Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands

Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands

From USD $12,596

Description

Late December is a beautiful time to experience Antarctica. We enjoy extended daylight hours at this time of the season, the wildlife colonies are busy and as the sea ice continues to break up, our range of landing sites expands even further.

We fly from South America to Antarctica in a little over two hours where we board our ship and enjoy a thorough exploration of the glaciated coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. We see in the New Year surrounded by the icebergs and towering glaciers of Antarctica, before continuing our journey to South Georgia. We follow the course taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton whose epic small boat journey, from Elephant Island across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia remains one of the greatest feats of navigation in history. We commence our exploration at the remote south-eastern tip of South Georgia and then spend the following days exploring the northern coastline. Here are some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth. The shores are covered in wildlife – including nesting albatross, fur seals and elephant seals.
Rusting relics from the old whaling era sit silent and provide dramatic contrasts to the green tussock grass, and snowy peaks that surround us.

We then head for the Falkland Islands and aim to spend one final day exploring the wildlife-rich Sea Lion Island and nearby by Bleaker Island. Our voyage concludes in Stanley – the small capital from where we fly back to South America.

Please Note: Flights from Punta Arenas to Stanley, Falkland Islands or King George Island and return are included in the voyage price.

Trip Name
Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands
Days
17
Overview
Vessel Type: Expedition Length: 117 metres Passenger Capacity: 96 Built: 1989 The Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice strengthened. From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, we have public spaces onboard the ship ideally suited for each and every need. A separate lounge and bar, as well as a library provide ideal places to sit and relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge. The sumptuous meals prepared for you by our culinary team are enjoyed in our dining room, which can host all passengers in a single seating and will keep you feeling healthy and strong for the myriad of activities offered throughout the voyage. Other facilities include the theatre style presentation room, gift-shop, fitness room, massage room, hot water spa, sauna and plunge pool. There’s also a dedicated expedition ‘mud-room’ where you prepare for your off-ship excursions. Features: Superior Comfort and Stability Highest standards of Marine Safety Comfortable Bar Bridge Communications Dining Room Fitness and Fitness Room Gift Shop Wellness Centre Presentation Room Top Deck and Observatory Multimedia Room

