Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica

Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands

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This is our most far-reaching polar expedition and includes visits to three different locations. The sub-Antarctic Falkland Islands and the island of South Georgia are home to a proliferation of unique wildlife and birdlife. There are penguin rookeries, beaches covered in fur seals and elephant seals and seabirds, including many of the albatross species. Both locations feature a fascinating history and stunning scenery.

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Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia (Argentina)

Our journey to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. We gather at our central meeting point and transfer to the pier and embark our expedition ship. After settling in to 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 and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.

Day 2: At Sea – towards the Falkland Islands

Sailing northeast towards the Falkland Islands we are joined by hundreds of seabirds, including the wandering albatross, who we come to know well on this journey. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern expedition vessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history of the Southern Ocean and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days.

Days 3 – 4: The Falkland Islands

Having arrived in the Falkland Islands overnight, we launch the Zodiacs and are excited to make our first shore excursion this morning. Our plan will be to explore several locations in the West Falkland archipelago. These remote islands are home to a proliferation of seabirds and migratory birds including the stunning black- browed albatross. Our first penguin sightings will be on West Point Island with its bustling rookeries of rockhoppers. On Carcass Island, we observe nesting magellanic penguins as well as oystercatchers, geese and the striated caracara – a bird of prey. The following morning we arrive in Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. As we wander through the charming streets of brightly painted houses, we learn how this quiet harbor was once a major port in the 19th century for tall ships rounding the fabled Cape Horn. There are several interesting activities to enjoy today. Stanley has an excellent museum that outlines the historic events that took place during the conflict with Argentina in 1982. The waterfront memorial built to commemorate the lives of the British servicemen killed during the war is a sobering reminder of recent history. Stanley’s famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps is another interesting diversion.

Days 5 – 6: At Sea – towards South Georgia

We chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds once again join us in the Southern Ocean. 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 One Ocean Expeditions’ guides and crew.

Days 7 – 9: 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 10 – 12: At Sea – towards Antarctica

Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica, leading us perhaps to the South Orkney Islands or Elephant Island. As with all of our itinerary planning, our Expedition Leader and Captain will make a decision based on the conditions at the time. The South Orkney Islands represent the peaks of a submarine mountain range called the Scotia Arc, connecting South Georgia to the South Shetland Islands. Often shrouded in fog and surrounded by ice much of the year, a chance to visit these islands doesn’t come often. As we edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. If conditions allow, we will hope to see the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. Shackleton and his men were encamped here for many months, having lost HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. From the tiny beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and six companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing is considered one of the greatest in history. If conditions allow, we will attempt a landing at Point Wild on Elephant Island.

Days 13 – 16: South Shetland Islands and Antarctica

Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland we find the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sites could include King George Island, Half Moon Island or Yankee Harbor. Weather conditions permitting we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. There are some outstanding hikes at these locations and the old whaling station and aircraft hangar at Deception Island beg for further exploration. After so much anticipation, we enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in the vicinity of Mikkelson Harbor or Cierva Cove. Snow covered mountains soar from the dark waters. Along the shoreline in the bays and harbors of the Peninsula lives an incredible abundance of wildlife. Large rookeries are home to chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins. Seals live on the ice floes, including the powerful leopard seal that we hope to encounter. Gulls, skuas and cormorants are also found nesting and feeding at many sites along the Antarctic Peninsula. We explore by Zodiac boat and ashore where a range of exciting activities await. Locations we hope to visit include Wilhelmina Bay, Orne Harbor, Cuverville Island and the Errera Channel. Join the photographic guide taking pictures of stunning icebergs. Or enjoy a hike to the top of a snowy mountain saddle with one of our adventure guides. If the opportunity presents itself, visit a science base or an old historic hut. The sea kayakers may range up to several miles from the ship, for a truly memorable experience.

Days 17 – 18: At Sea – towards Antarctica

After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula, it’s time to return 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 to some of the most remote corners of the planet. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 19: Arrive Ushuaia (Argentina)

In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. 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

  • Fantastic glaciated scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia
  • 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 from a central meeting point in Ushuaia on
  • Day 1 and from the port to the airport (or a downtown hotels) at the conclusion of your voyage on Day 19
  • 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 community visits
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (ie. 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 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 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

Adventure Options

  • Kayaking: $795 per person
  • Hiking: 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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