The Tierra del Fuego archipelago is home to Ushuaia, at the southern tip of Patagonia. This scenic nature lover’s playground has plenty of hiking trails to explore if you need to escape from all the tasty treats on offer at the many bakeries, shops, cafes and restaurants in town.
This is a day for introductions and getting acquainted with your ship. Meet your fellow shipmates, be introduced to your Expedition Team and snap a few photographs of Ushuaia as you head to sea.
Your Expedition Team will treat you to a number of fun and informative lectures during your time at sea. Reaching the Antarctic Convergence is your first taste of what makes polar travel special. Here, the cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, creating the abundance of marine life that attracts whales and other species to this part of the world.
Once ruled by sealers and whalers, things have changed greatly on South Georgia. You’ll be happy to see that the once exploited and nearly vanquished seal and whale populations are now thriving. Penguins abound here as well, with four different species to be on the lookout for.
Some are a bit elusive, but the king penguins are impossible to miss, as their rookeries here number into the hundreds of thousands! Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife, including the odd elephant seal.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, museum and a small gift shop, church and scientific research station.
Say goodbye to the king penguins and elephant seals, as your next destination is Antarctica! In between presentations on the wildlife, history and geology of Antarctica, you can spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar. If conditions allow, attempt a landfall on the South Orkney Islands, which are officially in Antarctica.
Arriving in Antarctica is often a surprisingly emotional moment. Who knows how you’ll react, but the general reaction is a sense of reverence and awe. No other place on earth is like Antarctica, which is a land of extremes. Complete silence in the middle of the day is something you’re unaccustomed to in your busy life, so Antarctica puts many people into a contemplative mood. But not for too long, as a calving glacier may break the silence or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.
Trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or going on a Zodiac cruise amongst massive icebergs will become daily activities. It won’t take you long to tell the difference between Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals either, which are all found in this part of Antarctica. Curious whales, such as minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving you a chance to get close to these majestic animals.
Every journey is full of surprises, even for our experienced Expedition Team, which means your journey will be unlike any before, or after it. This is untamed, unscripted nature at its best!
Wave goodbye to the penguins as the ship turns northward towards home. Crossing the Drake Passage is considered your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure. Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travelers or listening to the expedition recaps from your Expedition Team.
After a final breakfast together, it is time to part ways. Transfer to the airport for your homeward flight.