Arrive to the southernmost city via your independent flight to Ushuaia. The rest of the day is at leisure, with a welcome reception, dinner, and overnight at your hotel.
Enjoy a relaxing morning with lunch at a local restaurant. Join a tour of Ushuaia before boarding the Sea Adventurer this afternoon. Set sail for the Falkland Islands this evening.
Unpack and get acquainted with your expedition ship during a day at sea. Lecturers introduce you to the natural and historical highlights ahead.
Step ashore on lovely, windswept Bleaker Island to discover nesting Magellanic penguins, a cliffside rockhopper penguin rookery, and an imperial shag colony. Birders have a good chance of spotting the endemic Falkland steamer duck and Cobb’s wren.
Your lecturers recap your experiences on the Falklands and prepare you for your visit to South Georgia. On deck, join naturalists to search for the seabirds and marine mammals that flourish in these nutrient-rich waters.
Flexibility in this area is a must. Many of your leaders have been to South Georgia numerous times and, if the weather is in our favor, you may want to make a landing before breakfast or even after dinner. Call at some of the many islands, bays, and coves where you can see outstanding birdlife and elephant and fur seals close at hand. The following is a list of places plan to visit on South Georgia. Some of them are pending final government approval.
Elsehul Bay - This beautiful bay is home to thousands of fur seals as well as macaroni penguins, the most numerous of all penguin species. Listen for the high-pitched trumpeting of king penguins amid the magnificent sounds of marine mammals that echo throughout the bay.
Salisbury Plain - Two glaciers flank Salisbury Plain on South Georgia’s north coast. Here, more than 200,000 king penguins congregate and breed, and we are greeted by one of the more remarkable sights—and sounds—on Earth.
Stromness Bay - Site of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his party’s arrival after their harrowing crossing of the island’s glaciers on foot, Stromness offers views of cliffs and the glacier from which the adventurer and his companions descended.
Grytviken - Go ashore and explore here, discovering the old ruins of this once-active whaling station. The cemetery holds a special fascination, as it is here that Shackleton is buried. Walking along the coast, spy seabirds, penguins, and marine mammals.
Gold Harbour - At the foot of the Bertrab Glacier, Gold Harbour is often referred to as the “jewel in the island’s crown.” In addition to a large king penguin colony, you are likely to see elephant and fur seals, gentoo penguins, giant petrels, and perhaps even some light-mantled albatross.
Your lecture series continues as you venture south. Naturalists recap your memorable visit to South Georgia and introduce you to the history, geology, and wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands.
These mountainous islands were once known as “The Inaccessible Islands.” In winter a solid sheet of fast ice joins this island group to the Antarctic Peninsula, some 450 miles away. A scene of unparalleled beauty awaits, with penguins everywhere, including Adelie, chinstrap, gentoo, and the occasional macaroni penguin.
This morning arrive at Elephant Island, made famous by the Shackleton expedition. Awesome glaciers, speckled with pink algae, create a dramatic backdrop. Weather permitting, enjoy a Zodiac cruise around the island and have an opportunity to view a thriving chinstrap penguin colony.
As you cruise the waters of the Antarctic Peninsula and its adjacent islands, the daily schedule of landings are dependent upon weather and ice conditions. There is the possibility that you may visit a research station and witness the scientific activities conducted by the multinational community of scientists working there. The expeditionary nature of your voyage precludes guaranteeing specific stops; in the past your ship has visited the locations below. This list serves only as a guideline of the places you may experience.
Brown Bluff - Located on the Antarctic continent, the volcanic promontory of Brown Bluff rises 2,450 feet above an ash beach littered with huge and bizarrely shaped boulders. Some 20,000 pairs of Adelie, and hundreds of gentoo penguins, make their home here. Skuas and pintado petrels nest near the top of the cliff and kelp gulls fill the air with perpetual sound and motion.
Deception Island - As you approach Deception through Neptune’s Bellows, a channel just wide enough for your ship to navigate, southern fulmars and pintado petrels soar overhead. Your anchorage is inside a volcano whose collapsed cone was filled by rushing seawater.
Lemaire Channel and Pleneau Island - Cruising the beautiful Lemaire Channel, keep watch for the humpback and minke whales frequently spotted here. This narrow channel is one of the most visually impressive areas of the Antarctic Peninsula. Steep mountain peaks jut out of the sea on both sides, and the waters are often choked with icebergs and frequented by crabeater seals. A stunning labyrinth of grounded icebergs lie in the shallow waters west of Pleneau Island, presenting a superb Zodiac cruising experience. Crabeater and leopard seals haul out on the ice, and elephant seals and gentoo penguins occupy the island itself.
Petermann Island - Discovered by a German expedition in 1873-74 and named after geographer August Petermann, the island is home to the world’s southernmost colony of gentoo penguins. Snow-capped and small at just a mile long by half a mile wide, it offers close-up, picture-perfect scenes of penguins—both gentoo and Adelie—as well as skuas and blue-eyed shags.
During your Drake crossing, have opportunities to see and photograph wandering and black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters and white-chinned petrels. Keep a lookout for whales often seen in these waters.
Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport for your independent flights home.