Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic Islands
M/V Plancius - M/V Ortelius - M/V Hondius
From Puerto Madryn

This cruise goes to the Sub-Antarctic Islands and the white continent but starting from Puerto Madryn, near the Peninsula of Valdés, breeding zone of the Southern Right Whale. The itinerary is very similar to the one that sails from the port of Ushuaia. The difference is in the first nights that we go to the first sub-Antarctic island, the Falkland Islands. Then we expect the South Georgia Island and the South Orkney Island, then cross the Weddell Sea to discover the Antarctic Peninsula reaching as far south as possible, an advantage that gives us a program of more than 20 days of navigation.

Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic Islands in the M/V Plancius - M/V Ortelius - M/V Hondius

Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic Islands in the M/V Plancius - M/V Ortelius - M/V Hondius


The Antarctic, Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Orkney Islands program is one of the most interesting routes to Antarctica that exist in this number of days, since it is not limited to knowing the Antarctic Peninsula, but in the days before the landing on the white continent, we visit the famous Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Orkney that in the classic 10-day trips you cannot discover. Instead of leaving Ushuaia, we start from a starting point further north, from Puerto Madryn, in the province of Chubut, next to the Golfo Nuevo in the Peninsula Valdés.

The 21-day departure is the longest and sails from Puerto Madryn, unlike the rest of the departures. The second and third day we are sailing in the sea towards the Falkland Islands. The fourth and fifth day is dedicated to visiting the first sub-Antarctic islands. The sixth and seventh day are destined to cross the Antarctic Convergence. On the eighth day we visited the second sub-Antarctic island: The South Georgia Islands, where we stayed for 4 days. On the 12th again at sea towards the Orkney Islands of the South, which we dedicate on the 13th. Then we move on to the Antarctic Peninsula that we stay for several days from 15 to 18. Finally we begin the return during the 19th and 20th to arrive to Ushuaia on the 21st.

21 days - 20 nights

Day 1 - Puerto Madryn

We embark in the afternoon in Puerto Madryn to begin the navigation route that takes us to the Falkland Islands. The New Gulf and the Valdés Peninsula are known for the sighting of Southern Right Whale. In the month of November they begin to emigrate to Antarctica, if we have luckily we can see some in the open sea.

Day 2 to 3 - Sailing along with albatrosses and petrels.

In the sea, in the west side, several species of albatrosses and petrels, such as the Diving Petrel, will follow the ship. We go south towards the Falkland Islands.

Day 4 - Falkland Islands

We disembarked in the western region of the Falkland Islands. If the weather is mild we go to Steeple Jason Island, called the Wild West Island. We can observe the densest black eyebrow albatross colony on the planet, as they reach more than 100,000 population albatrosses. Another option is to make a trekking along the coast of the Remolinos Island (Carcass Island), being able to spot papua and magallanes penguins, and shorebirds. On Trinidad Island (Saunders Island) it is very likely to see the magnificent black-browed albatross, imperial cormorants and yellow plume penguins that are looking for this place for reproduction. There is a high possibility of observing king penguins on the island.

Some of the places you can visit include:

  • Steeple Jason (Wild West Island) On this island there is the largest black-browed albatross colony on earth, with more than 100 thousand birds, it is a wild island and practically not visited by tourism due to strong winds and waves. We depend on the weather conditions when arriving in this region. In Spanish it is known as the Wild Island of the West and is located northwest of the Falkland Islands archipelago, integrating the Los Salvajes Islands and is smaller in area than the eastern island Wild East. Until the end of the 20th century it was used for fattening sheep and there is a research station that was created at the beginning of the 21st century to protect the native fauna.
  • Carcass Island (Rosario Island) It is one of the islands that make up the Falklands archipelago, located north of San Francisco de Paula Bay and west of Trinidad Island. We find high mountains such as the Stanley & Bing mountains that exceed 300 meters of altitude. Normally it disembarks in Leopardo beach and is characterized by the great amount of dunes and for being the most forested area of the Falkland Islands, being able to see the Monterey cypress that is an endemic species, next to grasses grasses like tussoks. This island is abundant in both sub-Antarctic birds, both beach and passerine, since there are no rodents, inhabited by the common martinete, witch heron, black swirl, seals, magellanic and papua penguins. The garden of Puerto Patterson is covered with exotic plant species, such as fuchsia, blue lupine and canine rose.
  • Saunders Island (Trinidad Island) It is one of the islands of the Falklands archipelago, located northwest of the Gran Malvina island and north of the San Francisco de Paula bay. It has an area of 120 km² and is currently used for sheep farming. In this area we can see black-browed albatross nests, imperial cormorants, yellow plume penguins, king penguins, Magellanic and Papua penguins.

