Antarctic-Atlantic Odyssey
from Ushuaia to Cape Verde
aboard the M/V Orfelius - M/V Hondius

The most complete trip of the ANTARCTIC-ATLANTIC ODYSSEY itineraries, because it visits the Antarctic Peninsula reaching South Georgia Island and then advances north towards the Atlantic Ocean, reaching Ascension Island and Saint Helena (same as the other trip of Antarctic-Atlantic Odyssey) but this route advances to Cape Verde on a trip of more than 40 days.

Antarctic-Atlantic Odyssey from Ushuaia to Cape Verde
aboard the M/V Orfelius - M/V Hondius

Antarctic-Atlantic Odyssey from Ushuaia to Cape Verde <br>aboard the M/V Orfelius - M/V Hondius

We begin the tour in the port of the Ushuaia City on the Tierra del Fuego Big Island. We left for Antarctica on a first trip, after 10 days of navigation (Classic Antarctica in 10 days on the M/V Hondius) we returned to Ushuia to begin our second stage of the trip. This new tour will take us to South Georgia Island and then we head north sailing through the Atlantic Ocean to visit Ascension Island, Saint Helena and end the cruise in Cape Verde.

This is a very special itinerary because it not only covers the Antarctic Peninsula but also advances along the coasts of Africa, sailing through the islands of the Atlantic Ocean. The journey begins in Ushuaia, like the vast majority of trips to the white continent, in our first navigation leg: the Drake Passage. The beginning of the Antarctic route takes us to pass the Antarctic Convergence enjoying a complete sighting of petrels and albatrosses. We visited the Antarctic Peninsula.

Then we continued 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 humanity and never surpassed by another person, by crossing the South Georgia Islands in 36 hours, north to south direction. Once again we pass through the geographical limit of the Antarctic Convergence, to begin our adventure in the Atlantic Ocean. Our first destination is Gough Island, where you can see a masterful landscape surrounded by wildlife rarely seen in other parts of the world. Getting here is a privilege that few can afford. Gough Island is more commonly known as Gonçalo Alvares. Then in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago we tried to disembark on Nightingale Island, the largest island in the archipelago, surrounded by an innumerable amount of seabirds, especially observing a bird in real danger of extinction, the fine-billed albatross.

In the last days of our navigation route we disembark on Santa Elena Island, to learn about the culture of the place and observe different endemic plants and native birds. Here Napoleon Bonaparte lived his exile. We can dive or snorkel, as well as surf in shallow waters. Unlike the ANTARCTIC-ATLANTIC ODYSSEY CRUISE IN 33 DAYS , this itinerary reaches CAPE VERDE, being the longest of all the trips.

43 days - 42 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 3 - Drake Passage

Throughout 2 days, the ship moves through the Drake Passage, the shortest and most agitated sea route between the American continent and the Antarctic Peninsula. When we approach the Antarctic convergence, a natural barrier where the warm currents of the north are mixed with the cold waters coming from the south determining a wide biological diversity, we will be able to observe numerous sub-antarctic species.

In this area it is very likely to spot the magnificent wandering albatross, the largest bird that overflies these seas and can measure up to 3.5 meters long, the gray-headed albatross, the light-mantled dark albatross and the black-browed albatross, wilson petrels, blue petrels and antarctic petrels in addition to the southern fulmar or silver petrel. We can not fail to mention the Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins. Very close to the South Shetland Islands, you can see the first icebergs that indicate arrival in Antarctica. On the afternoon of the third day you can see the South Shetland Islands, punished by the wind and usually covered by the fog itself. We can observe a great variety of flora, such as mosses, lichens and herbs with flowers.

Day 4 to 7 - Entering Antarctica

The cruise heads directly to the "Upper Antarctic", leaving behind the Melchior Islands and the Schollaert channel, between the Brabant and Anvers islands. In the small and steep Cuverville Island, sheltered by the mountainous chain of the Antarctic Peninsula and on Danco Island, there is a populated colony of Papua penguins with pairs of brown skuas that choose this territory to breed. If you disembark on the coast of Danco, you can see Chinstrap penguins as well as crabeater seals and Weddell seals.

Puerto Neko is the right place to set foot on the white continent, admiring the spectacular setting of incredible glaciers that rise at sea level. A zodiac ride invites you to be fascinated by the beauty of the landscape surrounded by snowy mountains. Paradise Bay, another of the amazing corners of the mainland, abound with beautiful icebergs and deep fjords, which thanks to the Zodiac boats can surround you and observe up close and even surprised with the curious presence of the Humpback and Minke whales that frequent the area. The itinerary continues along the Lemaire Channel, a wonderful step that takes us to the Pleneau and Peterman Islands, where the Adélie penguins and blue-eyed cormorants live. They are also marine environments frequented by the Humpback and Minke whales.

