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 to 5 - 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.
- West Point Island (Isla Remolinos) We disembark in a small cove, we can walk through the tussac grass and in an abundant breeding colony of black-browed albatrosses where they live next to rockhopper penguins. It is located in the northwest area of the Gran Malvina Island, formerly called Isla de los Albatros, it has a surface of 15 km2 and Cerro Miseria is the highest on the island with 370 meters.
- Grave Cove Nesting gentoo penguins abound, there are excellent hiking opportunities due to the hills, with a chance to enjoy the scenery and wildlife the islands have to offer. The cove is located to the southeast of Remolinos Island, surrounded by cliffs and with white sand beaches. In this cove we find a wide variety of birds such as the Crested Duck, the Malvinas Steam Duck, the Highland Goose and the Red-headed Goose. There is a black-browed albatross colony and there are 3 species of penguins: Rockhopper penguins, Magellanic penguins, and Gentoo penguins. Birdlife International has recognized Grave Cove as a special area for bird watching in the Falkland Islands.
Day 8 to 15 - 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 15 - South Georgia Island
We will get to South Georgia Island, where we must visit Elsehuel Bay, with its active seal raising and then, go on to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, the Gold Harbour and Cooper Bay will give you the great opportunity to see many beautiful landscapes and wild life, such as sea elephants, Papua penguins, King penguins and Macaroni penguins, Grey Head penguins, dark albatrosses, antartic pigeons and even the introduction of a non native animal as the reindeer in the Drygalski Fjord.
One of the corners that we plan to visit is Prion Island, chosen by the wandering albatrosses to nest and raise their chicks. In Fortuna bay we will try to trace the steps that the legendary British explorer Ernest Shackleton made and continue the journey to Stromness Bay. At this point and in Grytviken, the ruins of the abandoned whaling village, now inhabited by king penguins and seals that roam streets and buildings, still remain. The museum of whaling history of Grytviken and the adjacent grave of Shackleton, are other treasures of the past that we will visit.
The weather conditions determine which areas we visit in South Georgia and where we can carry out activities. The destinations to visit can be:
- 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.
- 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.
- Fortuna Bay It is a bay with a length of 5,000 meters and 1,600 meters wide, which is located between Cape Best and Punta Robertson, very close to Mount Atherton on the north coast of San Pedro Island. Its name is in honor of the whaling ship of argentine origin: El Fortuna, which was one of the ships that worked at the Grytviken whaling station, on South Georgia Island in 1905. Nearby is Ocean Harbor (Puerto Nueva Fortuna). Its beaches are packed with penguins and seals. We can get to make the final route that Ernest Shackleton did to go to the whaling station of Stromness.
- Leith Harbour, Stromness, Husvik These sites remind us of the scale of the whaling industry in the early 20th century. Elephants and sea lions breed and move here. Gentoo penguins also occupy landing sites. Antarctic prions and diving petrels can be seen, especially in the Husvik area. Port Leith was the largest whaling station in Stromness Bay, it is located on the northeast coast of San Pedro Island that operated from 1909 to 1964. Many whaling stations operated over Stromness Bay, in addition to Port Leith, Husvik operated , Stromness. Husvik was one of the 3 stations in the bay. The three whaling stations: Husvik, Stromness and Leith, were connected along the beach. At the time the three were operating, Stromness and Husvik employees went to Port Leith to watch movies.
- 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.
- Cobblers Cove (Ensenada Agradable), Godthul At Cobblers Cove we go to Rookery Point to see macaroni penguins. Light-mantled sooty albatrosses nest along the shoreline, and you can also see giant petrels. Godthul (Norwegian "good cove") was named after Norwegian whalers and seal hunters, and remains of bones can still be found along the coast. The beaches are home to the gentoo penguins. Cobblers Cove is a cove found upon entering Godthul. Bahía Godthul or Bahía del Buen Arroyo, located on the northwest coast of San Pedro Island, operated as a port for Norwegian-flagged whaling companies.
- Royal Bay (Moltke Harbour, Will Pint & Brisbane Point) Moltke's port at Royal Bay was named after the German International Polar Year Expedition in 1882 and some of the remains of their dwellings are still visible. The landscape of Royal Bay is beautiful dark sandy beaches, followed by the green colors of the bush and finally dominated by the Ross glacier covered in snow and ice. Royal Bay is probably the windiest place. Approximately 30,000 pairs of king penguins live here.
- Cooper Bay It offers the largest population of chinstrap and gentoo penguins, and there are also macaroni penguins. Antarctic terns, white-chinned petrels, blue-eyed fluff, and light-mantled sooty albatross can also be seen.
- Drygalski Fjord It offers spectacular scenery and landscapes. It is a bay located south of San Pedro Island. The fjord is entered through the Larsen Strait, where the Nattriss rock is located.
- Isla Annenkov Passing through the Pickersgill Islands we arrive at the rarely visited Annenkov Island, first discovered by James Cook in 1775 and later renamed by Fabian von Bellingshausen's Russian expedition in 1819. Rocky terrain with a variety of ridges, peaks and hills where fossils have also been found.
- King Haakon Bay British explorer Ernest Shackleton arrived at King Haakon Bay during his 800 nautical mile journey on the open boat "James Caird" from Elephant Island. From here he crossed to Stromness to ask for help to rescue his group on Elephant Island after they had left the Weddell Sea, where their ship was crushed by ice. Elephant seals dominate the beaches. Bird watchers enjoy South Georgia with Antarctic prions or Blue Petrels.
Day 16 to 20 - Back south toward Drake Passage
There may be sea ice on this route, and at the edge of the ice some southern polar skuas and snow petrels could join other seabirds like albatrosses and petrels that drag the ship south. Eventually arriving at Drake Passage a great variety of sea birds awaits us.
Day 21 - Ushuaia, Isla de Tierra del Fuego
We arrive and disembark in the morning in Ushuaia, commonly considered the southernmost city in the world. It is located in the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed the "End of the World". But despite this stopping point, the myriad of memories you have accumulated from your Antarctic expedition will travel with you wherever your next adventure is.
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).