For Feb 25, 2020 Departure
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina
The small city of Ushuaia is the perfect starting point for our expedition cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. Located near the southern tip of South America, it boasts beautiful views of the Andres Mountains and the Beagle Channel. Stroll the lively main street of cafes, shops and outfitters, perhaps picking up a last-minute item for your voyage, or enjoying a typical Argentine grill entrée at one of the many casual restaurants. If you arrive early, you will want to visit beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Day 2: Embarkation in Ushuaia
In the afternoon we embark the Sea Spirit and set sail down the scenic Beagle Channel.
Day 3-4: Drake Passage
Through presentations and informal conversations, our team of experts on Antarctic wildlife, history and geology will enlighten you about what we’ll expect to see in the days ahead. Keep a sharp eye out as we cross the Antarctic Convergence, where ocean dynamics create a unique zone of marine life and activity. In the early evening of the fourth day, weather and sea conditions permitting, we plan to have our first landing in the South Shetland Islands.
Day 5-8: The Antarctic Continent and the South Shetlands
In the region of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula we get a great variety of opportunities to actively explore the unique wildlife and breathtaking scenery. With nearly 200 recognized sites here we use all our experience to offer you the best places and ways to explore the enchanting world of the Sixth Continent. A flexible planning is a key to successful expedition.
Our Captain and Expedition Leader will do their best to show you all the faces of Antarctica. We hope to tick off 5 penguin /6 seal / several whale species in Antarctic check-list. While cruising along narrow Antarctic waterways we admire huge icebergs of different shapes, sizes and colours. We visit scientific stations representing several different countries and learn about Antarctic scientific researches straight from the source. Of course setting foot on the actual Antarctic Continent is also on agenda.
Day 9-10: Scotia Sea
More informative presentations are in store today, as we head northeast toward South Georgia.
Day 11-15: South Georgia
For many, South Georgia is a not-to-be-missed destination within the Antarctic region. These sub-Antarctic islands are mountain peaks emerging from the Scotia Arc, an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the White Continent. Shaped like a long and narrow whalebone, the islands are home to:
- Four seal species – southern elephant seal, Antarctic fur seal, Weddell seal, and leopard seal.
- Several whale species – southern right whales, humpbacks, fin whales, sperm whales, killer whales orcas, and southern bottlenose whales.
- Antarctic seabirds, about 46% of the world's breeding population of grey headed albatrosses; northern giant petrels, white chinned petrels and Antarctic prions. Most of the world's population of the South Georgia blue eyed shags live there, some 7,500 pairs.
- Penguins – around half the world's population of macaroni penguins, along with 100,000 pairs of Gentoo penguins and about 6,000 breeding pairs of Chinstrap penguins.
The most attractive residents of the South Georgia are King penguins with their orange-yellow crowns. The total number of King penguins is around 400,000 breeding pairs.
We spend three days among the alpine landscapes and penguins colonies. We will also visit to the historic settlement of Grytviken. With its whaling-era remnants and Earnest Shackleton’s gravesite, the one-time whaling town is one of the highlights of South Georgia.
Day 16-17: At sea
From South Georgia we head west toward the Falkland Islands. Presentations and workshops by our expert staff, as well as our range of onboard recreation facilities, ensure that these days at sea are not idly spent.
Day 18-19: The Falklands
The Falkland Islands offer an unforgettable vista of moors and rugged coastlines carved by the South Atlantic, where the wildlife and plant life form a link between Patagonia and Antarctica. On the beaches, elephant seals are a spectacular sight when battling among themselves to establish territories or just simply relaxing. Sea lions and fur seals are also common sights. As many as a million penguins nest in the Falklands every summer, representing five of the world’s seventeen species – King, Gentoo, Rockhopper, Magellanic and Macaroni. What’s more, for the Gentoo, the Falklands are home to the largest population on Earth. Look for black-browed albatrosses nesting on grassy hillsides overlooking the sea.
The capital of the Falklands Port Stanley is the southernmost British outpost in the world. With many reminders of its British heritage such as red phone booths and English pubs, the town boasts other unusual sights like a whalebone arch and shipwrecks along the coast.
Day 20-22: Southern Ocean
Reality begins to set in during this final sea passage separating the magic world we’ve just explored from the rest of the world we’ll soon be rejoining. Refresh your memories through a photo exchange with newfound friends, and bid farewell to seabirds and whales that you can identify more easily now.