Itinerary



Day 1 - DAY 1 / PUNTA ARENAS (CHILE)
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chileanport city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central location andtransfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the DrakePassage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of yourvoyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, we embark ourship via Zodiac. After settling into our cabins and exploring ournew surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellowpassengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcomerefreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be lookingforward to the adventure ahead.
Day 2 - DAYS 2-4 / GERLACHE STRAIT AND ANTARCTIC PENINSULA EXPLORATION
Overnight we navigate through the Bransfield Strait and awaketo the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out beforeus. For the next three days we have a varied itinerary exploringthe Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, we cruise throughthe Lemaire Channel and may visit sites which may includePleneau Island and the Penola Strait. Southerly PetermannIsland, is home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelieand gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an activeresearch base nearby provides a fascinating insight into theimportant climate change science occurring in Antarctica. Thelandscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline featureheavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice andsnow. Our activity program is in full swing by now, and each daywe enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, andZodiac cruising among the ice with our expert guides providinginsight and interpretation. Planned visits could include ParadiseHarbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through theErrera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island.Wilhelmina Bay is another favourite location where we frequentlyencounter pods of humpback whales.
Day 3 - DAY 5 / NORTHERN PENINSULA AND WEDDELL SEA
We are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – thegateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope tomake a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditionspermit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcaniccaldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to severalpenguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History isall around us as we explore the old whaling station, with therusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures. Fur sealsgather among the old structures seeking protection from theelements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar.This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very firstflight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here toa location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ - high up onto the rimof the crater. Our goal is to enter the icy Weddell Sea, throughthe broad channel that separates the continent of Antarcticafrom Joinville Island. At first we are awe-struck by the sheer sizeof the tabular icebergs in this area and their presence alwaysmakes for exciting navigation on the ship. This region is alsohome to some of the largest Adelie penguin rookeries found inAntarctica.
Day 4 - DAY 6 / ELEPHANT ISLAND
After several busy days of exploration along the AntarcticPeninsula and entrance to the Weddell Sea, we head forElephant Island – a location forever connected to the storyof Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expeditiona century ago. On the windswept north coast, exposed tothe swells of the South Atlantic is Point Wild. It was herethat Shackleton and his exhausted men camped under theirupturned boats – pondering their chances of survival. We enjoyemposing views of the location from the ship and will attempt alanding subject to conditions. From the ship or on shore, this isa thrilling location for anyone with a passion for polar history.
Day 5 - DAYS 7-8 / SCOTIA SEA – TOWARDS SOUTH GEORGIA
As we depart Elephant Island we cannot help but ponder thejourney made by Shackleton and his four companions – as theyattempted the near impossible – navigating 800 nautical miles ina 30 foot converted lifeboat across the tempestuous Scotia Seato South Georgia. We make a much easier time of the crossingin our state of the art expedition ship. Onboard experts keep usbusy with fascinating presentations and lead lively discussionsthroughout the day. The great pelagic seabirds are sure to keepus company – and we anticipate excellent sightings of albatrossand giant petrels soaring on the winds of the South AtlanticOcean. Anticipation builds as the mountainous peaks appear onthe horizon, marking our arrival at South Georgia.
Day 6 - DAYS 9-12 / EXPLORATION OF SOUTH GEORGIA
Rounding the remote south-eastern end of South Georgia, wespend the next four days thoroughly exploring the coastline.Dark sand beaches, tussock covered hinterland and a backdropof towering peaks and glaciers are a feast for all the senses.South Georgia has often been called the greatest wildlifeshow on earth. Seals cover the beaches, seabirds fill the skiesand living in rookeries of immense size, live the majestic kingpenguins. Our aim is to visit a number of these huge colonies– where naturalists estimate that more than 100,000 adult andjuvenile penguins live in close proximity. Locations we hopeto visit include Gold Harbour, Royal Bay, St Andrews Bay andSalisbury Plain.Dotted along the coastline are the rusting relics of the earlywhaling era. The largest of these locations is Grytviken. Here wefind a fascinating museum and a beautifully restored NorwegianLutheran Church. Adjacent to the old whaling station lies a smallcemetery. This is the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton– who was laid to rest here in 1922. For many onboard, beingin the presence of the great polar explorer is a highlight of thetrip. We continue our journey along the coastline, hoping tovisit Stromness –another former whaling station – and the finaldestination of Shackleton and companions Frank Worsley andTom Crean having made the near impossible traverse acrossthe interior of South Georgia.
Day 7 - DAYS 13-15 / AT SEA – TOWARDS THE FALKLANDS
By now we are in sensory overload, our cameras full of imagesand our journey towards the Falkland Islands commences.The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrelspecies are our constant companions as they soar above theship. Photographing these stunning birds in flight takes greatpatience and skill and our resident photography expert on boardwill show you the best techniques. The onboard educationalprogram continues and our experts recap our remarkablejourney to date. These days provide a good opportunity tocatch up on journal entries, sort through your images in themultimedia room and catch some rest after a busy two weeksof activity.
Day 8 - DAY 16 / FALKLAND ISLANDS
We wake to the sight of landfall in the Falkland Islands.Approaching Sea Lion Island, we first note the very barrenand windswept landscape, exposed to the prevailing weatherthat originates in the Drake Passage. We launch the Zodiacsand go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife foundat this location. Three species of penguin including gentoo,magellanic and rockhopper, as well as southern elephant sealsand South American sea lions are known to inhabit the area.King cormorants and striated caracaras are just some of thebird species we expect to see. As we cruise along the coastof the Falklands, bound for Stanley, we enjoy a special dinnerattended by the ship’s Captain.
Day 9 - DAY 17 / STANLEY – RETURN TO PUNTA ARENAS (CHILE)
In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and intothe harbour of Port Stanley. A transfer will take us to the airportfor our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flightis included in the price of your voyage). It will be possible toconnect to flights through to Santiago or other destinationsin Chile. Otherwise enjoy a night in Punta Arenas, or venturefurther afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
Day 10 - Please Note:
Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions, the planned itinerary will be updated at the time of final preparations as well as throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favourable conditions.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0Child Shackleton Triple
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0Child Twin Private
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0Triple Share
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0Child Shackleton Suite
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0Twin Semi Private
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0Twin Private
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0Superior
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0Shakleton Suite
27-12-201812-01-2019USD $0One Ocean Suite

Inclusions

    • Fantastic glaciated scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia
    • Outstanding wildlife observation on shore, zodiac cruising and from the ship
    • Visits to historic sites and science stations
    • Learn about the environment, wildlife, history and ecology from polar experts

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