Day 5 - The capital of the Falkland Islands

We walk through the capital of Malvinas: Port Stanley, being able to have contact with the malvinense culture, mixture of victorian styles and south american influence; Colorful houses, perfectly maintained gardens, and bars with the classic english style. In the capital you can see ships stranded with more than a century, they are the true reflection of the adversities that were in the nineteenth century. You can visit a museum that shows the initial settlements until the war 1982. With a population close to 2,500 inhabitants, it is a quiet city that you can walk freely. Tickets to the different attractions are not included.

Day 6 to 7 - South Georgia, Antarctic Convergence

We will navigate on the high seas again, in our way to South Georgia, we will cross the Antartic Convergence. We will enter into antartic waters, the temperature will descend 10º C approximately in a very few hours. Closer to the Convergence, we will see a great quantity of birds, next to the ship which will take part of the navigations, as if they were members of the ship, There will be many species, such as albatrosses, petrels, skuas, seagulls, among other bird species.

Day 8 to 11 - South Georgia Island

Afternoon we disembarked on South Georgia Island. To start with our planned activities we depend on the weather. The places that we can visit can be the Prion Island, since between November 20 and January 7 it is closed to tourists because it is the breeding season of wandering albatrosses. We will also visit the Salisbury plain, St. Andrews Bay and the Gold Harbor, habitat of the largest king penguin colonies in the South Georgia. But on these beaches we find not only the king penguin, but also the largest reserve of the southern elephant seal. This is the reproductive season of these species, being at the peak of their reproduction cycle. It is normal to see the show of alpha males with an approximate weight of 4,000 kg that protect their harem, with areas of females that ended their mating or on the verge of calving. These beaches are supersaturated with elephant seals.

In Fortuna Bay we see penguins and seals on their beaches. Always depending on the weather we can follow the route that Ernest Shackleton made to get to Stromness to survive and save his crew, arriving at the whaling station. In Gryitviken we are going to visit a currently abandoned whaling station where today the King penguins have appropriated the place, as well as the elephant seals. We visited the Museum of the History of indiscriminate whaling and the tomb of Ernest Shackleton, next to the museum.

Some of the places you can visit include:

  • Prion Island We take this opportunity to visit this island during the period that does not reproduce the wandering albatross, between the end of November and the beginning of January. The young of the summer season prepare to feather and adults begin to look for their partners to return to the sea. It is a protected area because it is free of rodents, thanks to this, the breeding of wandering albatrosses proliferates. There is a promenade with two observation platforms that were made not to wear down the access ravine and also not to trample the prion burrows. They also inhabit the wandering albatross, the cachirlas and petrels.
  • Salisbury Plain, St. Andrew’s Bay, Port Gold In these regions live the most important colonies of king penguins and the presence of elephant seals, with 4,000 kg alpha males controlling the territory where the females are giving birth or have already given birth. The stage is completed by two-haired wolves that are also in the breeding season, between December and January.
  • Fortuna Bay It is located between Cape Best and Punta Robertson, its name is due to the Argentine whaling ship: El Fortuna, which collaborated in the creation of the first whaling station in Grytviken, in 1905. The New Fortuna Port called Ocean Harbor is 35 kilometers away. southeast of the bay.
  • Grytviken Grytviken in swedish means cove of pots. The Swedish Andersson expeditionary who arrived in this area with his Antarctic ship in 1902 baptized this area with that name for the large number of pots that were used for the purpose of moving the fat from the solid state to the liquid state and boiling the seal oil and wolves. In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins and sea elephants are the owners of the entire territory. We visited the South Georgia Museum and Shackleton's Tomb. the South Georgia Museum is run by five people who reside at the base of the British Antarctic Survey located in King Edward Point (part of Grytviken). In 1921 Shackleton would make his last Antarctic trip, he arrived at the port of Grytviken but the adverse weather conditions forced him to wait, a month after he arrived, he suffered a heart attack at 42 (the night of January 5, 1922). His wife Emily complied with Ernest's request, that he be buried in South Georgia, his body was buried in the Grytviken cemetery prior to the funeral in the Norwegian Lutheran church. The granite tombstone was erected in 1928.
  • Day 12 - Navigating by the sea.

