Antarctica Complete
M/V Sylvia Earle

An itinerary through the sub-Antarctic Islands such as the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island to reach Antarctica to the limit of the Antarctic Polar Circle. It is a very complete and exclusive trip on a new expedition ship: The M/V Sylvia Earle. This program to Antarctica leaves and returns to the port of Ushuaia.

Antarctica Complete on the M/V Sylvia Earle

23 days - 22 nights

If you only have one chance to visit Antarctica, this trip is for you. On this epic journey, you will experience the wonders of Antarctica, including crossing south of the Antarctic Polar Circle to venture where few travelers have been. On South Georgia Island, photograph the amazing views of rugged mountains and tour some of the largest king penguin colonies in the world. From mid to late summer in Antarctica is full of action. Penguins nest and hungry and voracious chicks grow rapidly as their parents work hard to feed them. The waters are full of whales that feed on krill, the whales hunt in packs, while the female elephant seals are busy taking care of their harems, mating and the puppies are weaned. In Falklands, we explore the historic city of Stanley and the island of Sea Lions, full of wildlife.

Antarctica Complete on the M/V Sylvia Earle

The highlights of the expedition are: excursions in Zodiac boats through crystal clear waters and excitement in the presence of iridescent blue icebergs, dry landings to the Antarctic continent for unforgettable views, bustling penguins, swooping skúas and curious seals. Kayak sailing in Antarctica and in the quiet bays of South Georgia Island. Elephant seals are covered in wet sand to keep cool while king penguin chicks bathe in mud. Raise a drink while joining a small adventurous club to cross the Antarctic Polar Circle (if conditions permit).

23 days - 22 nights

Day 1 - Ushuaia

Reception at the airport of the city of Ushuaia and transfer to the hotel.

Day 2 - Boarding and departure from the port of Ushuaia, previous visit to the city.

This morning, enjoy a nice breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day tour of the city. Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, is located on the banks of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains, which gives it a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this half-day introductory tour, you will visit the "La Misión" 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 tour, you will see the old houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The tour ends with a visit to the End of the World Museum before moving to the pier to embark at approximately 4:00 PM. Please note that the museum's opening hours may change without prior notice, and if the End of the World Museum is closed, we can visit the nearby Old Prison Museum. While the M/V Sylvia Earle moves away from the port, we will meet on the deck to begin our adventure with spectacular views of Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You will have time to settle in your cabin before our important informative meetings. Tonight, meet your expedition partners and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of an exciting adventure in Antarctica. Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is on your own.

Day 3 - Drake Passage

At the beginning of the crossing of the Drake Passage, we make the most of our time to feel comfortable with the movements of the sea. Our expedition team prepares you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and begins our conference program to help you learn more about the history, wildlife and environment of Antarctica. Our experiences with wildlife begin when we enjoy observing and photographing the many marine birds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels that follow us. They rise and fall skillfully, using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

Day 4 - Drake Sea and South Shetland Islands

As you approach the tip of the South Shetland Islands on the fourth day, the excitement is palpable as everyone gathers on the bridge watching the first iceberg. The ocean takes on a new perspective once we are under the Antarctic Convergence and surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first sighting of large icebergs will likely remain with you for life. If the weather permits, we can try our first landing in Antarctica in the late afternoon.

Day 5 to 10 - Antarctic Peninsula & Antarctic Polar Circle

During the next few days, we have a large number of options available, and depending on the ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, which has made countless trips to this area, will use their experience to design our day-to-day trip. This allows us to take full advantage of the climate, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18 to 20 hours of natural light and the days can be as busy as you want. Generally we will try two landings or excursions in zodiac boats. We will sail along spectacular ice cliffs, watching whales that feed near the surface and disembarking on the mainland and its islands on the coast to visit penguin colonies, historical ruins and some of our other favorite places along the peninsula.

There are many interesting places we can choose to visit and our itinerary is deliberately flexible to allow us to choose the best places of the day according to the ice and weather conditions. A sample of some of the types of places we can navigate, disembark, walk, photograph or see the spectacular wildlife include: Beautiful protected bays around the Antarctic Peninsula surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers, areas that are shelters for whales while we keep our eyes open to see humpback whales, killer whales, mink and crabeater seals, while we explore bays in Zodiacs.

Islands rich in wildlife where glaciers and mountains dominate the view and we can see large colonies of chinstrap penguins caught between basaltic turrets colored by yellow and orange lichens and where we often find sea lions and sea elephants on pebble beaches. It houses the home of Gentoo penguins and Weddell seals. The landscape is dramatic, the high mountains and glaciers looming around the harbor. The thundering crack of the glaciers as they open will surely stop you along the way.

