In the afternoon, embark the m/v Ortelius and sail to the Falkland Islands. As the ship heads towards open ocean, watch for visiting southern right whales, for which Golfo Nuevo is world renowned.
At sea, in the westerlies the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.
In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. On Saunders Island, see the majestic black-browed albatross and their sometimes clumsy landings near their nesting site along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and gentoo penguins are also present here. In the afternoon, if the weather conditions are good, land on the rarely visited Steeple Jason Island on which the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world is located (approx. 113,000). As an alternative, take a walk along the Coast of Carcass Island, where breeding Magellanic and gentoo penguins as well as numerous waders and passerine birds are present.
In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm. In Stanley and the surrounding area see quite an important number of stranded clippers from a century ago. All passengers are free to wander around on their own. A visit to the local church and museum are recommended.
Cross the Antarctic Convergence en route to South Georgia. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature may drop significantly in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship, including several species of albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.
In the afternoon of day 8 arrive at the first landing site in South Georgia. You might visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to possible landings at Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay and Drygalski Fjord with good opportunities to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, such as elephant seals, fur seals, and king penguins. One of the highlights might be a visit to Prion Island, where you may witness the breeding efforts of the huge wandering albatross and enjoy watching their almost fledging chicks test their wings. Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbor do not only house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia, but are also three of the largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals in the world. At this time of the year they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the incredible spectacle of large 4 ton bulls keep a constant vigil and occasionally fight over territories of dozens of females who have just given birth or are just about to deliver.
At Fortuna Bay try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stromness Bay. There and at Grytviken see an abandoned whaling village, where king penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. At Grytviken visit the Whaling History Museum as well as Shackleton´s grave nearby. Depart from South Georgia in the afternoon of day 11.
Spend the day at sea, where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point you might encounter sea ice, and it is at the ice-edge where you might have a chance to see some high Antarctic species like the McCormick skua and snow petrel.
Visit Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel provides a tour of their facilities and its wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
Spend the day at sea cruising towards Antarctica.
Sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs announce the ship's arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Plan to visit Brown Bluff where you may set foot on the continent. In good sailing conditions the expedition may spend more time in the Weddell Sea.
The ship may visit Cierva Cove, in a world of icebergs well-suited for an exploratory Zodiac cruise in search of fantastic photo opportunities. Crabeater seals and leopard seals are often seen here and a small rookery of chinstraps are found on a small island in the bay. The landscape is typical Antarctica with huge glaciated mountains all around. Mikkelson Harbor on the southern side of Trinity Island was discovered by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04. Gentoo penguins nest on the island and Weddell seals often haul out on shore. Here find remains of the early 20th century whaling period and an Argentinean refuge hut.
In Deception Island the ship braves the entrance of the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island. Deception itself is a subducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbor for the ship. Here find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape petrels and many kelp gulls, brown and south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Leave from here and sail through the Shetland Islands, attempting to land at Half Moon Island with a large Chinstrap penguin rookery and the usually non-occupied Argentinean Camara station. From here head to the open sea bound for Ushuaia.
On your way north you are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
Arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark after breakfast. Transfer to the airport for flights home.
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