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Kayaking the polar waters

The Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctic Peninsula

Example 20 Day Cruise aboard Akademik Sergey Vavilov
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This 20-day polar cruise is the most far-reaching expedition, taking in three different locations. Explore the wild and remote environments of the sub-Antarctic Falkland Islands and the island of South Georgia, home to a proliferation of unique wildlife and birdlife. Discover penguin rookeries with more than 100,000 nesting birds and beaches covered in fur seals and elephant seals. After exploring these sub-Antarctic islands, continue to push south to the frozen continent itself, Antarctica. Icebergs in all shapes and sizes fill the waters, and yet more unique wildlife are found living in sizable colonies. The waters are full of life and you can frequently encounter whales including humpback, minke, and orca.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia | Embark
Day 2 : At Sea
Days 3-4 : Falkland Islands
Days 5-6 : At Sea
Days 7-9 : South Georgia
Days 10-13 : Scotia Sea Crossing | South Shetland Islands | Antarctica
Days 14-15 : South Shetlands and Antarctic Peninsula
Days 16-17 : Antarctic Sound and Elephant Island
Days 18-19 : At Sea towards the Falkland Islands
Day 20 : Port Stanley | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas

Highlights

  • Visit West Point's bustling rookeries of rockhopper penguins
  • Begin your exploration of South Georgia in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay
  • Explore the Antarctic Peninsula's coastline by kayaks and Zodiac boats
  • Join your photographic guide and take close-up photos of the penguins

Ship

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Kayaking the polar waters An elephant seal peeks out of the water around South Georgia Kayaking through the icy waters. A huge colony of king penguins. Icebergs reflected in Antarctica's Paradise Bay

Day 1 Ushuaia | Embark

Your epic journey to the Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. Gather at a central meeting point and transfer to the pier and embark your expedition ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov. After settling in to your cabin and exploring the ship, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner and cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.

Day 2 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sailing northeast towards the Falkland Islands, hundreds of seabirds join the ship, including the wandering albatross, who you come to know well on this journey. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and your photography expert is on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of the modern research vessel. Throughout the day your onboard experts educate you with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife, and history of the Southern Ocean and the locations the ship may visit in the coming days.

Day 3-4 Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Arriving in the Falklands overnight, by morning plan to make your first shore excursion. The plan is to explore the islands of the West Falkland Archipelago, home to a profusion of seabirds and migratory birds including the black-browed albatross. The first penguin sightings are on the island of West Point with its bustling rookeries of rockhoppers. On Carcass Island, observe nesting Magellanic penguins along with oystercatchers, geese, and the flightless steamer duck who is a permanent Falkland resident.

The next day stop in Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. Wander through the charming streets of brightly-painted houses and learn how this quiet harbor was once a major port in the 19th century for ships attempting to round the formidable waters of Cape Horn. Make a stop in Stanley's famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps.

Day 5-6 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds once again join you in the Southern Ocean. Educational presentations continue and are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps pick up some valuable tips from your onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle polar light, and all the basics of good camera craft. Also learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of the Expeditions’ guides and crew.

Day 7-9 South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and, as you approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you begin to see why. Launching the zodiacs, begin your exploration of the island in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay, and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross and they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest.

The scenery is spectacular and the snowy peaks of the island make you pause to consider the incredible feat of mountaineering when Shackleton and his exhausted companions traversed the island from the wild south coast in 1916. They arrived into Stromness whaling station, having crossed from King Haakon Bay, to raise the alarm that eventuated in the rescue of his men on Elephant Island in Antarctica, 100 years ago.

South Georgia is a thrilling location for history buffs and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around you. Observe several of the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik, and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here you visit the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. For many, being in the presence of the great explorer is a highlight of the trip. There’s an excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust, and the restored church, built by the original Norwegian whalers, provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Day 10-13 Scotia Sea Crossing | South Shetland Islands | Antarctica

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
After several busy days the exploration of South Georgia is complete and your attention now turns south, towards Antarctica. As you edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce your arrival in Antarctic waters. Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland lies the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sites might include King George Island, Half Moon Island, Yankee Harbour, or Hannah Point. Weather conditions permitting, sail into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. There are some outstanding hikes at these locations and the old whaling station and aircraft hangar at Deception Island beg for further exploration. Excitement is in the air as you navigate into the Bransfield Strait.

Day 14-15 South Shetlands and Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
After so much anticipation, enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula, likely in the vicinity of Mikkelson Harbour or Cierva Cove. Snow-covered mountains soar from the dark waters. Along the shoreline in the bays and harbors of the Peninsula lives an incredible abundance of wildlife. Large rookeries are home to chinstrap, gentoo, and Adelie penguins. Seals live on the ice floes, including the powerful leopard seal that you may encounter. Gulls, skuas, and cormorants are also found nesting and feeding at many sites along the Antarctic Peninsula.

