Arrive at your expedition hotel at the end of the world in Puerto Madryn, Argentina. Tonight, meet the team and enjoy your outstanding Explorer Dinner to launch your Antarctic expedition. Relax and savor Argentina’s delicious food and wines as you watch the sunset over the surrounding mountains. Hotel and Dinner included.
After a brilliant morning investigating the town of Puerto Madryn, board your highly acclaimed ice ship, the Sea Adventurer, destined to explore the planet’s most remote and majestic wilderness regions. Depart in the afternoon bound for the amazing Falkland Islands which are bursting with wildlife at this time of year. Breakfast and dinner, included.
Today, the expedition lecture team begins their comprehensive education series covering the fascinating history, flora and fauna of the remote Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Up on deck and from the bridge, wildlife watches identify local dolphins, seabirds and whales as you steam ever south.
At the tiny outposts of Carcass Island, visit rolling, wind-swept settlements that support sheep, seabird colonies and a number of charismatic “Islanders”. Here see magellanic, gentoo and rock-hopper penguins and an abundance of shore birds. Enjoy tea with island owners. The island of Steeple Jason is a wonder of the world with the largest black-browed albatross rookery on earth, astounding scenery and gentoo penguins. The scenery is unbeatable. One of the crew's favorite landings and a great way to kick-off your Antarctic cruise.
Port Stanley is the capital of the Falkland Islands and residents are recognized for their warm hospitality and British traditions. Spend the day visiting the local museum, post office, shops and pubs in this town reminiscent of a small hamlet in England. Expedition guides will spin tales of the region, its fascinating history and hearty settlers.
As your ship sails towards South Georgia Island, the “Galapagos of the South”, begin your special Shackleton Centenary program celebrating 100 years since the famed Endurance Expedition. Exploration history comes alive as you enter the realm of the great explorers. Wildlife watches are on the lookout for the largest resident whales - blue, fin, sei and right whales - as you cross the Scotia Sea. Your ship crosses into the Antarctic Ocean and the first icebergs begin to appear.
Arrival to this most amazing island of South Georgia, jewel of the Southern Ocean. Make an historic arrival on South Georgia at King Haakon Bay, the site of Shackleton’s landfall almost 100 years ago. This rarely seen side of the island features untouched beaches, headlands, mountains & glaciers. If conditions permit, retrace Shackleton’s route onto Shackleton Gap to view the island’s rugged interior. Enjoy an outing to see famed Pegotty Bluff, where Shackleton and his men stayed under their lifeboat after crossing from Antarctica. Nesting Wandering Albatross are sometimes seen here. Stop at Cape Rosa, the first landfall for Shackleton, on the way out of the bay. Killer whales are also possible to see here.
South Georgia’s northern beaches have more biomass of wildlife per square meter than any other place on earth. At the Bay of Isles, visit a colony of endangered wandering albatrosses - seabirds with a wingspan of up to 3.5 meters (11 feet)! To see these creatures on the nest is a true rarity and a spectacle to behold. In the afternoon, hope to stop at Salisbury Plain, a vast field of wildlife and tussock grass. Here observe mating and pupping Elephant seals, over 100,000 king penguins and two beautiful landings featuring king and macaroni penguins, fur and elephant seals, and grey-headed and black-browed albatrosses. The sheer volume of wildlife is astounding with a back-drop of towering jagged peaks.
Two incredible stops on the North Eastern side of South Georgia. Elsehul introduces you to the most beautiful Grey-headed Albatross at an accessible rookery on the hillside. A short walk from the beach takes you to the other side of South Georgia where you can look out over a dramatic view from above. Fur seals and leopard seals are common sights. Optional, longer hikes will be on offer and Zodiac cruises will take guests to see Rock-hopper Penguins and the sealer caves. Black-browed alnatross circle above the hillsides gliding on the Ocean winds. At Hercules Bay, experience a wonder of the world – thousands of Elephant Seals come here in October to breed and give birth to their pups. Walking on the beach, witness to incredible sights and experiences as king penguins, mingle with south giant petrels, skuas, elephant and leopard seals and more. An enormous waterfall provides the perfect complement to the scene.
