The cruise to Antarctica to the South Georgia Islands, is the most active and adventurous of all, very advisable for adventurous people, specially for skiers and explorer souls, by skiing or doing a trekking, this trip is a real dream. We will depart from Puerto Madryn, to go to the South Atlantic Ocean, in journey full of activities, surrounded by petrels, albatrosses and skuas. The first day will be devoted to the Falkland Islands and the capital Port Stanley and then leave behind the Antarctic convergence and go to our main objective: The Georgia Island.
Close to the eighth day we will arrive to the South Georgia Islands, so we can start our crossing, which can be by land or sea. We can discover the Island by navigating in botes or by skiing from the south to the north coast, starting in King Bay to Stromness Bay. The land explorers will be able to recall the true and unique feat made in this island by Ernest Shackleton, which was never matched until today, an impressive human deed, which was repeated but not beated. This trip explores the South Georgia Islands is maybe the most advisable for all those who carry an adventurous spirit.
Gift to customers of Argentinian Explorer
Those who contract this trip to the Georgias Island will get 2 nights free accommodation in the city of Puerto Madryn including transfers from airport to hotel and excursion to Peninsula Valdes for observation of the Southern Right Whale and then a visit to the largest colony of Magellanic penguins in South America at Punta Tombo.
20 days - 19 nights
Day 1 - Boarding in Puerto Madryn
In the afternoon we set sail from Puerto Madryn in Chubut to get to the Falkland Island. We crossed the New Gulf is famous worldwide for the presence during the months of July to November of the Southern Right Whale that migrates to these waters from Antarctica.
Day 2 to 3 - South Atlantic Ocean
We will navigate the waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, we are going to the Falkland Island, while we watch a great variety of sea birds, albatrosses, petrels, skuas, among other species. When we enter in the antartic waters, the change of temperature can be noticed, which descends 10º C.
Day 4 - Falkland Islands
We arrive in the Falkland Islands to the western area of the archipelago. If the weather is good we will try to land on the northwest of the islands, Jason Steeple Island in which we can observe the colony of the world's largest haggard albatross, home to an estimated 115,000 birds. A research station that was made at the beginning of XXI century with the aim of preserving the wildlife. We can also see baby Magellan, imperial and Gentoo penguins, as well as waders. At Saunders Island, also called Trinidad Island, located north of San Francisco de Paula bay, we will be surprise with the landing of albatrosses nesting near the place with their young babies. On that island today are dedicated to the sheep grazing.
Day 5 - Port Stanley
We will visit Port Stanley, the current capital of the Falkland Islands to experience the British culture of the islands, a blend of South American and Victorian charm, defined in houses full of colors and gardens neatly care and British style pubs. Both in Port Stanley and its vicinity you can see a number considered clippers that have been stranded for more than a century, due to the difficulties they had to overcome the sailors in the late nineteenth century. We can visit the museum that despite being small is worth to visit and showing the process of English settlement to the Falklands War in 1982, when Argentina claimed sovereignty over these lands, since they were illegally occupied by the British, as they have in other parts of the planet. The inhabitants of this town are really few; just 1,200 people live in this inhospitable and desolate place. All tours that take place in the Islands must be paid separately since they are not included in the price of the trip.
Day 6 to 7 - Around South Georgia by the Antarctic Convergence
We head towards the land of Ernest ShackletonWe will navigate the waters of the South Atlantic Ocean, we are going to the Antarctica, while we watch a great variety of sea birds, albatrosses, petrels, skuas, among other species. When we enter in the antartic waters, the change of temperature can be noticed, which descends 10º C.
Day 8 to 15 - South Georgia Island
During these days, we get to the South Georgia Island, where an adventure expedition waits for us with two possible alternatives: to know the island by land or sea. We can tour the island by embarking zodiacs in the sea, circunnavigating it or discovering the islands by land, where we can ski by crossing it from north to south, from the South coast in King Haakon Bay to the north coast in Stromness Bay. The sea expedition takes approximately 9 days, while the land expedition takes about 5 days. The skiers organize a group of no more than 12 explorers who go with two or three mountain guides when we have to cross the island with snowshoes, while we are drived by sleds called pulkas.
