Epic Antarctica: Falklands, South Georgia and Crossing the Antarctic Circle – 20 days

EpicAntarcticaThis is the ‘do it all’ Antarctic adventure. Not only will you cross the Antarctic Circle and travel farther south than traditional Antarctic cruises, you will also visit the wildlife and historical gems of the Falklands and South Georgia during this 20 day voyage. This journey is for anyone who appreciates a wide variety of landscapes, unprecedented wildlife viewing opportunities and a healthy mix of historic landing sites.

In brief:

  • Explore the world’s seventh continent on the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, Zodiac and on foot
  • Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife with an expert team of lecturers
  • See the incredible wildlife of South Georgia, often referred to as ‘the Galapagos of the South’. This includes more than 30 species of breeding birds, including four species of penguin
  • Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyages on South Georgia and pause for a moment at his graveside
  • Explore the quaint, British town of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands;
  • Crossing of the Antarctic Circle
  • On board lecturers and educational presentations from Polar specialists

Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1:  Ushuaia, Argentina

ushuaia3Nestled between the Andes Mountains and the Beagle Channel, Ushuaia is a beautiful and interesting place to start your journey. Venture to the nearby National Park, or take a day hike in the mountains surrounding town before enjoying Argentinean steak or delicious seafood in one of Ushuaia’s many restaurants.

Day 2: Embarkation

SeaSpiritNEW-dayTrade your land legs for sea legs in the afternoon as you embark, meet and greet fellow travelers and get acquainted with your ship. Every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, and embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team, who are onboard to ensure your comfort and safety, as well as help make your wildlife dreams come true.

Day 3: At Sea

albatrossThere are many activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship or attend multimedia presentations by the Expedition Team. You will be prepped on procedures for your Zodiac cruises and shore landings.

Days 4-5: Falklands Islands (Islas Malvinas)

The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands – East and West, which you will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier type feel to them, especially at Port Stanley – the largest settlement on the islands. With camera at hand, wildlife sightings in the Falklands should include at least three species of penguins and two endemic bird species – Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.

Days 6-7, At Sea:

En-route to South Georgia you’ll cross the invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica – the Antarctic Convergence. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts large cetaceans, such as humpback whales.

Days 8-11, South Georgia:

Often called the ‘Galapagos of the Poles,’ South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife and an abundance of interesting history. Each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife. One day you may see rookeries with a hundred thousand pairs of king penguins waddling on the beach. The next day we may another beach with thousands of fur or elephant seals. Evidence of the old whaling and sealing heydays is still found throughout the island. One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. His grave at the settlement of Grytviken, also home to an old whaling station and a research station, are reminders of past explorers and inhabitants on this remote island.

Days 12-13, At Sea:

Onward to Antarctica! While you’re at sea, you can enjoy some quiet time or take in presentations by the Expedition Team, which will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes them each unique.

Days 14-16, Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands

antarctic-pen1The White continent, the land of extremes, is most commonly encountered with a sense of reverence and awe. Glacier hikes, visits to research bases and, of course, communing with the seals and penguins, are sure to keep you excited each and every day. Keep on the lookout for the fearless penguin-eater, the leopard seal, or get close to a curious minke whale while out on a Zodiac ride. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera shutter busy.

Day 17, Cross the Antarctic Circle

Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Peninsula do not come close to reaching this far south. With a toast to the first explorers who ventured here, you can raise a glass of champagne and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world still visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home to the midnight sun, with potential for some fantastic iceberg sightings.

Days 18-19: Drake Passage

After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage allows time to discuss and reflect on your Antarctic adventure.

Day 20: Ushuaia

After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team and fellow travelers. Take a transfer you to the airport for your homeward flight or walk into Ushuaia if you’re staying on in Patagonia.