On this trip, have the honor to sail with the South Georgia Museum curators, Tim and Pauline Carr. They know virtually everything about the island and will share brilliant tales as you investigate their award-winning museum and the whaling station ruins and church. The island maintains a significant whaling history from the early 1900’s. Later, travel to Fortuna Bay to walk and hike the final leg of Shackleton’s famed crossing into Stromness Whaling Station making you true explorers. Other optional outings include Zodiac cruises to the abundant waterfalls in Fortuna Bay.
Today reach Gold Harbor and St. Andrew’s Bay on South Georgia’s east side. These magnificent landings are alive with over 100,000 pairs of king penguins which blanket the valley floor. Battling elephant seals, nesting light-mantled sooty albatrosses, and a multitude of seabirds also inhabit these shores. Photography, exploration and hiking activities will venture into the majestic South Georgia wilderness while guides tell of the island’s natural history. A day here is unforgettable.
Sail further south as the temperature declines and huge tabular icebergs appear. Sea Adventurer navigates towards the South Orkney Islands, a tiny archipelago that lies in Antarctica. Lecturer/guides continue with presentations on oceanography, science, history and photography. All things Antarctic are covered to prepare us for the experiences to follow. Whales and seabirds, including wandering albatrosses, are common sights.
Welcome to Antarctica! Hope to visit Orcada Science Base on this isolated outpost. Orcadas is one of the oldest operating bases in the Southern Ocean and while ashore, visit the remains of the stone wintering over hut and a tiny museum from Scottish explorer, William Bruce’s expedition. Guides will lead a walk to the explorer’s cemetery at Jessie Bay while interpreting local wildlife.
The crown jewel of Antarctic landings is rugged and exposed Point Wild, Elephant Island. The unparalleled history of the Endurance Crew, the enormous chinstrap rookery and the towering spire rock formations combine to create an unforgettable introduction to Antarctica. This island is truly wild and the scenery is jaw-dropping. Southern Right Whales have been spotted here. A special presentation by your leaders on the making of the Shackleton IMAX will enhance your experience.
This area features colossal city-block sized icebergs from the recent collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf. A morning landing at the spectacular Danger Islands introduces you to an estimated one million Adelie penguins. High point views of the ice-filled Weddell Sea are breath-taking. Continuing in the wake of explorers, your afternoon adventure is at historic Paulet Island, home to half a million penguins and hut remnants from the 1901 Swedish Nordenskjold Expedition. For the active, enjoy a hike to the top of this Antarctic volcano with lecturer and Antarctic explorer, David Hahn. Zodiac cruises and photography workshops complement the shore experience as your guides showcase the many wonders.
Today visit the heart of THE ICE and set foot on the Antarctic Continent. Hemmed in by hanging glaciers and incredible ice cliffs, make several landings at Paradise Bay, Neko Harbour, Cuverville Island and Spigot Peak. Within this majestic ice-covered world, you are fortunate to partake in once-in-a-lifetime “explore” outings and up close encounters with whales from Zodiacs all surrounded by stunning scenery.
Awaken as your ship enters the caldera of geologically famed Deception Island. Here choose between walks and hikes, an Antarctic swim in geothermic waters, Zodiac cruises or exploring the abandoned whaling station and, if weather permits, a visit to the 200,000 - strong chinstrap penguin rookery at Bailey Head. During lunch, sail to Hannah Point, a common feeding ground for whales as well as voracious penguin-eating leopard seals. “Nature’s Zoo”, this landing features three species of penguins, five species of seabirds, three species of seals, ancient fossils and towering cliffs.
As you sail the Drake Passage, be entertained with presentations on the Antarctic Treaty, environment and expeditions to the South Pole and beyond. Your team of experts recaps this grand journey as you celebrate the unparalleled experience of having retraced the footsteps of Shackleton and the Endurance Expedition. Birding opportunities abound as you cross the Antarctic Convergence.
Amid reeling flocks of black-browed albatrosses, petrels and prions, your ship approaches historic Cape Horn. This dramatic Cape is famed for the challenge it posed to sailors making their way to the Far East. Cross from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean just offshore of this famous landmark. With evening approaching, enter the Beagle Channel and enjoy a special Explorers’s Farewell Dinner.
In the early morning, disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the local airport for flights to Buenos Aires or join an optional three-day/four night extension to discover the secrets of Tierra del Fuego, its history, people, wildlife and tremendous scenery.