Lemaire Channel: if the ice conditions allow it, stand on the observation platform of the M/V Sylvia Earle in silence while the ship sails along the narrow Lemaire Channel, could be one of the highlights of our trip. The cliffs rise to 700 meters / 2,296 feet that leave the ocean on both sides of the ship. The water can be so still that the mountain is reflected on the surface and it is clear why this channel is often called "Kodak Alley". Gigantic icebergs can clog the canal, creating navigation challenges for our Captain and crew, occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.

On this trip, we plan to cross the Antarctic Polar Circle, an imaginary line located in the Antarctic Circle at latitude 66 ° 33 'South. It is a special highlight for everyone, and the moment will be celebrated with a toast on the terrace. You have earned yourself some privileges, joining a small group of lucky adventurers who have come to this part of the world. As we get closer and cross the circle, you will notice subtle changes in the landscape and also in the distribution of wildlife. The waters at this time of year are rich in krill and we look forward to seeing many whales, especially humpback and minkes, and enjoying the spectacle of penguins feeding their voracious chicks.

Day 11 to 12 - Towards the sea of Scotland

En route to South Georgia, we will go through the Sea of Scotland, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took to find help for the rest of their companions. On April 24, 1916, they piled up in the James Caird, the most protected of their open boats, to attempt this dangerous trip to South Georgia, about 1290 km (802 miles) away. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would count on the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men left behind. As the excitement of South Georgia increases, catch up with fellow expeditionaries at the bar, watch wildlife with our naturalist from the open bridge.

Day 13 to 17 - South Georgia Island

Over the next few days, marvel at the incredible scenes of South Georgia, such as the huge and bustling colonies of king penguins, sea lions fighting for space on the beach, amazing mountain landscapes and discover Shackleton's epic rescue trip. On daily departures with Zodiac boats, discover bays full of shrill and playful sea lions and disembark on pebble beaches (beaches with boulders - thick stones) to meet curious penguins. Test yourself with the walks and enjoy dazzling unspoiled landscapes seen by few. South Georgia is a place where you can really feel that you have really escaped from your normal daily life.

South Georgia is one of the most amazing natural environments in the world. Only one spot in the vastness of the South Atlantic Ocean, and which is entirely within the Antarctic Convergence, the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a refuge for the life of some of the largest wildlife congregations in the world. The surrounding sea is one of the most productive areas on Earth and supports the lives of millions of seals, whales, penguins and other seabirds. A mountain range forms the backbone of this long and narrow island.

Between the mountains, the shattered glaciers make their way through the weed grass to the coast with deep indentation, a landscape that is synonymous with the epic survival expedition of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean. Rusty and abandoned whale hunting stations and the remains of explorers reflect the passage of time, while summer workers carry out scientific and regeneration projects. As we explore South Georgia, we will have the opportunity to reflect on Shackleton's epic journey. If conditions permit, we plan to follow in the footsteps of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean and complete the final leg of their walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness.

A sample of some of the places where we can disembark on South Georgia Island include:

  • Grytviken: originally a norwegian whale sealing and hunting station, located northeast of San Pedro Island or South Georgia, which was finally closed in 1965. The body of Sir Ernest Shackleton was deposited in Grytviken. The station is currently abandoned, but it was the center of the whaling industry for more than 60 years, from the early twentieth century until 1965. It was a refuge for different antarctic expeditions. Today there are no residents but at the beginning of the summer it opens the museum where they work about eight people who are residents of the British Antarctic Survey in King Edward Point (Coronel Zelaya Point) just 1 km away.
  • St Andrews Bay: San Andres Bay is a cove north of South Georgia. The beaches are black sand and it faces a wide valley that extends from the sea. This valley is home to the largest king penguin breeding colony in South Georgia, with more than 100,000 specimens. The colonies are always full because the reproductive cycle is very long. Near the bay is the Ross Glacier that is receding as a result of global warming and a gravel beach is being formed.
  • Godthul: Godthul Bay or Buen Arroyo is a bay that is located on the northwest coast of San Pedro Island, it was one of the main ports of the norwegian whaling companies, its name comes precisely from the Norwegian (Godthul: good stream). It is a bay with sangria lined with bleached whale bones, full of sea lions and penguins that "hang". A careful descent takes us to a magnificent colony of macaroni penguins. The norwegian company Bryde & Dahls Hvalfangerselskap created a factory ship in that bay for whaling in 1908. A group of huts, a dock, a water supply site and a tank for the supply of factory vapors were operating around. In 1917 the factory ship moved to the South Shetland Islands and became inactive, but in 1920 it returned to work with the old equipment that remained but in 1929 it stopped working definitively.
  • Salisbury Plains: The Salisbury Plain is an extensive coastal plain, located between the mouths of the Grace and Lucas glaciers on the south coast of the bay. It is the breeding place of up to 80,000 king penguins, its beaches are also covered with many southern seals and antarctic sea lions. Its soil is covered with tussok and sparse vegetation such as the Poa Annua that is very resistant to cold. The landing is done in a rocky area, which were underwater seaweed forests.
  • Fortuna Bay & Stromness Fortuna Bay is surrounded by high mountains with glaciers that descend to end in the open valley that houses a small colony of king penguins. This is where Shackleton, Worsley and Crean descended from the treacherous inland glaciers on their way to the Stromness whaling station that was an old whaling station located on the north coast of San Pedro Island. He became famous because it was the place where Ernest Shackleton arrived in 1916 to request help for his epic rescue on Elephant Island. Stromness operated as a whaling station from 1912 to 1931, then continued as a shipyard until 1961 when it finally stopped operating.
  • Day 18 to 20 - At sea

