The crossing starts in Ushuaia in our first navigation strecht, like the vast majority of the trips to the white continent: the Drake Passage. The beginning of this antarctic route will take us to go through the Antarctic Convergence watching a sky full of petrels and albatrosses.
Then we continue the trip to go to South Georgia Island. On the south coast we will go to the famous whaling station of Grytviken, being able to visit the tomb of Ernest Shakleton, who achieved the most important feat of all mankind and never surpassed by another person, crossing the South Georgia Island in 36 hours. North to south direction. Again we went through the geographic limit of the Antarctic Convergence, to begin our adventure in the Atlantic Ocean. Our first destination is the Isle of Gough, where you can observe a masterful landscape surrounded by a wildlife few views in other parts of the world. Arriving here is a privilege that few can give. The Isle of Gough is more commonly known as Gonçalo Alvares. Then in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago we try to land on Nightingale Island, which is the largest island of the archipelago, surrounded by an innumerable number of seabirds, especially watching a bird in real danger of extinction, the albatross fine beak.
In the last days of our navigation route, we will disembark in Santa Elena Islands, where we will be able to know its culture and watch different endemic plants and native birds. Here was where Napoleon Bonaparte lived his exile. Here we can dive or do snorkel, apart from surfing practise in shallow water.
Second stage of the trip (optional): We will continue navigating to our final objective: the Ascension Island. We will embark in Zodiac boats to visit the Birds´Island. Our journey ends. Those who prefere, can fly with the Royal Air Force (RAF) to Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, the other passagers can go on to Cape Verde. For passengers disembarking in Praia, rooms will be reserved in the local hotel, to store luggage until the time of going to the airport or to stay if they are going to spend more days in Cape Verde.
23 days- 22 nights
Day 1 - Ushuaia
We left in the afternoon from the port of Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego (Argentina), the southernmost city in the world, located on the banks of the Beagle Channel. The cruise will slowly move away from the coast, showing the picturesque bay and its urban landscape. The navigation runs calm throughout the night, in the direction of the Drake Passage.
Day 2 to 4 - By the sea crossing the Antarctic Convergence towards South Georgia Island
We continue our navigation route to the west, crossing the antartic convergence, watching lots of antartic and sub-antartic sea birds. The antartic convergence is also called frontal polar area in the Antartic, it is a line which defines a natural limit and it is not imposed by man, it separates the cold waters of the Antartica from the mild waters in the sub-antartic region. It divides two areas with different climates and also sea life. We hope to be lucky to be able to navigate north towards the Atlantic Ocean. On both sides of the Antarctic Convergence, we observe many species and a large number of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic seabirds.
Day 5 to 7 - South Georgia Island, Salisbury Plain: King Penguin & Wandering Albatross
These days we begin our visit to South Georgia Island. We go in search of the main colonies of king penguins of Antarctica. The end of the season is a perfect time to see the king penguins with their newborn pups. The movement of the colonies is just at this time of year, something that is noted by the great movement from the beach to the sea. The Salisbury Plain is the right point to observe this unique natural setting. The great colony of king penguins is accompanied by sea elephants and a host of young wolves of hair that surf in the waves.
On Prion Island, closed to tourism during mating season that is from late November to early January we can see wandering albatross offspring. We are also going to make time to get to know the old whaling settlement in Grytviken, where its inhabitants are currently the penguins that roam the streets. In Grytviken today we find a small museum and it is the place where the tomb of Sir Ernest Shackleton is found that is buried here with his trusted friend and companion Frank Wild. We also seek to disembark in Puerto del Oro and St Andrews Bay whose fantastic landscapes leave us perplexed and the high density of Antarctic fauna is unimaginable, although as the name of the king penguins are truly masters of the place. Finally we cannot leave the Georgias while contemplating that perfect natural work, such as the Dryglaski fjord.
The weather conditions determine which areas we visit in South Georgia and where we can carry out activities. The destinations to visit can be:
- Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay, Gold Harbor These areas not only house the three largest colonies of king penguins in South Georgia, but also three of the largest breeding beaches of Antarctic fur seals in the world. In the true sense of the word, millions of seals from Antarctica breed in southern Georgia in December and January. Only in the mid-season they reach their peak in the reproductive cycle. Watch as large wolves constantly monitor (and occasionally fight) areas where dozens of women have just given birth or are about to give birth. Watch your steps and stay cool as you walk the beaches during this time.
- Prion Island This site is closed during the beginning of the reproductive period of the wandering albatrosses. As of January, the reproductive adults have already reunited with their partners and are incubating the eggs or taking care of their chicks. Enjoy observing the gentle nature of these animals that have the greatest wingspan of any other bird in the world.
