The highlights of the Antarctic expedition are: A unique opportunity in life to witness a total solar eclipse in Antarctica. On South Georgia Island, remember the legendary mountain crossing on foot of the great english navigator Ernest Shackleton. Glide through glittering icebergs ashore on your kayak adventures in Antarctica. Encounters with sea lions that protect their harem in fierce battles on South Georgia Island. Witness the construction of nests of the Adelia penguins, who sometimes steal rocks from their trusted neighbors. In true expedition style, we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you between action to see and do everything possible. This itinerary is only a guide and is subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
22 days - 21 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 Greg Mortimer 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 - We are approaching the South Shetland Islands
The fourth day we approach the South Shetland Islands and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the emotion is palpable with each of the meeting points on one of the observation platforms, on the horizon we see the first icebergs. The ocean acquires a new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and we are surrounded by the surrealist presence of floating ice sculptures. It is likely that the memory of your first great iceberg sighting remains with you throughout your life. If the weather permits, we can try our first landing in Antarctica at the end of the afternoon.
Day 5 to 9 - Antarctic Peninsula
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 Greg Mortimer 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.
Day 10 - Elephant Island
Today, if the weather permits, we set out for Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain covered with an ice sheet on the outer limits of the South Shetland. We will learn the story of Shackleton and hear how his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in an ice pack on the Weddell Sea, before he and his men boarded three open boats, spending 16 months at sea, before finally arriving at this place, tiny tip of rock and ice in the vastness of the Southern Ocean on April 14, 1916. We plan to sail beyond Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men landed more than 100 years ago. If time permits, we hope to follow the coastline six miles west to Point Wild, where the men finally camp under two of their open boats and some old tents. If the weather permits, we will try to disembark at the historic Point Wild, on Elephant Island, to pay tribute to these historic and resilient souls. Then we begin to place our ship in a privileged location for the coveted solar eclipse.
Point Wild: The feat of Elephant Island. On Elephant Island, twenty-two men who accompanied Ernest Shackleton spent four months, during much of the winter in their boats, until they were rescued by their leader, in a true feat of heroism and survival that was never seen in all the humanity. In Point Wild he survived the trans-Antarctic expedition commanded by Ernest Shackleton in 1916. It is also known by the name of his ship, as an Endurance Expedition, aimed to travel about 3,000 km between the Weddell Sea and the South Pole, something that never He could achieve. The Endurance was trapped in the ice of the Weddell Sea before reaching Vahsel Bay and despite trying to free it from the ice, it drifted in an ice block during the winter of 1915. The ice ended up crushing and sinking the ship, leaving its twenty-seven crew members stranded above an iceberg. They spent months living in makeshift camps, after traveling in lifeboats to Elephant Island, sailing 1,300 km in an open boat, the James Caird and after crossing the mountains of South Georgia Island to ask for help to rescue men. They were stranded on Elephant Island. All were rescued without a single casualty.
Day 11 - Solar eclipse in Antarctica
According to NASA, the optimal position to experience the solar eclipse is in the Weddell Sea. The eclipse is visible from the following geographical regions: Antarctica, South Africa, South Atlantic, but the entire eclipse will only be visible in Antarctica. The moment of greatest eclipse takes place on December 4 at 07:34:38 TD (Dynamic Earth Time) or (07:33:28 UT1). Historically, at the beginning of December it would be considered too early to visit the South Orkney Islands due to the presence of extensive sea ice. However, conditions have changed every year and it is possible that the Orkney of the South can be entered on December 4, 2021; The unknown makes the experience even more exciting.
The eclipse belongs to Saros 152 and is number 13 of 70 eclipses in the series. All eclipses in this series occur in the descending node of the Moon. The total solar eclipse of December 4, 2021 is preceded two weeks earlier by a partial lunar eclipse on November 20, 2021. All these eclipses take place during a single eclipse season. An eclipse season is a period during which the Sun appears close enough to one of the nodes of the Moon to allow an eclipse to occur. Each season lasts approximately 34 days and is repeated at intervals of approximately 173 days.
Day 12 to 13 - 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, or learn more about the history of Shackleton with our historian.
Day 14 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. On this expedition, we will make a special stop at King Haakon Bay to leave our mountaineers to begin their 3-day journey through South Georgia Island.
A sample of some of the places where we can disembark on South Georgia Island include:
Day 18 to 19 - At sea
During the trip from South Georgia Island to the Falkland Islands, 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.
Day 20 - 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 21 - At sea
You can choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia by editing your photos, enjoying the facilities on board or listening to an informative conference. Celebrate the end of an unforgettable trip with new friends at a special farewell dinner of the captain.
Day 22 - Disembarkation in Ushuaia
During the morning, we disembarked at the dock of the port of the city of Ushuaia. Goodbye to your expedition team and transfer to the Ushuaia airport.
Map of Route
- 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