Some of the places you can visit include:

  • Danco Island On this island we can see the Papua penguins that nest in this area, but they are not alone, we also see Weddell seals and crabeater seals that inhabit the island.
  • Port Neko The landscape captivates us, it's really epic, like the fantastic big glaciers, which are covered with snow and look like wind sculpted sculptures. In Port Neko you can land with Zodiac boats near the alpine mountains.
  • Paradise Bay In this bay we can sail in the Zodiac boats and have good chances of seeing humpback whales and minke whales.
  • Pléneau & Peterman Islands - Puerto Charcot If the Lemaire channel is free of ice, depending on the weather conditions we will navigate through this channel to witness Adélie penguins, blue-eyed cormorants and leopard seals. As in Bahía Paraíso, in these islands you can see humpback whales and minke. You can get to visit Puerto Charcot on Booth Island, also called Wandel, on the Wilhelm archipelago, it is an island with high mountains, like Mount Wandel, almost 1,000 meters high. Puerto Charcot or rather Ensenada Charcot is a bay on the island mentioned above. In spite of being a bay protected by a mountain, it receives the strong winds and the swell of the sea and the iceberg. In this place lives a colony of gentoo penguins, Chinstrap penguins and cormorants, with the presence of Wedell seals and marine seals.
  • Port Lockroy Once we crossed the Neumayer Canal, we visited the historic English base, which is currently a museum and functions as a post office, located on Goudier Island. Activities are planned near the island, at Jougla Point, to spot gentoo penguins and blue-eyed cormorants. This area is ideal for kayaking and also for camping, and if conditions allow you can go trekking with snowshoes along the coast of the island.
  • Guillermina Bay & Guvernøren Arriving to Guillermina Bay has a specific goal: The encounter with humpback whales. We sailed with the Zodiac boats to reach the place where the sinking of the Guvernøren occurred, a whaling ship that caught fire in the early twentieth century in 1915. We see more marine life in the vicinity of the Melchior Islands, in a landscape full of icebergs, to spot whales, leopard seals and crabeater seals.

Day 8 to 9 - Sailing back to Ushuaia

While the ship is heading for the passage of Drake on the way back to the American continent, different species of birds such as petrels and albatrosses, seagulls and cormorants fly over the sea and accompany the march.

Day 10 - Arrival to the port of Ushuaia

The ship reaches the port of Ushuaia early in the morning, to disembark and terminate the expedition to Antarctica. Those who continue the expedition to South Georgia Island and then to the Atlantic Ocean to the Island of St. Helena, will remain on the ship.

Note: This itinerary until the 10th is the Classic Antarctica trip of the MV Hondius, which is combined from the 11th with the Atlantic Odyssey expedition. All the itineraries described are referential. The programs can be changed depending on the weather conditions and the ice in the area, as well as the accessibility to make the landings and the opportunity to observe the local wildlife. The final route will be determined by the captain of the expedition. Flexibility is the fundamental principle to enjoy the trip to Antarctica.

Day 10 - Start of the second part of the trip

We leave from the port of Ushuaia to undertake the expedition to South Georgia Island and then towards the Atlantic Ocean towards the Island of Saint Helena.

Day 11 to 13 - 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 14 to 16 - 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.
  • 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.
  • Port Moltke Port Moltke is located in Royal Bay (in Spanish it is called Bahía Paz), this picturesque place gives you the opportunity to observe an important colony of king penguins that chose this beautiful place as their natural habitat. Paz Bay is between Cape Charlotte and Harcourt, in the southeast of San Pedro Island, which makes up the South Georgia Islands archipelago. Not only do king penguins live there, we also find gentoo penguins and imperial cormorants. James Cook discovered said bay in 1775, the port is named after the German ship SMS Moltke that in 1882 entered San Pedro Island on an expedition corresponding to the International Polar Year.

Day 17 to 21 - At sea

Now, in the sea, we will enter into sub-tropical waters surrounded by sea birds and dolphins.

Day 22 - 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 23 to 26 - 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 27 to 30 - In the sea by subtropical waters

Now we enter subtropical waters surrounded by seabirds and dolphins.

Day 31 to 33 - 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.

Day 33 - From St. Helena Island to Ascensión Island

We begin the trip in the Jamestown City, with a privileged location and its english culture and an ideal tropical climate and surrounded by endemic birds typical of the volcanic island. You can get to know the Longwood house, where Napoleon died in 1821, you can also ascend the 699 steps of Jacob's ladder. If we have more time you can go for walks in the city or snorkel with tropical and subtropical fish.