    During the trip from South Georgia Islands to Falkland Island, you will be fascinated by the incessant flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skillfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. At this stage, we are usually traveling with some weather dependence, so it is difficult to estimate our precise arrival time to South Georgia Island. Our conference program will continue to highlight all the incredible views we have witnessed in recent days. You will have enough time to enjoy watching seabirds, watching whales from the observation areas or just relaxing with a book. If time and weather conditions permit, we can pass near Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of irregular rocky islets that protrude from the sea, in the vicinity of South Georgia.

    The Shag Rocks are also called in Spanish the Aurora Islands, they are a group of ocean sedimentary rocks that we find over the South Atlantic, in the northernmost region of the Southern Antilles Arc. They are 1200 km east of States Island and about 232 km from San Pedro Island that belongs to the South Georgia. They are mountains that have stood out from the Scotia Dorsal, which is the underwater continuation of the Andes Mountains.

    Day 21 - Falkland Islands

    The Falkland Islands are located 477 kilometers (296 miles) east of southern Argentina, Malvinas is a unique combination of being an access point to wildlife and an advanced town. An archipelago of more than 700 islands, but consisting of two main islands, east and west, only seven of the islands are inhabited. The cold and nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands make them a privileged place for marine life, including seabirds and seals. Our time in the Falklands includes a short walk through the historic city of Stanley and the Sea Lions Island, located in the south of the East Falklands, to get to know the Natural Reserve of the Sea Lions Island. You will discover how the natural beauty and loneliness of the island make it a refuge for wildlife and visitors. In 2009, the Sea Lions Island was officially declared a National Nature Reserve, with no introduced predators living on the island.

    Tussac grass covers much of the island and provides an ideal habitat for elephants and sea lions that can be found on many of the island's spectacular beaches. A large number of birds such as thrush, finches, tussac and magellanics penguins also inhabit the tussac. Killer whale pods, Peale dolphins and leopard seals are regularly seen in the waters around the island. The south giant petrels with a wingspan of two meters, act as a welcome party for the boats when they approach the Sea Lions Island. Rockhopper, Gentoo and Magelllanic penguins come to this island to breed. Macaroni penguins and king penguins are also common on the island.

    Day 22- At sea

    On our return to Ushuaia, you can choose to dedicate your time to photo editing, to enjoy the facilities on board or to listen to an informative conference.

    Day 23 - Ushuaia

    During the early morning, we sail along the Beagle Channel. We arrive at the dock of the port of Ushuaia, where we begin to disembark around 8:00 am. We say goodbye to the expedition team and fellow travelers while we all continue our future trips, hopefully with a new sense of the immense power of nature. The cost of the trip includes a transfer to the center of Ushuaia or to the airport.

    Map of Route

     Antarctica Complete on the M/V Sylvia Earle


    Services included
    • Transfer from the airport to the hotel.
    • Accommodation night the day before departure.
    • Half-day city tour in Ushuaia before boarding (lunch not included)
    • Luggage transfer from the Ushuaia hotel to the ship
    • Transfer from the pier to the city center or to the airport, when you disembark.
    • Onboard accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
    • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
    • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
    • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
    • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
    • Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
    • Free access to our onboard doctor for consultations relating to sea-sickness. A standard fee of US $60.00 (reclaimable through your travel insurance provider) applies for medical consultations not related to sea-sickness
    • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
    • Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
    • Comprehensive pre-departure information
    • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
    Services not included
    • International or domestic flights to or within South America, unless specified
    • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
    • Airport arrival or departure taxes
    • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
    • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
    • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
    • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
    • Optional activity surcharges
    • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges

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