie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins thrive here, as do several species of seal. We even hope to see the gentle humpback whale dining on krill off King George Island.
Weather permitting, we will visit the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. With rugged scenery, great sites of geologic interest and an overwhelming display of whaling and scientific exploration history, Deception Island is a perfect museum of natural and exploration history. For those wanting to stretch their legs, a spectacular hike to the crater rim offers a challenge. Finally, after so much anticipation, we will arrive at the Antarctic mainland in Paradise Harbor or Hope Bay. The scenery here from the colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless Antarctic ice sheet is truly breathtaking. Weather permitting, we hope to undertake a shore excursion and set foot on the White Continent itself.
As we leave this magical place and make our way back, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, we have no doubt that time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing up the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our Polar expedition at a special dinner.
In the early morning, we will arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.
* Itinerary may be subject to change
|Per Person USD|
Twin Semi Private
One Ocean Suite
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Free R/T Air Buenos Aires/Ushuaia
+Pre-Cruise Hotel (or $750 Discount)
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Camp, Photography, Kayak
Marine Mammals Focus
Whales and Seals
Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single supplement is 1.5 times the cabin rate except for Suites which are 2 times the cabin rate and is not available in Triple Share Category.
Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.
Costs for options: Camping - Free of charge, Photography - Free of Charge, Kayaking – $795
Mandatory Emergency Evacuation insurance is required on all trips.
All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.