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Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland IslandsJanuary 5, 2014 - January 26, 2014
Priced from: $16,980
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
January 5 USA
Depart on your independent flight to Ushuaia via Buenos Aires.
January 6 Ushuaia, Argentina
Arrive in Buenos Aires and transfer to the domestic airport for your independent flight to Ushuaia. The rest of the day is at leisure, with a welcome reception, dinner, and overnight at our hotel.
January 7 Ushuaia / Embark Sea Adventurer
Enjoy a relaxing morning with lunch at a local restaurant. Join a tour of Ushuaia before boarding the Sea Adventurer this afternoon. Set sail for the Falkland Islands this evening.
January 8 At Sea
Unpack and get acquainted with the ship during a day at sea. Lecturers introduce you to the natural and historical highlights ahead.
January 9 Bleaker Island, Falkland Islands
Step ashore on lovely, windswept Bleaker Island to discover nesting Magellanic penguins, a cliffside rockhopper penguin rookery, and an imperial shag colony. Birders have a good chance of spotting the endemic Falkland steamer duck and Cobb’s wren.
Jan 10 - Jan 11 Cruising the South Scotia Sea
Our lecturers recap your experiences and prepare you for your visit to South Georgia. On deck, join naturalists to search for the seabirds and marine mammals that flourish in these nutrient-rich waters.
Jan 12 - Jan 14 South Georgia
Flexibility in this area is a must. Many of your leaders have been to South Georgia numerous times and, if the weather is in our favor, they may plan a landing before breakfast or even after dinner. You will visit several islands, bays, and coves to observe outstanding birdlife and elephant and fur seals close at hand. The following is a list of places we might visit on South Georgia. Some of them are pending final government approval.
Elsehul Bay – This beautiful bay is home to thousands of fur seals as well as macaroni penguins, the most numerous of all penguin species. Listen for the high-pitched trumpeting of king penguins amid the magnificent sounds of marine mammals that echo in the bay.
Salisbury Plain – Two glaciers flank Salisbury Plain on South Georgia’s north coast. Here, more than 200,000 king penguins congregate to breed, and you are greeted by one of the more remarkable sights—and sounds—on Earth.
Stromness Bay – This now abandoned whaling station is the site of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his party’s arrival after crossing the island’s glaciers on foot. Stromness offers views of the cliffs from which the adventurer and his companions descended.
Grytviken – Go ashore and explore here, discovering the ruins of this once-active whaling station. The cemetery holds a special fascination, as it is here that Shackleton is buried. Walking along the coast, you may spy seabirds, penguins, and marine mammals.
Gold Harbour – At the foot of the Bertrab Glacier, Gold Harbour is often referred to as the “jewel in the island’s crown.” In addition to a large king penguin colony, you are likely to see elephant and fur seals, gentoo penguins, giant petrels, and with luck, some light-mantled albatross.
January 15 South Scotia Sea
Our lecture series continues as you venture south. Naturalists recap your memorable visit to South Georgia and introduce you to the history, geology, and wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands.
January 16 South Orkney Islands
These mountainous isles were once known as “The Inaccessible Islands.” In winter a solid sheet of fast ice joins this island group to the Antarctic Peninsula, some 450 miles away. A scene of unparalleled beauty awaits, with penguins everywhere, including Adelie, chinstrap, gentoo, and the occasional macaroni penguin.
January 17 Elephant Island
This morning arrive at Elephant Island, made famous by the Shackleton expedition. Awesome glaciers, speckled with pink algae, create a dramatic backdrop. Weather permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise around the island with an opportunity to view a thriving chinstrap penguin colony.
Jan 18 - Jan 22 Antarctic Peninsula
As you cruise the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula and its adjacent islands, the daily schedule of landings is dependent upon weather and ice conditions. We plan to venture into the seldom-visited Weddell Sea. The expeditionary nature of this voyage precludes guaranteeing specific stops; past expeditions have visited the locations below. This list serves as a guideline only of the places you may experience.
Brown Bluff – Located on the Antarctic Peninsula, Brown Bluff rises 2,450 feet above an ash beach littered with bizarrely shaped boulders. Some 20,000 pairs of Adelie, and hundreds of gentoo penguins, congregate here to breed. Skuas and pintado petrels nest near the top of the cliff and kelp gulls fill the air with perpetual sound and motion.
Devil Island – This island, just one mile long and located in the Erebus and Terror Gulf, was named for its twin horn-like peaks. Here you will find a thriving Adelie penguin colony and a short hike into the hills offers magnificent views of the Antarctic continent and surrounding islands.
Paulet Island – Paulet is the site where the crew of C.A. Larsen’s ship, Antarctic, were stranded for ten months when their ship was caught and crushed in the ice in 1903. The small stone hut they built can still be seen today, surrounded by a huge colony of breeding Adelie penguins, as well as Antarctic shags.
Gourdin Island – Located at the western extremity of Antarctic Sound this island is home to nesting chinstrap, gentoo, and Adelie penguins. Here you will also find a host of predators and scavengers—skuas, snowy sheathbills, giant petrels, and kelp gulls. Weddell seals are also frequently found hauled out on the surrounding ice.
Deception Island – Deception Island is a flooded caldera, formed by a gigantic volcanic eruption. As you approach Port Foster through Neptune’s Bellows, a channel just wide enough for the ship to navigate, southern fulmars and pintado petrels soar overhead. Step ashore on black sand beaches to visit one of the world’s largest chinstrap penguin colonies. Here you are surrounded by a cacophony of braying calls and the perpetual motion of seemingly endless columns of penguins entering and exiting the surf.
Jan 23 - Jan 24 Drake Passage
During the Drake crossing, you will have opportunities to see and photograph wandering and black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters, and white-chinned petrels. Also keep a lookout for the whales often seen in these waters.
January 25 Ushuaia, Argentina / Disembark / Buenos Aires
Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, connecting with your independent overnight flight to the USA.
January 26 USA
Early-morning arrival in the USA and connect to flights homeward.