Explore by zodiac boat and ashore where a range of wonderful activities await. Locations you may visit include Wilhelmina Bay, Orne Harbour, Cuverville Island, and the Errera Channel. Join the photographic guide and go take close-up photos of the penguins, or of the impossibly blue ice. Or enjoy a hike to the top of a snowy mountain saddle with one of your adventure guides. If the opportunity presents itself, visit a science base or an old historic hut. The sea kayakers may range up to several miles from the ship, for a truly memorable experience. Each and every day, you have a range of great choices.

Day 16-17 Antarctic Sound and Elephant Island

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Head north along the peninsula towards Antarctic Sound, the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As the ship navigates into this broad expanse, witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. It is an awe-inspiring sight. Notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation on the ship – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far. This area is home to some of the largest Adelie penguin rookeries in all of Antarctica, some with a nesting population of up to 100,000 birds.

Having investigated the entrance to the Weddell Sea, approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species you have yet to encounter to date. Both southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals are hauled out on the beaches in large numbers. If conditions permit visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, before he and five companions set off on their rescue mission to South Georgia. It’s a major thrill to visit yet another important location connected to the Shackleton story.

Day 18-19 At Sea towards the Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Your final days are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the multi-media room with your photography expert. For some, it’s a chance to catch some well-earned rest after almost three weeks of exploration. The wonderful lounge and bar on your ship provide fantastic panoramas and are a great place to sit with a book and a coffee. The educational presentations continue and you can enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by your Expedition Leader. A particular highlight of your return journey is frequent sightings of the majestic albatross, petrels, and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Southern Ocean. Take the time to enjoy a quiet moment on the outer deck, reflecting on a truly remarkable journey to the farthest reaches of the planet. Cruising up the coastline of the Falkland Islands in the soft evening light, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

Day 20 Port Stanley | Disembark | Fly to Punta Arenas

  • 1 Breakfast
In the early morning, navigate through the narrows and into port. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly-colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral, and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town before you make your way to the airport for your return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). 

Akademik Sergey Vavilov

Per person starting at
$13,095
The Triple Cabins.
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Triple Share
Bunk beds and a sofa bed. Facilities are shared and there is a washbasin in the cabin, writing desk, porthole.
Twin Private Cabins.
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Twin Semi-Private
1 lower berth, 1 sofa bed and semi-private (one bathroom between two cabins) facilities. Writing desk, window.
Twin Private Cabin.
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Twin Private
1 sofa bed, 1 lower berth and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Superior Cabins.
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Superior
2 lower berths, sofa and private facilities. Writing desk, window.
The Shackelton Suite.
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Shackleton Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.
One Ocean Suite.
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One Ocean Suite
1 double berth, 1 sofa bed, separate sleeping quarters and private facilities, up-graded bedding. Fridge, TV, VCR, writing desk, windows.

Notes

- Single Supplement: 1.5x for twin and superior cabins and 2x for suites. Single supplement is not available in the triple cabin category.

- Child and Youth Prices: 25% discount for young people aged up to 17 years, and 20% off for those aged from 18-21 years who can prove they are in full-time education.

Please Note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and is subject to change.

Included in Cost:
- Flight from Port Stanley to Punta Arenas
- Transfers from/to designated meeting points to/from the ship
- Luggage transfer from designated locations to/from your cabin
- All meals during the voyage
- Welcome reception & welcome dinner
- Farewell dinner hosted by the Captain
- Daily afternoon tea with fresh snacks
- Coffee, tea & hot chocolate available anytime
- Access to wellness area (Finnish Sauna, Plunge Pool filled with sea water, Hot Tub)
- Natural essential oil amenities
- Services of English speaking medical officer
- Use of multimedia room
- Use of on-board expedition rubber boots & wet weather gear
- All zodiac and landing excursions
- Zodiac cruising, hiking, guided walks, photography workshops, fitness & yoga
- Camping (subject to weather and ice conditions)
- Educational presentations
- Photography advice and instructions from the resident photographer
- Expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff

Not Included in Cost:
- International and national airfares
- Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
- Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival/departure cities
- Meals & transfers in arrival/departure cities
- Personal expenses
- Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
- Massages from registered therapist
- Personal laundry charges
- Postage, telephone calls & email set up
- Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
- Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
- Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
- Gratuities to staff and crew

Included

  • 19 Breakfasts, 18 Lunches, 19 Dinners
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Jessica L

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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
Lisa Bridge

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