- Grytviken At this abandoned whaling station, King penguins roam its streets and the elephant seals inhabit their surroundings as if they were the owners of the place - basically because they are. Here it is possible to visit the South Georgia museum and Shackleton's tomb.
- Cooper Bay It is a small bush-covered island located southeast of San Pedro Island, in the south of the South Georgia Island, just 3 km long, north of the entrance to the Drygalski Fjord. The Cooper Channel is navigable and separates the island of the same name from San Pedro Island. A rodent-free area has been selected as a special protection area by a wide variety of seabirds such as the giant petrel, albatross, piquidorados ducks, Gentoo penguins and especially, the presence of an important colony of macaroni penguins. It is a favorable area for sailing in Zodiac boats.
Day 8 to 11 - At sea
Now, in the sea, we will enter into sub-tropical waters surrounded by sea birds and dolphins.
Day 12 - Gough Island & Quest Bay
We will try to get to Gough Island so we can go along if we have good weather conditions. Some years ago, we circunnavigated everything, except for 4 miles of a circunference of 33 miles of the island in the ship, watching an exceptional landscape and lots of wild life. We will feel really privileged for being the few visitors who can have the experience to be in the Gough Island and, particularly, for seing it so close and in really good conditions. We will expect to be lucky and repeat this unique experience with you. It is also known as Gonçalo Alvares, the origin of this islands is volcanic and its higher peak is the Edinburgh Peak which is close to the 1000 metres of altitude.
Day 13 to 16 - Tristán da Cunha
In the Tristán da Cunha archipelago we get to a settlement which is located in the west area of the main island. We will also try to disembark in Nightingale Island with millions of sea birds, in which the albatrosses thin beak, an endangered species, stresses here. We will be covered with this days just in case it is a bad weather and we can have one day to take advantage. This archipelago is a british sovereignty and it is formed by several isles, the bigger one is Tristán da Cunha, another important island is Nightingale and the rest are directly inaccessible and they are uninhabitated.
Note: We consider taking a reservation day in case of bad weather. Keep in mind that we will try to disembark, however, due to weather conditions it is not always possible. Since we started this Atlantic Odyssey Expedition in 1998 we could not land 30% of the trips in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, due to the unfavorable weather.
Day 17 to 20 - In the sea by subtropical waters
Now we enter subtropical waters surrounded by seabirds and dolphins.
Day 21 to 23 - St. Elena Island
We are going to Santa Elena Island because it is possible to anchor and it is an ideal place to stop. We are going to have many opportunities to enjoy the local culture in this island, we expect to have very good weather conditions, surrounded by endemic plants and authoctone birds. We are going to visit the place where Napoleon lived in exile. There will be many opportunities to explore the island by ourselves and we will be able to dive if we wish, doing snorkel, apart from surf. It is a place where we can find a great quantity of fishes.
Santa Elena belongs to the same territory as Ascensión Island and the Tristán da Cunha archipelago, all the volcanic islands slope steepy, where the higher peak is the Queen´s Mary with over 2.000 metres in Tristán da Cunha. The weather conditions in Santa Elena is tropical - mild thanks to the sea influence, unlike Tristán da Cunha which is less mild. In the afternoon, the cruise leaves for the second stage of the trip: Ascension Island and Praia in Cape Verde, where you can also disembark. Those who do not continue the trip disembark to take the flight back to Europe.
Second Stage: This trip can be contracted only until the 32nd day arriving at the island of Santa Helena, but the second stage can be contracted. Those who complete the trip will be transferred to the new Santa Helena airport to take the flight to Europe. The rest of the passengers who continue the second stage of the trip to Ascension Island and Cape Verde, remain on the ship. The second stage is 10 days 9 nights and connects Santa Elena with Cape Verde. The itinerary for this second stage is called: ATLANTIC ODYSSEY - FROM SANTA ELENA TO CAPE VERDE.
Map of Route
- The trip on board the ship mentioned as indicated in the itinerary.
- All meals during the trip on board the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
- All excursions and activities in Zodiac boats during the trip.
- Conference program dictated by naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition team.
- Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
- Transfer of luggage from the hotel to the ship on boarding day, in Ushuaia.
- All service and port taxes during the program.
- Understanding material prior to departure.
Services not included:
- Regular or charter air flights.
- Procedures before or after the start of the trip.
- Passport and visa expenses.
- Government arrival and departure taxes.
- Meals not included in the trip.
- Baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (highly recommended).
- Excess baggage charges and all personal items such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunications charges.
- The tip at the end of the trip for the waiters and other on-board service personnel (guidelines will be provided).