The journey by land, that the skiers have to do, takes 45 km, a very similar path to the historical route that Ernest Shackleton did in just 36 hours. Finally, the expedition gets to the ship in Stromness Bay, after crossing glaciers in the final stage, joining both bays. Once the land expedition joins to the sea one, the trip goes on. The sea explorers start their route in Fanfarronada Pegotty, the famous historical field. The Plancius ship will anchor in Cape Rose. Once the night has come, we will cross Cape Disappointment, which was discovered by James Cook in 1775 to get to the south-east of South Georgia. We will go in zodiacs to visit the Drygalski Fjord, an extraordinary place, so we can get to our main point: Cooper Bay. There are other interesting places to discover during the sea expedition, such as Gold Harbour beaches, Royal and St. Andrews Bay.
All these attractions are covered by many beautiful lanscapes and fauna, where we can see the King Penguins and Macaroni, sea elephants and albatrosses, among other species. We will get to the front of the glacier Nordenskjöld, Maiviken and the Cumberland Bay. We can descend to visit Godthul, Maiviken and Stromness, depending on the weather conditions and we will be with proffesional guides, where we will stay about 3 hours, touring 7 kilometres approximately. Stromness Bay is the point of encounter of both expeditions (sea and land), once we are together again, we will navigate to Fortune Bay to anchor the ship, so we can rest all night. The King Penguin lives in the beaches. In Grytviken we can go to the Whaling History Museum and Ernest Shackleton grave. One of the last places that we will know is Prion Island, there we can appreciate the non-stop work of the Roaming Albatrosses, enjoying their skillful demonstrations. In the Salisbury Plain, we will watch the second bigger colony of King Penguins in the South Georgia, apart from watching the sea elephants. We will leave South Georgia in Elsehul Bay to return to Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego.
Day 16 to 19 - Return to Ushuaia
We won´t be alone in our return to Ushuaia, because of the great diversity of sea birds that cross the Atlantic Ocean next to the Plancius.
Day 20 - Ushuaia
We will be arriving in Ushuaia with the first lights of the morning, to say goodbye to this unique and original adventure in the South Georgia, a different way to know these unusual corners of the South Pole, where we can remember Ernest Shackleton, specially because of the land expeditionaries which join the north and south extremes of the bay just like he did many years ago.
Map of Route
All rates are per person in american dollars, in double twin accommodation. The prices in dollars apply for all the sales made outside Europe. A 5% of discount will be granted for bookings of one or more consecutive voyages (except for the programa "Atlantic Odyssey"). Please, consider that all the dates and prices are subjet to possible changes. All the trips operate with a minimum of 70 passengers. The "Plancius" can accommodate a top of 110 passengers.
Individual occupancy (single base)
All the cabins are available for Single occupancy to 1.7 times the price for this cabin.
- Trip on board as indicated in the itinerary
- All meals during the trip on board, including snacks, coffee and tea
- Free use for rubber boats and snowshoes
- Regular Transfer from the cruise to Ushuaia Airport (right after the disembarkation)
- All land tours and activities during the voyage in Zodiac boats
- Conference programs by well known naturalists and coordination by the experimented team expedition
- All taxes and port expenses during the program
- Informative reading material before embarking
Services not included:
Any air prices (regular or charter flights), any previous and/ or later service to the cruise, transfers to the cruise; passport and visa expenses; any arrival or return govern taxes in the country, meals on land, luggage, cancellationa and personal insurance (which is advisable), expenses for excess luggage and any other aditional expense, such as laundry, bar, drinks or calls; also the tips to waitresses and other personal service on board, after the trips.
South Georgia Island
General information from South Georgia
South Georgia Island is one of the most remote and wild places in the South Pole. The island is administered by the United Kingdom, but their sovereignty is not clear, since Argentine has maintained a claim over the Island for a long time because this country considers it to be a part of the South Atlantic Islands. It is at 1400 meters (850 miles) east of Malvinas Islands. South Georgia Island does not have an airport, the only access is by sea, and the boat takes whole days to come from Malvinas. The island has a surface area of about 170 km (106 miles) by 30 km (18 miles), and it is completely a rocky terrain with ice-covered mountains of up to 2934 meters of height (9626). The biggest island is South Georgia, also known as San Pedro Island; the rest of the islands are fairly smaller and the most important are: Willis, Bird, Annenkov, Cooper and Pickersgill, Rocas Negras, Grass and Aurora. The island has more than 160 glaciers down the sea.
The landscape there is similar to the coasts and fiords of Norway. The landscapes are diverse and include hills, high mountains such as Mount Paget, and fiords in the eastern coast. The place is protected from strong Antarctic winds thanks to its high rocky terrain, and this is why whaling companies were established there. Plains areas are scarce, as well as vegetation. Grass and moss grow during winter, although not much. Finally the contrast is presented by the coasts that outline bays, inlets and coves with their varied shapes. Many sea birds and sea mammals grow along the coasts of Tussock Grass in South Georgia Island. Except for the remains of the old whaling stations, the island has been hardly visited by humans, so it offers unique opportunities for watching fauna and spectacular landscapes -a real oasis in the Antarctica.