Day 23: Disembarkation in Montevideo (Uruguay)
Morning disembarkation in Montevideo. Right after the disembarkation we provide group transfer to the Montevideo airport or the city centre.
For Feb 27, 2021 and Feb 28, 2022 Departure
Day 1: Arrival in Ushuaia, Argentina (hotel night)
Welcome to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city and starting point of our Antarctic expedition! Upon your arrival at the airport, you will be greeted by our staff and transferred to a quality hotel, which has been arranged by us and is included in the price of the itinerary. For the rest of the day, you are free to explore this vibrant port city and adventure hub.
For an introduction to local history and wildlife, the interesting Museo del Fin del Mundo is worth a visit. If you have time to spare, a variety of nature activities can be arranged to suit all interests and fitness levels, from hiking in nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park to wildlife viewing in the Beagle Channel. For dinner, Ushuaia offers a wide range of restaurants featuring Patagonian lamb and delectable Fuegian seafood.
Day 2: Welcome Aboard!
After breakfast at your hotel, the morning is yours to enjoy Ushuaia. Explore the delightful waterfront and savor views of the snowcapped Martial Range, the southernmost peaks of the Andes. Take advantage of shopping for souvenirs or some lastminute necessities such as cold-weather gear. Just remember, you will soon receive your very own parka to keep and waterproof boots to borrow on board the ship. For lunch, the many cafés, parrillas and gelato shops on Avenida San Martín will be sure to satisfy any appetite.
In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the pier where we will warmly welcome you aboard the luxury expedition vessel M/V Sea Spirit. Get settled in your spacious suite and explore the ship that will be your comfortable home during the extraordinary adventure to come. After getting underway, a full schedule of events kicks off with informative briefings and introductions from your expedition staff. After the first of many delicious dinners on board, step out onto the open decks to admire the scenery and gorgeous evening light as we pass through the Beagle Channel.
Day 3-4: Drake Passage
After passing the islands of Tierra del Fuego, we turn south to begin our crossing of the Drake Passage. The majestic wandering albatross and other graceful subantarctic seabirds are common in these waters and can readily be viewed from panoramic open decks and balconies. We also cross the Antarctic Convergence, the biological boundary of the Southern Ocean. The ship’s stabilizing fins provide comfort in the event of rough seas. We hope to arrive in the South Shetland Islands on the evening of our second day at sea.
Day 5-8: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
During the next four days, we explore the highlights of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. This region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and the best wildlife viewing in Antarctica. Sheltered bays and channels sparkle with ice and reflect towering mountain peaks coated in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to huge numbers of marine mammals and seabirds. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large rookeries at special places on land. Here we also find Antarctic research bases of various nationalities, some with gift shops and post offices.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely be our first sight of land. This wildly beautiful island chain contains many landing sites with historical significance and abundant wildlife. Among them is Elephant Island, where men from Shackleton’s famous Endurance expedition spent the winter of 1916. We will also explore the supremely picturesque Gerlache Strait area of the Antarctic Peninsula, a pristine wilderness of spectacular white landscapes, colossal icebergs, obliging marine mammals and bustling penguin colonies. Here we have a chance to land on the continent of Antarctica.
Throughout this area, we find nesting colonies of gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguins, sometimes side by side. This a great time for close encounters with inquisitive penguin chicks, who are now gaining independence as they fledge. The bravest chicks are testing their swimming skills in the sea, where they face a gauntlet of hungry leopard seals and killer whales. This is also the peak of the whale-watching season. Having gorged themselves on krill all summer, humpback and minke whales become more playful and obliging to Zodiacs and kayakers. Crabeater and Weddell seals are joined by Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals. The skies are full of newly fledged seabirds.
Antarctica is a true wilderness with unpredictable weather and ever-changing ice conditions, which will dictate our route and exploration opportunities. With more than 14 hours of daylight per day, we seize every chance to experience excellent wildlife viewing and amazing scenery via Zodiac cruises and shore excursions.
Day 9-10: Scotia Sea
We now proceed northeast through the wildlife-rich waters of the Scotia Sea. We keep a lookout for abundant humpback and fin whales along the way. Briefings, bio-security procedures and presentations by our lecture staff prepare you for our arrival in South Georgia.
