Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland IslandsJanuary 7, 2016 - January 28, 2016
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.
Jan 7 - Jan 8 Depart USA / Buenos Aires, Argentina / Ushuaia
Depart from home on your independent flight via Buenos Aires, arriving in Ushuaia the next day. Transfer to our hotel with the rest of the day is at leisure. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight.
January 9 Ushuaia / Embark Sea Adventurer
Today, enjoy a boat trip on the Beagle Channel and disembark in Tierra del Fuego National Park for nature hikes surrounded by dramatic scenery. Or, visit Martial Glacier, followed by a city tour and lunch in Ushuaia. Board the Sea Adventurer this afternoon and set sail for the Falkland Islands.
Jan 10 - Jan 11 At Sea / Steeple Jason Island, Falkland Islands / Saunders Island
Attend lectures on the natural and historical highlights ahead during a day at sea. On Steeple Jason Island visit a large black-browed albatross colony and stroll along beautiful beaches to search for seabirds. On Saunders Island, you will find colonies of gentoo, rockhopper, and Magellanic penguins.
Jan 12 - Jan 13 Cruising the South Scotia Sea
Lecturers recap your experiences and prepare you for your visit to South Georgia. On deck, join naturalists in search of the seabirds and marine mammals that flourish in these nutrient-rich waters.
Jan 14 - Jan 16 South Georgia
Flexibility in this area is a must. Many of our leaders have been to South Georgia numerous times and, if the weather is in our favor, they may offer a landing before breakfast or even after dinner. Call at some of the many islands, bays, and coves where you will see outstanding birdlife and elephant and fur seals close at hand. The following is a list of places we plan to 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 and breed, and you are greeted by one of the more remarkable sights—and sounds—on Earth.
Stromness Bay – Site of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his party’s arrival after their harrowing crossing of the island’s glaciers on foot, Stromness offers views of cliffs and a glacier from which the adventurer and his companions descended.
Grytviken – Go ashore to discover the ruins of this once-active whaling station. The cemetery holds a special fascination, as it is here that Shackleton is buried. Seabirds, penguins, and marine mammals can also be found here.
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, light-mantled albatross.
Jan 17 - Jan 18 At Sea
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 19 Elephant Island
Today 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 and the opportunity to view a thriving chinstrap penguin colony.
Jan 20 - Jan 24 Antarctic Peninsula
As you cruise the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula and its adjacent islands, landings are dependent upon weather and ice conditions. There is the possibility that you may visit a research station and witness the scientific activities conducted by the multinational community of scientists working there. The expeditionary nature of this voyage precludes guaranteeing specific stops; in the past we have visited the locations below. This list serves as a guideline only of the places you may experience.
Brown Bluff – Located on the Antarctic continent, 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, make their home here. Skuas and pintado petrels nest near the top of the cliff and kelp gulls fill the air with perpetual sound and motion.
Deception Island – As you approach Deception through Neptune’s Bellows, a channel just wide enough for the ship to navigate, southern fulmars and pintado petrels soar overhead. Weigh anchor inside a volcano whose collapsed cone was filled by rushing seawater.
Lemaire Channel and Pleneau Island – Cruising the beautiful Lemaire Channel, keep watch for the humpback and minke whales frequently spotted here. This narrow channel is one of the most visually impressive areas of the Antarctic Peninsula. Steep mountain peaks jut out of the sea on both sides, and the waters are often choked with icebergs and frequented by crabeater seals. A stunning labyrinth of grounded icebergs lies in the shallow waters west of Pleneau Island, presenting a superb Zodiac cruising experience. Crabeater and leopard seals haul out on the ice, and elephant seals and gentoo penguins occupy the island itself.
Jan 25 - Jan 26 Drake Passage
During your Drake crossing, watch for wandering and black-browed albatross, sooty hearwaters, and white-chinned petrels. Whales are also frequently seen in these waters.
Jan 27 - Jan 28 Ushuaia, Argentina / Disembark / Buenos Aires / USA
Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, connecting with your independent overnight flight. Arrive in the USA on January 28.