South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey — Solar Eclipse in Antarctica

Sylvia Earle Premium Antarctic Expedition Ship
Sylvia Earle
132 Passengers
Starting 2022-23 Season

On this special South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey expedition, you have the chance to witness a full solar eclipse in the Weddell Sea region. This is without doubt a rare and historic opportunity to witness a remarkable spectacle in Antarctic waters. On this unique voyage, you will visit Antarctica and experience the incredible white continent in its late spring regalia. Witness busy penguins hard at work building nests, brace yourself to encounter pack ice in the Weddell Sea and gaze at enormous tabular icebergs, before traveling onwards to our viewing spot, hoping for fine weather and clear skies to witness the incredible spectacle of a full solar eclipse. In South Georgia, gaze upon some of the largest king penguin colonies on Earth, and witness fur seal bulls defending beach territories as pups are born. As we sail back towards Ushuaia, stop in the Falklands~Malvinas, where its egg hatching season for penguins and albatross, and in historic Stanley you’ll get a glimpse of life in a remote British outpost.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Be in prime position to be one of the privileged few to perhaps witness a full solar eclipse in the Weddell Sea
• Photograph sea-ice, seals and their pups on ice as you Zodiac-cruise through glassy waters, marveling at the iridescent blues of icebergs
• Marvel at enormous king penguin colonies in South Georgia
• Zodiac cruise along bustling beaches packed with elephant seals and fur seals and pups
• Discover the charms of Britain’s remote territory in the Falklands~Malvinas

Brief Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina
Day 2 Embark the Sylvia Earle in Ushuaia
Day 3 Drake Passage crossing
Day 4 Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands
Days 5 & 6 Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea
Day 7 At Sea
Day 8 South Orkney Islands, Solar Eclipse
Day 9 At Sea, Point Wild
Days 10 & 11 Antarctic Peninsula
Days 12 & 13 At Sea
Days 14 to 17 South Georgia
Days 18 & 19 At Sea
Day 20 Falklands~Malvinas
Day 21 At Sea
Day 22 Disembark Ushuaia

Day 1 — Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative and transferred the hotel (preferred flights only).

Day 2 — Ushuaia and Embarkation

Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests.

On this half day introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighborhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation.

As the ship pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.

Day 3 — Drake Passage Crossing

As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team starts our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.

Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skillfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

Day 4 — Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands

Nearing the tip of the South Shetland Islands on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on the bridge watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

Days 5 & 6 — Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea

It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.

Once we arrive, the South Shetland Islands and the area around the Antarctic Sound and entrance to the Weddell Sea are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.

Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favorite spots along the peninsula.

While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters - conditions permitting!

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales traveling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendor. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent.

Central to the story of where Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance became trapped in formidable sea ice, the Weddell Sea certainly is high on the list for many polar adventurers. A small set of islands standing off to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula collectively form the Antarctic Sound – the gateway to the Weddell Sea. With a well- deserved reputation of being an iceberg alley, many large tabular bergs escape the Weddell Sea through the Antarctic Sound, often making navigation difficult. However, the rewards can be great. Fossils are a reminder of a more temperate era – gastropods, large clams, and spiral-shaped ammonites, all turned to stone.

Be spoiled for wildlife encounters as the Weddell boasts a large Adélie penguin colony just outside of the Antarctic Sound, some of which breed on the rocky slopes of a small volcanic island, where a large colony of Antarctic blue-eyed shags jostle for space with nest-building Wilson’s storm petrels. On thrilling Zodiac cruises or slicing a path through the maze of sea ice in your kayak, keep watch for chinstrap and gentoo penguins in and out of the water, as well as humpback, minke and orca whales. Your camera is sure to get a solid workout during your time in the Weddell Sea.

Day 7 — At Sea

Marvel at the ULSTEIN X-BOW’s ability to smooth our ride as we sail the Southern Ocean towards the South Orkney Islands, admiring wandering albatross in flight. Enjoy lectures and presentations from team of experts as share their deep knowledge about wildlife, heroic tales of polar exploration, and, central to this voyage, astronomy.

Day 8 — South Orkney Islands, Solar Eclipse

According to NASA, the optimum position to experience the solar eclipse is well into the Weddell Sea. The eclipse is visible from the following geographic regions: Antarctica, South Africa, south Atlantic, but the full eclipse will only be visible in Antarctica, weather permitting.

The instant of greatest eclipse takes place on 04 December, 2021 at 07:34:38 TD (Terrestrial Dynamical Time) or (07:33:28 UT1).