Day 11-15: South Georgia Island
The next five days will be devoted to the exploration of the unique and spectacular wilderness of South Georgia, home to some of the greatest concentrations of wildlife on the planet. This isolated subantarctic island is said to host upwards of 100 million seabirds, including numerous species of albatross, penguins, prions, petrels, shags, skuas, gulls and terns. Among these is one of the largest flying birds in the world—the wandering albatross. Here you have a rare opportunity to witness part of their remarkable life cycle. While most seabird chicks are already fledging, wandering albatross chicks are only now hatching in grassy nests overlooking the wild Southern Ocean.
On South Georgia’s legendary beaches, king penguins are gathered in huge colonies that stretch from sandy shorelines to the foothills of glaciated mountains. Also at this time, hundreds of thousands of macaroni penguin chicks are getting ready to head out to sea. Rare birds such as the endemic South Georgia pipit and yellow-billed pintail round out the list of 78 bird species found across the territory. The successfully completed rat eradication program has made this wilderness even more pristine and rich with birdlife.
South Georgia is also home to staggering numbers of elephant seals and fur seals. At this time, thousands of fat elephant seal pups are lounging around on shore while mobs of rambunctious fur seal pups take to the water. Once hunted nearly to extinction, large whales have returned to the bountiful seas surrounding South Georgia. With the whalers long gone, the historical whaling station of Grytviken is now home to the excellent South Georgia Museum. Here you will also find the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton, heroic polar explorer and leader of the Endurance expedition.
In this rugged yet accessible environment, superb wildlife viewing is best complemented by active version 28-01-2020 Poseidon Expeditions 5 adventure. There are many opportunities for guided treks through this raw and untamed wilderness, including the legendary Shackleton Walk. For sea kayakers, the wildlife-rich waters of South Georgia offer the chance to paddle with hordes of seals and penguins in some of the world’s most scenic waterways.
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Our precise route and exploration opportunities are dependent on weather in this wild and remote corner of the world. Our experienced captain and expedition leader will continually adjust plans to take maximum advantage of the conditions and circumstances at hand. You can be sure that we will take every safe opportunity to go ashore in this challenging environment.
Day 16-17: Southern Ocean
We sail west toward the Falkland Islands, passing the remote, seabird-covered pinnacles known as Shag Rocks on the way. Pelagic seabirds are our constant companions as we keep a vigilant watch for dolphins and whales in these productive waters. Presentations by our expert naturalists and historians prepare you for our arrival in the Falkland Islands.
Day 18-19: The Falkland Islands
On these days we intend to come alongside the wharf at Stanley, the historic capital of the Falkland Islands. Attractions within pleasant walking distance along the waterfront promenade include the Falkland Islands Museum, the governor’s house, various war memorials, quality gift shops and charming pubs. Christ Church Cathedral features an impressive whalebone arch and dramatic views of shipwrecks in the harbor. We also plan to offer an excursion to Gypsy Cove, a national nature reserve where white sand beaches are frequented by numerous bird species, including the endemic Falklands flightless steamer duck. Here you can also see Magellanic penguins, whose chicks have fledged and are making a tentative start to their lives at sea. At this time, you may even find groups of sea lions hauled out on shore.
We continue our exploration of the Falklands in the isolated outlying islands. These bleakly beautiful isles are havens for wildlife. Large colonies of seabirds, perched on windy bluffs overlooking azure seas, are easily accessible by hiking over lush meadows. At this time, black-browed albatross soar down from above while feisty rockhopper penguins leap up surf-battered cliffs from below to feed their large chicks amongst the tussocks.
On nearby beaches, gentoo penguin chicks are starting to fledge while adult king penguins and chicks of all ages are getting ready to brave the austral winter. Just offshore, you may see Peale’s dolphins and even killer whales patrolling the coasts. A wide range of land birds, including the endemic Cobb’s wren and inquisitive striated caracara, contribute to an abundance of wildlife that will leave nature lovers breathless.
Day 20-22: South Atlantic Ocean
The ocean breezes gradually get warmer as we sail north through the South Atlantic Ocean. As we enter deeper waters, we are on constant lookout for killer whales, blue whales, sei whales and southern right whales. This is also the time for festivities such as the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail and the end-of-voyage slideshow.
Day 23: Disembarkation in Buenos Aires (Argentina)
Morning disembarkation in Buenos Aires. Right after the disembarkation, we provide a group transfer to Ezeiza (EZE) - International Airport or central location in Buenos Aires.