The British explorer James Cook was the first one who had landed on South Georgia Island; he discovered the island on his second voyage around the world. Hoping to find the South Continent, he was disappointed to see that South Georgia was just an island. Cook landed at Possession Bay and claimed the island for the United Kingdom. Soon after the arrival of James Cook, some hunters of sea animals saw a business on South Georgia Island: fur trading. At the beginning of the 20th century, this island became the center of the whaling industry. Mainly companies from Norway and Britain established whaling stations near the fiords. The business went on until 1964 when most of the whales had been captured which caused the volume of whales to decrease dramatically due to the indiscriminate killing. Today whales and seals are totally protected. Seals and elephant seals are now on the beaches. Whales are also increasingly more in numbers, but at a slow pace, and now we can see them in our trips.
Climate on South Georgia Island
South Georgia Island is located within the Antarctic Convergence, a limit separating the cold South Ocean and the two warm northern oceans. So the climate there is cold and extremely harsh, similar to Norway winters. Climate can fluctuate. The summer average temperature at sea level is around 7.5° C (45° F). The thermal amplitude is moderate. Rain and snow can occur at any time of the year, though they happen mainly from May to August. It is frequent to find strong winds that can reach 170 km/h. In general the climate is nicer in the northern coast and harsher in the southern one.
Flora and Fauna
Wildlife on South Georgia Island can only be compared to that on places like Galapagos Islands. Vegetation includes endemic species, mainly inferior species, over a glaciated surface which creates a very irregular ground comprised by moss, grass and lichen, as well as bushes blown by strong winds. The great number of penguins and seals on this island is unseen; this place is home to millions of sea birds and seals. The island is also home to the biggest flying bird of the world, the giant albatross, and the biggest species of seals, the southern elephant seal. The animals frequently seen there include: Reindeer, Gentoo penguins, Macaroni penguin, as well as many species of sea gulls, Antarctic sea swallows and pigeons. The reindeer is not an autochthonous animal; it was taken there from Lapland at the beginning of the 20th century by Scandinavian workers. They did not only take reindeer, but also pigs and ponies. Nowadays there are not pigs or ponies due to the indiscriminate killing and lack of adaptation.
To get more information about our programs, visit the itinerary section.
Bay of Islands
There the albatross Wandering is raised. Besides we could visit Salisbury Plain and watch the biggest penguin rookeries.
Shackleton landed at this island during his last expedition in 1916. There is a beautiful rookery of the King penguin.
This is an abandoned Norwegian whaling station. Today we can see King penguins walking along the streets, as well as elephant seals and seals now back on the beaches. There is a great museum about natural history and whaling times.
San Andrés Bay
This is the biggest King penguin rookery of South Georgia Island, having about 150,000 pairs. The bay is very exposed and so the landing is not always possible.
This is the short version of the wildlife and landscape on South Georgia Island. Many people considered this place to be the most beautiful place on the island.
This is a wild landscape west of the island. Ice and rock predominate on the island.
The itineraries published are for reference only. The programs are subject to weather and ice conditions and the Expedition Leader decisions to take advantage for all the opportunities to watch wild and vegetal life. Flexibility is essential for expedition cruises. The disembarkations are always subject to weather conditions, the availability in every place where we descend and environmental regulations (IAATO). Navigation and disembarking plans will be fixed with IAATO about 5 months before beginning the season. The final navigation plan will be stablished by the Expedition Leader on board. The application of the navigation plan is subject to embarkation capacity and the Captain´s judgement. Considering the high prices on fuel, it has been arranged that OceanWide Expeditions keeps the right to reduce the engine speed (even navigating with one engine), if this is possible, unless these affects the essencial development of the voyage which has been programmed or the ship security, the crew and the passengers would be in danger.
Rubber Boots and coats during the expedition
On board the "Plancius" all the passengers can use a pair of tough rubber boots for free. Sizes must be requested to OceanWide´s booking department, al least 8 weeks before departing. A voucher with all the final travel documents will be sent approximately, 4 weeks before departing. All demand about the necessary equipment for the land tours and navigations, will not be accepted without order or voucher, once we are embarked in the cruise. Boots must be returned to the expedition team once the trip has finished. Rubber boots are of high quality, which help to keep feets warm and they are very comfortable. All coats which will be used during the expeditions can be requested also at a special price. Termins and conditions are on the request form. Land tours and Zodiac Navigations Guided land tours, hiking, fauna-watching and navigations in Zodiac are included in the price and they are offered to all the passengers during the cruise. The objective is to experience wild life and its nature as much as possible.