    We will continue navigating by the sea, where the ship is followed again by a crowd of sea birds. In some point, we will find frozen sea and it is the edge of the ice where we will able to watch some species, like the MacCormick Skua, Snow Petrel and the evasive Emperor Penguin.

    Day 13 - Orcadas Station, Laurie Island

    Our next objective will be visiting the Orcadas station, an Argentinian base located in the South Orcadas Islands. The base personal is very welcoming and they will show us the facilities, very close to them, there is a huge colony south petrels and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the glaciers which surround us. When we arrive to the Orcadas, we will anchor in Laurie Island. We can go to Cormoran Point to watch an important colony of Adelia penguins. If the landing on Laurie Island was impossible due to weather conditions, we can go as far as Signy Cove to descend on Signy Island.

    Day 14 - Navigating by the sea.

    We will continue navigating by the sea, where the ship is followed again by a crowd of sea birds. In some point, we will find frozen sea and it is the edge of the ice where we will able to watch some species, like the MacCormick Skua, Snow Petrel and the evasive Emperor Penguin.

    Day 15 to 18 - Weddell Sea, Paulet Island, Deception Island, Neko Port

    The ship moves through the Weddell Sea through ice blocks that drift across the Antarctic Strait. The spectacular tabular icebergs indicate the gateway to the eastern sector of the Antarctic Peninsula. The place chosen to step on Antarctic soil is Brown Bluff, a dark rock formation that serves as a refuge for a large colony of Adélie penguins. If the good weather accompanies the navigation, we will continue walking through the waters of the Weddell. The idea is to visit Charlotte Bay, located on the west coast of the land of Grahan, which was discovered by the Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache during his expedition between 1897 and 1899. The name corresponds to the one promised to the second in command of the crew, the hydrographer Georges Lecointe. This picturesque bay is surrounded by mountains, with nunataks that emerge from the icy surface. Among the icebergs that usually abound on the coast, you can see several groups of seals, cook gulls, skuas, cormorants and penguins. Another corner to know is Wilhelmina Bay on the Arctowski peninsula, where we can admire the rugged mountains covered with ice.

    In Deception Island, we will try to dock in Baily Head, habitat where there is a hundred thousand colony of Chistrap penguins. Deception is a crater sub-channel which opens to the sea, creating a natural port for the embarkation. Here we will find hot springs, an abandoned whaler station, thousands of pigeons, dominican seagulls, polar skuas and bifurcate tail chestnut and seagulls of the Antartica. We will watch petrel Wilson´s Storm nests and black belly Storm Petrels in the whaler station ruins in the Whalers´ Bay. For those persons who enjoy walking, it can be done by Baily Head to the top of the crater in Whalers´Bay to visit the remains of Hektor station, while our brave ships get into the crater through the espectacular Neptune´s Bellow in the circle of Deception Island.

    In the afternoon, we can descend to Half Moon Island, where we can watch Weddell elephants and seals, as well as Chinstrap penguins, Blue eyes Shags, Wilson´s Storm petrels, Kelp seagulls, Snowy Sheatbills, antartic bifurcate tail seagulls and antartic chestnut skuas. In our way to the west, we will navigate to Cuverville Island, a small and rainy island, located between mountains of the Antartic Peninsula. There is a big colony of Gentoo penguins and breeding couples of chestnuts skuas. We expect the time and weather conditions are favorable so we can navigate beyond the south until Neko Port in Andyord Bay and Paradise Bay with the multicoloured icebergs and deep cut fjords, while we have the opportunity to watch big whales. We will have the chance to navigate in zodiac crossing between the icebergs and advance into the fjords.

    Day 19 to 20 - Drake Passage

    In our way to the north, we will followed again by many species of sea birds, crossing the Sea and Drake Passage.

    Day 21 - Ushuaia

    We will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and we will disembark.

    Map of Route

     Antarctica and Sub-Antarctic Islands in the M/V Plancius - M/V Ortelius - M/V Hondius


    Services included:
    • 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.
    • Group transfer with prior notice from the ship to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarking).
    • All service and port taxes during the program.
    • Informative reading material before embarking.
    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).

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