It is one of the most remote inhabited islands on earth and though is known for hosting Napoleon when he was exiled, living his last years of life, this island keeps interest. In 1502 Joao da Nova traveled back to Portugal on a mission to the Portuguese crown, discovered this volcanic island and put Helena by Helena de Constantinopla. It is located 2,789 miles from the West African coastat the level of Angola. It is a desolate place excessively quiet and full of friendly people who greet us with a smile. Unlike Tristan da Cunha St. Helena Island has a good anchorage and accessible place to land ashore. On the island we will have several opportunities to enjoy the local culture, pleasant climate, endemic plants and birds. We will visit the place where Napoleon lived in exile. There is also the chance to explore the island in particular.

Day 34 to 35 - By the Mesoatlantic Dorsal

We sail along the mesoatlantic dorsal, the underwater mountain range that runs about 16,000 kilometers (10,000 miles) from the Arctic Ocean to almost the southern tip of Africa.

What is the mesoatlantic dorsal? It is an underwater boundary between tectonic plates that extends along the Atlantic Ocean, in other words, it is a mountain range below the sea. In the north the plates of North America are separated with the plate of Europe and in the south the plate of South America with the plate of Africa. The dorsal goes from Greenland to Bouvet in the South Atlantic. Despite being below water, it has elevations above sea level, such as Iceland.

Day 36 to 37 - Towards Ascension Island

Today we arrive at Ascension Island, it is a volcanic island with a moist soil rich in vegetation, with forty-four asleep but latent craters (not dead). We spot an important colony of Sooty Tern, also called a dark tern, of more than 1 million breeding pairs, known as Tern, is typical of the tropical region of Ecuador, very characteristic of Polynesia. We will trek on the Island, whose highest mountain measures about 900 meters, is the Green Mountain. It is possible to visit the coast since in its beaches you can see green turtles.

Ascension is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, midway between America and Africa, 1,287 km northwest of St. Helena. There are small islands that complement such as Boatswain Bird Island as and Bird Rock to the east, the rock Tartar in the West and White Rocks to the south. It is not habited by Indians, its roughly 1,000 people are the vast majority coming from the neighboring island of St. Helena and the rest is made up of English and American. The most important places, are: Georgetown, harbor and capital of Island; Cat Hill is the American military base, Traveller's Hill is the residence of the people working in the Royal Air Force and Two Boats Village where the upper class society lives. The rural area is located on Green Mountain.

Day 38 to 42 - For Ecuador

Navigating in the direction of Ecuador, to cross it, during the trip we are witnessing how the birds that go north are migrating in spring, such is the case of the Arctic terns and long-tailed skuas or arctic seagulls.

Day 43 - Praia, Cape Verde

In the early morning we will arrive to Praia and the estimated time of disembarkation will be around 9:00 PM. Once landed the Antarctic-Atlantic expedition to remote locations of our planet earth will end, we live on a very unique and private experience, as very few people were able to discover these almost virgin and remote destinations in the daily world in which dwell the vast majority of human beings.

Praia is the capital of the islands of Cape Verde and the largest population, about 125,000 inhabitants. It is a major export port for coffee, sugar cane and tropical fruits. Charles Darwin visited Praia on his journey with MS Beagle, he dazzled with tropical vegetation and tasted the first bananas in his life. Its colonial monuments are in the Praca Alexandre Albuquerque, this is a beautiful square in the old town. Outsands the Presidential Palace dating from the nineteenth century Igreja Nossa Senhora da Graca (church) and the Palace of Culture. A panoramic view of the bay and Ilheu Santa Maria is a tiny rock where centuries ago worked a leprosarium, is admire from typical fort of the city. We found an active Fruits and Vegetables Market where you can buy local products of the island, such as bananas.

Those who take the night flight can enjoy an excursion in Praia de Sao Tiago. You can visit Cidade Velha, an exquisite town marked by history. At the top of the hill stands a huge fortress, built to deter english pirates at the time that the Spanish and Portuguese crowns were united and ruled over these colonies. At that time, the islands were easy targets for privateers like Drake and Raleigh. You can also see the ruins of the Cathedral, the oldest Catholic church in the Tropics, and the site where the slave trade post worked, in the main square. The town has a lush environment with sugarcane plantations, which are the input for the manufacture of local rum, and also serves as a habitat for several bird species. During the walk you can enjoy the musical culture (folklore) of the island that invites to be heard in each bar next to a glass of rum.

Map of Route

 Antarctic-Atlantic Odyssey from Ushuaia to Cape Verde <br>aboard the M/V Orfelius - M/V Hondius


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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