20 days - 19 nights
Day 1 - Departure from the port of Ushuaia
Boarding takes place in the afternoon, in 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 ship will slowly drift away from the shore, showing the picturesque bay and its urban panorama. Sailing runs smoothly through the night, sailing across the sea toward the Drake Passage.
Day 2 to 3 - At sea
Over the course of 2 days, the ship travels through the Drake Passage, the shortest and busiest sea route between the American continent and the Antarctic Peninsula. When the Antarctic convergence is reached, a natural barrier where the warm currents of the north mix with the cold waters coming from the south determining a wide biological diversity, numerous subantarctic species are appreciated.
In this area it is very likely to see the magnificent wandering albatross, the largest bird that flies over these seas and can measure up to 3.5m in wingspan; the gray-headed albatross, the light-mantled dark albatross and the black-browed albatross, the Cape pigeons and the wilson, blue and antarctic petrels in addition to the southern fulmar or silver petrel. Very close to the South Shetland Islands, the first icebergs are glimpsed to indicate arrival in Antarctica. Only in the afternoon of the third day you can see the South Shetland Islands, which are punished by the wind and are usually covered by the mist itself. We can observe a great variety of flora, such as mosses, lichens and flowering herbs.
Day 4 to 6/7 - Entering Antarctica
This extended trip gives you the opportunity to further navigate the icy shoreline of the western Antarctic Peninsula. In the Gerlache Strait there are several opportunities for large landings where you can step on the Antarctic continent, surrounded by an epic landscape of alpine peaks and giant glaciers that are born at sea level. Gentoo penguins, leopard seals, Weddell seals, humpback whales, and minke whales are often seen here.
The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist, but nonetheless offer many subtle pleasures. A wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels) live here. On Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune's bellows and enters the flooded caldera. If you can land here, you'll find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of Cape Petrels. Here you can also see a series of seagulls, brown skuas, southern polar skuas and Antarctic terns.
If the ice allows it, we sail towards the Weddell Sea. Here colossal tabular icebergs announce their arrival on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We can visit Brown Bluff, located in the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound, where we could have a chance to set foot on the continent. Paulet Island, with its large population of Adelie penguins, is another possible stop.
Day 7/8 to 8/9 - East of the Eclipse
Giant icebergs and a good chance whale watching liven up this segment of the trip. Also, the best opportunity to spot antarctic petrels is here. Depending on the ice and weather conditions, the objective is to venture out onto the ice to find the best possible position to view the solar eclipse.
Day 9/10 - Weddell Sea: Solar Eclipse: December 4th
In the Weddell Sea we observed the total solar eclipse very early in the morning on December 4. The ship is positioned in the center of the moon's shadow and, if possible, at some distance on the drifting ice of the Scottish Sea. The edge of the ice will be approximately 60 ° S, 41 ° W.Some coordinates for the path of the moon's shadow:
Day 10/11 - Northward
There may be sea ice on this route, and at the edge of the ice some southern polar skuas and snow petrels could join the other seabirds that drag the ship north.
Day 11/12 to 14 - South Georgia Island
We will arrive at the South Georgia Islands, where we must visit Elsehul Bay, with its active breeding of beach seals, and then continue to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, the Golden Harbor (Gold Harbor) and Cooper Bay will give you a great opportunity to see a large colony of Macaroni penguins, gray-headed albatrosses, dark albatrosses, antarctic pigeons and even the introduction of a non-native animal such as the reindeer in the Drygalski Fjord.
One of the places we plan to visit is Cooper Bay, chosen by wandering albatrosses to nest and raise their chicks. In Fortuna Bay we will try to carry out the steps that the mythical British explorer Ernest Shackleton will carry out and continue the journey to Stromness Bay. At this point and in Grytviken the ruins of the abandoned whalers' village, now inhabited by king penguins and seals that roam streets and buildings, still remain. The Grytviken Whaling History Museum and the adjoining Shackleton Tomb are other treasures from the past that we will visit.
Weather conditions will determine the areas that we can visit in South Georgia and where we can carry out activities. The destinations to visit can be:
- 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.
- 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 Cooper Island is a small island located southeast of San Pedro Island (South Georgia). It is located on the northern sector of the entrance to the Drygalski Fjord. The Cooper Canal that is navigable separates Cooper Island from San Pedro Island. There is a tiny bay with the same name in the south-west direction of Cape Vahsel. The island is covered in bushes. Cooper Island was discovered by a British expedition under the command of James Cook in 1775 and is named after Lieutenant Robert Palliser Cooper, an officer who was aboard the expedition. We sailed in Zodiac boats through Cooper Bay to see a large colony of macarroni penguins. Numerous elephant and sea lions are found on the beach, while the majestic light-mantled albatross can be seen gliding gracefully.
Day 15 to 16 - From South Georgia, Antarctic Convergence
We will navigate on the high seas again, in our way from 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 17 - Port Stanley
We will walk through the capital of the Falkland Islands, Port Stanley, we can experience the culture of the inhabitants of the Falklands, which has some south american characteristics as well as Victorian charm, such as the color of their houses or the neatness of their gardens or stylish bars English. In Stanley and the surrounding area, we can see a significant number of beached ships dating back a century. The village museum is small but has interesting things to see as the history of the first settlements.
Stanley, is located in the Soledad Island and continues being known for the British by its old name of Port Stanley and, for the Argentineans, like Puerto Argentino. It is currently the administrative center of the archipelago. They live around 2500 people (three quarters of the total population of the islands). Originally, Stanley was a small town, which since the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, grew thanks to the importance it had in repairing the sailboats that sailed to Cape Horn.
Day 18 - Falkland Islands
On the third day we will arrive to the Falkland Islands with the purpose of dedicating all day on the west side of the archipelago, which offers an abundant wildlife, where not only observe different species of birds but also you can see southern dolphins. We visited 2 islands: Isla del Rosario and Isla Trinidad. We will hike along the shores of Carcass Island, where we will see Magellanic and Gentoo penguins, as well as having an encounter with birds and herons at night. On the Island of Saunders we can see Rockhopper Penguins, black-faced albatross and King cormorants.
During this part of the trip you can visit the following places:
- Carcass Island (Isla del Rosario) This island is characterized by an abundance of birds, thanks to the fact that there are no rodents, we can see Magellanic penguins and Gentoo penguins, shorebirds and passerines. We find animals such as the common martinete, the witch heron, as well as seals and penguins. In Puerto Patterson there are different exotic plants, such as fuchsia, canine rose and dark lupine. The name in English of the island is in honor to the ship HMS Carcass pertaining to the British navy, that crossed the island in 1766.
- Saunders Island (isla Trinidad) In this island of 120 km ² that is to the north of the Great Malvina Island, it is characterized by the ovine production, we see black-browed albatross, imperial cormorants and yellow-crowned penguins, in less proportion, we can get to find king penguins, magellanic and of papúa.
Day 19 - 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 20 - Ushuaia
We will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning and we will disembark.
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.
- 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).