Historically, early December would be considered too early to visit South Orkney Islands because of extensive sea ice. However, conditions have been changing every year and it may be possible to get into the South Orkneys on 04 December, 2021 – the unknown is part of what makes the experience even more thrilling.

The eclipse belongs to Saros 152 and is number 13 of 70 eclipses in the series. All eclipses in this series occur at the Moon’s descending node. The total solar eclipse of 04 December, 2021 is preceded two weeks earlier by a partial lunar eclipse on 19 November, 2021. These eclipses all take place during a single eclipse season - a period during which the Sun appears close enough to one of the Moon’s nodes to allow a solar eclipse to occur. Each season lasts approximately 34 days and repeats at about 173-day intervals.

The climate around the South Orkney Islands is rather harsh, with strong winds, frequent rain and snow. The birdlife of the South Orkneys in abundant. There are some large penguin rookeries that we may explore as well as various seabirds that breed here. Scientists are drawn to the South Orkneys to study the extensive areas of moss and grass, and one of the islands is famous for is peat moss banks.

Day 9 — At Sea, Point Wild

Enjoy an exciting day at sea, with more entertaining talks on exploration and natural history. Spend time on deck photographing seabirds, keeping a watch for whales or simply sharing stories with fellow adventurers.

Time and weather permitting, we Zodiac cruise and perhaps land at Point Wild on Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s crew were stranded for 105 days while Shackleton and five others set off to seek help.

Days 10 & 11 — Antarctic Peninsula

Back at the Antarctic Peninsula, we continue our exploration of the small islands, straits and bays around the tip of the white continent. Your expedition team will again use their expertise and experience to create experiences that will challenge you and push you (safely) beyond your comfort zone to create everlasting memories of your time in Antarctica. Perhaps visit a scientific research station, witness fluffy penguin chicks starting to hatch and running around colonies, while predatory skuas pluck off easy prey. Humpback whales start arriving in larger numbers to feed on plentiful krill, fur seal pups are being born and raised and sea-ice seals are hauled up onto ice floes. Zodiac cruise among pristine sea ice and photograph glistening, iridescent icebergs.

Days 12 & 13 — At Sea

En route for South Georgia we'll head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On 24 April, 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 800 miles (1290 km) distant. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian.

“Nearly always there were gales. So small was our boat and so great were the seas that often our sail flapped idly in the calm between the crests of two waves. Then we would climb the next slope and catch the full fury of the gale where the wool-like whiteness of the breaking water surged around us.”
- Ernest Shackleton

Days 14 to 17 — South Georgia

On the afternoon of day 14 as you near the rugged island of South Georgia, spare a thought for Captain James Cook, who arrived here in 1775 and believed it to be the northern tip of a great southern continent! In fact, it is a small island only 110 mi (175 km) long, but with a 9,840 ft (3,000 m) snow-capped mountain range, some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife and a truly fascinating human history, South Georgia is an island of incredible riches.

On approach, jagged mountain peaks rise steeply, while seabirds are often spotted soaring around the ship. You’ll sail down the east coast, taking in the spectacular glaciated scenery and enjoying a little shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. This enchanting coastline is yours to explore!

Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their local knowledge to plan your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, sea state and wildlife opportunities.

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day cruising around craggy coves and along the rocky coastline in search of nesting penguins, seal haul outs and bird cliffs. Remember to keep an eye out for South Georgia’s kelp forests as well - these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerizing as their fronds sway back and forth on the water’s surface.

Zodiacs will also transport you from ship to shore, where you can visit some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth, take a guided walk among fur seals and elephant seals (making sure you listen to your guides and keep your distance!) and wander along pebbled streams and grassy glacial outwash plains. We also hope to visit the remnants of South Georgia’s thriving whaling stations and pay our respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose incredible voyage of survival is synonymous with this island. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow.

In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise through fjords with towering cliffs of ancient stone, or into deeply indented bays towards dramatic glacier fronts. This is a great time to find a comfy spot in the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge to enjoy uninterrupted views of South Georgia’s majestic coast.

Days 18 & 19 — At Sea

Between South Georgia and the Falklands~Malvinas, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skillfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually traveling into the prevailing weather, so it is difficult to estimate our arrival time in the Falklands~Malvinas. Our lecture program will continue and highlight all of the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days. We’ll have ample time to enjoy the rest of our time observing the sea birds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing in the bar with a book.

If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.

Day 20 — Falklands~Malvinas

The Falklands~Malvinas comprises two large islands (East and West Falkland), with over 700 islands scattered off the coast. All but seven of these are uninhabited, with windswept coastlines, white sand beaches and crystal-clear water. These beautifully barren islands are true wildlife havens, sheltering an impressive diversity of birdlife, including the largest black-browed albatross colony on earth. The cold, nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands make this a prime location for spotting marine life.