English is the predominant language in the ship. There will be also german-speaking staff on board for bilingual trips (english-german). Security instructions, welcome on board, every announcement about activities inside or outside the cruise, daily meetings to give information, will be provided in english and german. Conferences given in english and german may change in content. During them, there will not be translated at the same time, however a resume will be given in the second language when these are finished. Direction and guide during the different land activities, will depend on each passenger´s chosen group according to their own skills as for physical conditions. In the Artic, the objective is to divide the group in three groups: one group for intense hiking, one group for intermediate rhythm level to have more time to take pictures and one last group with free time to visit the region. One member of german language team might not be always available for each group. During the navigations in Zodiac botes, may not have bilingual guide necessarily.
Some of the cruises to Antartica offer an exciting option to open air which gives an intensive experience about wild life in the Antartica. All camping equipment and needed tools will be provided, such as tents, sleeping bags to water and wind proof. This refuge protects from weather conditions during the night to open air in the Antartica. The mattresses and sleeping "polar" bags provide comfort during all night. The maximum number of participants for this camping optional is 15 passengers per night. An expedition guide will guide us during the land activities. Campings are subject to wether conditions, to camping availability and environmental regulations, of course. One of those nights must be reserved before the voyage, any other aditional night can be organised on board. These prices are indicated in the exit and price list.
Hiking and trekking
During the hiking and trekking tours, they will be a bit more extensive than tradicional tours. Generally, there are 3 possibilities to offer so they can be more energetic. There will be easy, intermediate and more intense trekking around the disembark region. There will be also tailor made trekking for each person, according to their own skills. In the Antartic, the main point is an average of 2 trekking per day, each one of 2 and 3 hours duration, during the disembarkation made either in the morning or in the afternoon. In the Artic, several full day trekking are offered with lunch included. The final decision about this tours will depend on the Expedition Leader, the same day these activities are fixed. It is advisable to bring a pair of special boots for trekking and warm polainas. Snowshoes will be provided on board according to available number of boots and they can be used together with the rubber boots provided by OceaWide. These hiking and trekking activities are for free.
In general, it is planned to offer 4 days for kayaking at least. Basical experience in kayak is required and a very well physical condition is essential. Parallel to all the activities, the main objective is to do these kayak activities during the disembarkations which are made either in the morning and/ or in the afternoon. The final decision about this tours will depend on the Expedition Leader, the same day these activities are fixed. OceanWide will provide the Kayaks and neopreno suits. Those persons who do Kayak must bring their own warm polainas. Kayaking is subject to weather and ice conditions. These prices are indicated in the exit and price list. Diving (D) Divers must have an advanced experience in dive suits and dive in cold waters. It is expected to do among one and two different diving activities per day, at the same time that the other activities. Diving depends on weather and ice conditions. Diving professional and guides will be responsible for the passengers´security who choose this exciting activity. The basical equipment is on board, such as diving tanks, compressors, weights and other essential diving elements. They have to bring their own warm polainas. These prices are indicated in the exit and price list.
Ski Trekking(T) - Shackleton Crossing
A group of 12 hikkers will carry their sledges with the needed equipment (food, heaters, fuel, between 20 and 30 kg) through mountain lands. During the journeys where there is no snow, the sledge can be carried as a backpack. The Ski Trekking involves bringing mountain and ski equipment, winter camping for walks on the glaciers. A very well physical condition is required for the participants and they must have some experience to do this exhausting activity in an alpine environment, sometimes with extreme temperatures. Besides, they must be familiar with ski and rescue crack techniques. The activity will be done in alpine land, which is difficult to access sometimes, it is very cracked and potentially dangerous. There is no climbing activities in this trips, because climate conditions and strong wind can make these tours very challenging.
There is always the possibility to keep inside the tents because of bad weather. Mountain guides with UAIGM approval, will lead the journeys and they will be in charge for the expedition security; there will be also one person with medical experience. There will be a minimum of one guide every 4 passengers. Basical equipment is available on board (sledges, snowshoes and essential elements to practise alpine mountain activities). The trekkers must bring their own ski equipment (a pair of skis, skiing boots) and adecuate clothing. They have to fill in a form with medical and personal information, so they can do this activity. Besides, they must hand in an experience in mountain skiing and trekking report. The applications will be studied for their admission. These prices are indicated in the exit and price list.