Day 1 Ushuaia
On arrival, please make your way through to the Arrivals Hall where our representative will be waiting for you to transfer you to your hotel. He/she will be holding a sign with your name on it. Should you not be able to
locate them, please refer to the front of your itinerary for emergency contact details of our representative office.
There will be an evening a briefing at 7:30pm to run through details of embarkation the following day. Ushuaia is the most southerly city in the world and the capital of Tierra del Fuego, with a dramatic setting overlooking the Beagle Channel, surrounded by mountains. It is a major port for Antarctic bound vessels and an interesting city to explore.
Day 2 Embarkation
This morning is free for you to explore Ushuaia and pick up any essential supplies before boarding the ship in the mid-afternoon. Highlights of Ushuaia include the award-winning Museo Marítimo y del Presidio de Ushuaia, (Maritime & Prison of Ushuaia Museum), located in Ushuaia’s former prison, in buildings dating back to 1906, and nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park that can be reached by the “End of the World Train”. Stroll along the main street of Avenida San Martin with its many cafes, shops and restaurants, explore the Argentinean leather markets and maybe taste a succulent lamb dish for which Patagonia is famous.
This afternoon, you will be transferred together with your fellow expeditioners to the pier to board your vessel. On embarkation you will meet the expedition crew and be shown to your suite. In the early evening we sail down the majestic Beagle Channel past magellanic penguin, rock cormorant and sea lion colonies as we head towards Antarctica. We will enter the legendary Drake Passage just after midnight.
Day 3-4 Drake Passage
We cross this famous stretch of water which sits between the Antarctic continent and South America and which takes its name from the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. Our on board lecture program will commence today with our Antarctic experts giving you a fascinating insight into the continent with presentations on the wildlife, history and geology of Antarctica, preparing us for what lies ahead. On the second day we cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer equatorial water moving in the opposite direction. This mixing pushes nutrient rich waters to the surface, attracting a variety of seabirds, whales and other species. You will notice a distinct drop in temperature as we enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean. If weather permits, head out on deck to look for whales, dolphins and trailing sea birds such as albatrosses, prions and petrels. Depending on sea conditions we may reach the South Shetland Islands by nightfall of day 4.
Day 5-8 South Shetland Islands & Antarctica
The wilderness of Antarctica is subject to unpredictable weather and ever-changing ice conditions, which dictate our route and exploration opportunities. This is a real expedition. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. We exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, amazing scenery, and excursions via Zodiac.
The Antarctic Peninsula region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and some of Antarctica’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Protected bays and narrow channels are surrounded by towering mountain peaks covered 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 a variety of whale and seal species. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large nesting colonies at special places on land. The area is also home to Antarctic research stations of various nationalities. Some stations have a gift shop and post office.
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely be our first sighting of land. This wild and beautiful island chain contains numerous landing sites with abundant wildlife and historical significance. Among them is Elephant Island, where men from Shackleton’s famous Endurance expedition spent the winter.
Farther south, on the Antarctic Peninsula, the vast Gerlache Strait area contains sheltered bays, accessible wildlife, and stunning scenery.
Day 9-10 Southern Ocean
We set sail again for the open seas and retrace Shackleton’s path to South Georgia. Spend time looking out for seabirds, whales and other wildlife, listening to expedition lectures from our on board Antarctic experts and soaking up the ice-swept seascape. Enroute we head towards Elephant Island, where weather permitting we will attempt to make a landing. Elephant Island is the desolate island where Sir Ernest Shackleton left 24 of his men for months while he embarked on one of the greatest survival stories of all time, on a mission to South Georgia in the hope of returning and saving them all.
Day 11-14 South Georgia
This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Our route and exploration opportunities in South Georgia are heavily dependent on the weather conditions we encounter. Again you can be sure that the best possible advantage will be taken of the circumstances presented to us by Nature in this wild and remote corner of the world. We take every safe opportunity to go ashore in this amazing place.
South Georgia is a scenic wilderness and an unrivalled paradise for subantarctic wildlife viewing. The islands are said to host upwards of 100 million seabirds, including numerous species of albatross, penguins, prions, petrels, and terns. On beaches such as those at Salisbury Plain and St. Andrews Bay, over 100,000 elephant seals and three million fur seals jostle for space among innumerable penguins including stately king penguins and sprightly macaroni penguins. The recently completed rat eradication program is sure to make this wilderness even more pristine and rich with birdlife.
The bountiful waters surrounding South Georgia are also inhabited by an increasing number of whales. The historical whaling station of Grytviken is now home to the excellent South Georgia Museum managed by the South Georgia Heritage Trust. This is also the final resting place of Ernest Shackleton, the legendary polar explorer.
Our days in South Georgia are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by our experts, and enough incredible scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.
Day 15-16 Southern Ocean
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 17 Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory, is an archipelago that lies 490kms east of Patagonia in the South Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by decades of controversy, the Falkland Islands (or Islas Malvinas as they are known in Argentina) have been settled and claimed by France, Spain, Britain and Argentina. The two main islands (East Falkland and West Falkland) have much to offer and provide a rare opportunity to witness the biological diversity, extraordinary scenery and history of the southern islands. The Falklands have the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world and five species of penguin breed on the islands (gentoo, king, macaroni, magellanic and rockhopper). Port Stanley, the capital and located on East Falkland Island, offers an opportunity to meet the hardy local inhabitants whose colourful houses provide contrast to the long dark winters. Today we explore Stanley, chosen as the capital for its sheltered harbour and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel. Take a historical walking tour of the town to learn more about Stanley’s rich and colourful history. If time permits we will also visit nearby bird and penguin colonies.
Day 18 Falkland Islands
Set sail to West Falkland Islands where you may visit two of the most popular islands - West Point Island and Carcass Island. West Point Island is famous for its spectacular scenery and impressive wildlife. Home to a vast colony of Rockhopper Penguins and Black-browned Albatrooses, nesting together in close vicinity. Carcass Island is renowned for exceptional birdlife due to it being a rodent-free island. Gentoo and Magellanic Penguins also nest here.
Day 19-20 South Atlantic Ocean
From the Falkland Islands we proceed north toward Puerto Madryn. We keep a lookout for marine mammals such as dolphins and whales. This is also the time for our End of Voyage ceremonies including slideshow and farewell dinner.
Day 21 Puerto Madryn, Argentina
We disembark the ship in Puerto Madryn and you will be transferred to Trelew airport or a centrally located hotel in Puerto Madryn. Please note it is very important to book flights from Trelew to depart after 1:30 pm today.
Why not consider adding on a couple of days at the end of the tour to explore the Valdes Peninsula, one of the best places on the planet to spot orcas hunting their prey on the beaches. Puerto Madryn is the gateway to Península Valdés. It is the second largest fishing port in Argentina and home to the country’s first aluminium plant, built in 1974. Puerto Madryn was founded by Welsh settlers in 1886, and along the shoreline statues of immigrants and Teheulche pay tribute to the history of the town.
Please note that the timings in each location are only a guide. Depending on weather conditions and opportunities during the journey we may spend more or less time on the Antarctica Peninsula, South Georgia and/ or the Falkland Islands. Being an expedition trip, we will try to make the most of the conditions to provide the best experience possible and this may mean operating a slightly different itinerary to that shown.