There are many beautiful areas to explore across the Falklands~Malvinas, each offering a unique perspective on this magnificent archipelago. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing winds, weather and wildlife opportunities.

We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day cruising into rocky coves or along sea cliffs, keeping watch for seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you may be able to visit albatross colonies, penguin rookeries and perhaps even have a traditional English ‘tea and scones’ at a local cottage.

We also aim to land in historic Stanley, the capital of the Falklands~Malvinas. This charming town has a distinctly British character, with terraced town houses, pioneer cottages and even an iconic red telephone box! Colorful buildings house cosy cafes, English pubs, souvenir shops, a post office and the fascinating Historic Dockyard Museum, with displays on the maritime history of the Falkland Islands, natural history and links to Antarctica.

Day 21 — At Sea

You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture. Celebrate the end of an unforgettable voyage with newfound friends at a special captain’s farewell dinner.

Day 22 — Disembark in Ushuaia

During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to downtown Ushuaia before continuing to the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.

* Itinerary may be subject to change

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South Georgia - Ushuaia

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International Airfare Not Included. Rates are per person, based on twin-share. Single occupancy cabin pricing surcharges arw an additional 50%. Twin share, with no supplement, is available in Aurora Stateroom and Balcony Stateroom categories.

Flights included for Fly/Cruise itineraries.

Adventure options must be pre-booked and paid for prior to start of the trip. Space is subject to availability. Some activities require experience.

Optional Activities: Kayaking $1,260 (trips < 17-days) $1,560 (trips > 16-days). Photography Free. Snowshoeing $350 (trips < 17-days) $420 (trips > 16-days). Snorkeling $640 (trips < 17-days) $800 (trips > 16-days). Camping $150. South Georgia Alpine Crossing by foot $2,220 (Nov 4th 2022).

A $15 per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your account. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members.

Mandatory Emergency Evacuation Insurance Required. All trips subject to possible fuel surcharge.

DeckPlan_SylviaEarle

Cabin Descriptions

         Captain's Suite *
480 Sq Ft / 44.5 m² including balcony
Deck 4
The largest of all our rooms, the singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite.
Twin or king bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • Separate lounge area • 42" flat-screen TV
         Junior Suite *
450-470 Sq Ft / 42-43.5 m² including balcony
Deck 7
The four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
Twin or king bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV • Separate lounge area
         Superior Balcony Stateroom
300-405 Sq Ft / 28-37.7 m² including balcony
Decks 4 and 6
With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Balcony Stateroom Superior cabins are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. The Staterooms feature floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area. Some of these rooms are equipped with wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
Twin or double bed • Private en-suite • Full size window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV
         Balcony Stateroom-A, Balcony Stateroom-B, Balcony Stateroom-C
225-270 Sq Ft / 21-24.8 m² including balcony
Decks 4 & 6
Our 23 Balcony Stateroom–A cabins are our premium cabin, and the most abundant on board. These cabins are located in preferred positions which provide easy access between decks via the internal stairs or elevator.
Our 17 Balcony Stateroom–B Cabins are our standard cabin, many fitted with interconnecting features making them great for families or groups.
Our 11 Balcony Stateroom–C cabins are our most economical, fitted with all the necessities, and comfortable for up to 2 people.
Twin or double bed • Private En-suite • Floor to ceiling window • Desk area • Closet space • Private balcony • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV
      Superior Stateroom
215-240 Sq Ft / 20-22.3 m²
Deck 7
With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Aurora Stateroom Superior are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. The Staterooms feature french balconies, floor to ceiling windows, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area.
Twin or double bed (Three twin beds in Triple) • Private En-suite • Porthole window • Desk area • Closet space • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV
         Aurora Stateroom  Twin & Triple (on select voyages)
215 Sq Ft / 20 m²
Deck 3
There are two Aurora Stateroom Twin / Triple cabins each featuring portholes and private en-suites. They're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action. NOTE: There are only 2 possible triple cabins — availability is very limited.
Twin or double bed (Three twin beds in Triple) • Private En-suite • Porthole window • Desk area • Closet space • Room-controlled thermostat • Safe for storing valuables • 42" flat-screen TV

*

      Suite benefits include:
• One free pair of binoculars per suite
• 1-hour spa treatment (per person)
• Free stocked mini bar (Balcony & Junior stocked once, Captain’s replenished as needed)
• Gratuities/tips for crew included to the value of $15 per person per day
• 1 free bottle of champagne per suite