Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica – Mega Colonies

Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands

Starting from $21,195

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This new 17-night Mega Colonies cruise takes advantage of the direct South American flight from Santiago to Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands. On this voyage we prioritize the region’s largest penguin colonies, including St Andrew’s Bay and Salisbury Plain on South Georgia; Paulet Island and Bailey Head and also the Danger Islands, to experience the newly discovered mega-colony of Adelie penguins.

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Special Offer

Save $800 on all cabin categories when you book by May 31st, 2019! Offer also includes a pre-voyage hotel stay in departure city!

• Cannot be combined with other offers
• Available on new bookings only
• TravelWild reserves the right to modify or discontinue this offer at any time and without prior notification

 

Starting from $21,195

Rates & Dates Prices are per person and shown in USD.

TripleTwin PrivateSuperiorSuperior PlusShackleton SuiteOne Ocean Suite
Dec 31, 2019 - Jan 17, 2020$21,195
$20,395
$25,595
$24,795
$26,995
$26,195
$27,395
$26,595
$28,795
$27,995
$29,995
$29,195

Itinerary

Day 1: Santiago (Chile) to Stanley (Falkland Islands)

We depart Santiago this morning on our special charter flight direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. We are met on arrival and transfer from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides our first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other seabirds. Making our way to the port, we board our expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail celebrating the arrival of a new year, and cast off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.

Days 2-3: At Sea – Towards South Georgia

We chart a south-easterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds join us in the Southern Ocean and follow in the updrafts created by the ship. Our educational presentations continue and are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. We will also learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of our guides and crew.

Day 4-6: Exploration of South Georgia

South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs, we begin our exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbor. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest. South Georgia is a thrilling location for history lovers and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us. We hope to observe several of the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here we visit the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. For many, being in the presence of the great explorer will be a highlight of the trip. An excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the restored church built by the original Norwegian whalers provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Days 7-9: At Sea – Towards Antarctica

Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica. Onboard experts keep us busy with fascinating presentations and lead lively discussions throughout the day. The great pelagic seabirds are sure to keep us company – and we anticipate excellent sightings of albatross and giant petrels soaring on the winds of the South Atlantic Ocean. As we edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. Excitement grows as the low-lying Danger Islands appears on the horizon. Situated at the extreme northern point of the Antarctic Peninsula, offshore from the larger Joinville Island, we cannot help but be excited about the days ahead.

Day 10-12: Danger Islands and the Weddell Sea

Our excursions today will be dictated by the prevailing weather. Strong currents flow out of the Weddell Sea bringing variable ice conditions to the archipelago. We launch the Zodiacs to explore the waters around the island groups and plan to make shore landings at several locations. We will be struck by the immense scale of the Adelie penguin rookeries here. These are the smallest (and most comical) of Antarctica's penguins, resplendent in their black and white plumage. They are fascinating to observe, coming and going from fishing forays, and sitting on the nest raising their precious chicks. Our guides will be keen to share their knowledge of the penguin life-cycle and tell of the recent scientific research at this location. We notice an increase in the huge, flat-topped tabular icebergs as we navigate into the Weddell Sea and always anticipate exciting ice navigation. This region of Antarctica is rich in history. The early Swedish explorer – Otto Nordenskjold and companions spent several years here in a remarkable yet little-known tale of survival. Just over a decade later, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the survival of his crew from the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (HMS Endurance), 1914-17, grabbed the imagination of the entire world. To this day, Shackleton’s journey remains one of the great tales of polar exploration and survival.

Along with the Danger Islands, the region is home to a number of other sizable penguin rookeries at locations which include Paulet Island and Gourdin Island. Nearby Vega Island is home to some of the most fascinating paleontology found in all of Antarctica. Fossils here tell the story of Gondwanaland, of giant penguins and other dinosaur species and early plant life on Earth. Brown Bluff and d’Urville Monument are other landing possibilities in the area.

Days 13-15: South Shetland Islands and Gerlache Strait

Approaching the South Shetland Islands as we navigate south, we may aim for a shore landing at Half Moon Island – home to a boisterous colony of nesting chinstrap penguins. A short hike brings us to elephant seal haul out. These are fascinating animals to observe as the naturalist guides explain the unique family dynamics and behavior. There are several other nearby locations, including Yankee Harbor or Hannah Point which we may choose as alternative landing sites. A thrill for many will be sailing the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. At Whalers Bay, the remains of a rusting old whaling station provide a glimpse into history. There are a couple of excellent hiking routes here – one up to a high point overlooking the entire bay. Another to the far end of the black-sand beach where an old aircraft hangar can be viewed. It’s from here, the very first flight in Antarctica took to the air.

Places such as Cierva Cove or Mikkelson Harbor allow for some great excursions on shore and in the Zodiacs and it’s a good place to look for leopard seals on the ice floes. The remote Spert Islands provide a fascinating lesson in geology. The island group is crisscrossed by narrow channels and coves and cruising in the Zodiacs or sea kayaking here is a real thrill. Seabirds nest on the cliffs above, while seals can be found resting along the shoreline. We enter the maze of islands and waterways along the Antarctic Peninsula and enjoying shore landings, Zodiac cruises and kayak excursions several times per day. Ship cruising into the Errera Channel, we have a couple of great landing sites to consider including Cuverville Island – with its sizeable gentoo penguin rookery. Neko Harbor is another possibility for a landing. A very active glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and it is common to observe large slabs of ice calving from the glacier face into the dark waters.

Days 16-17: Drake Passage – Return to South America

As we make our way back to South America, the educational presentations continue, and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 18: Arrive Ushuaia (Argentina) – Voyage Concludes

In the early morning, we arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise, enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

RCGS Resolute

RCGS Resolute

Deckplan & Cabin Photos

Highlights

  • Witness some of the largest wildlife colonies found anywhere on Earth
  • Outstanding wildlife observation on shore, Zodiac cruising and from the ship
  • Visits to historic sites and science stations
  • Learn about the environment, wildlife, history and ecology from polar experts

Included

  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport on disembarkation
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and science stations
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
  • An emergency-trained medical physician onboard every voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness center including massage options (charge applies for massage and treatments)
  • Access to a well-stocked library full of polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos and take-home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas

NOT INCLUDED

  • Mandatory Flight Package: $495 per person

Adventure Options

  • Kayaking: $795
  • Camping: Free
 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to the nature of expedition cruising, itineraries are subject to change due to weather, ice conditions, natural and cultural events, wildlife viewing opportunities and other logistical considerations. In general, a ship's crew will endeavor to complete the itinerary provided, but the ultimate decision lies with the ship's captain and expedition leaders.

 
 
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