UshuaiaToday is the first day of your adventure. As you board the vessel in Ushuaia, the world's southernmost city on the tip Argentina, and start to become familiar with your 'home' for the next 19 days, one cannot help but wonder about the exciting journey ahead. In the early evening, set sail and begin your voyage leaving behind Ushuaia and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.
At SeaGuests have the chance to spend plenty of time with onboard polar experts. They will be educating guests as we go on the wonders of Antarctica. Sailing northeast, you will likely be joined by swooping seabirds including the wandering albatross, who we will come to know well on this journey.
Arriving in the Falklands overnight, by morning plan to make your first shore excursion. The plan will be 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 will be 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.
At SeaSail southeast bound for the island of South Georgia. These days at sea are never dull. Much of your time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals as well as seabirds. Friendly onboard experts continue to fill minds with heroic stories of some of the earliest daredevils to explore Antarctica. Learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of guides and crew. The anticipation grows particularly as the ship crosses the Antarctic Convergence and notice a dramatic drop in temperature.
South GeorgiaMajestic snow-covered mountains greet you on the island of South Georgia - the most rugged island in this region. Cruise the protected waters of the eastern coast looking for suitable landing spots such as Salisbury Plain and St Andrews Bay. The highlight of both these excursions is the mind-boggling abundance of king penguin adults and young that live in these locations by the hundreds of thousands, covering every inch of the shore. That is not the only wildlife on display. Fur seals can be seen poking their heads above the water, skuas and giant petrels swoop in the skies above, and the albatross, our constant companion is never far away. Explore an old whaling station at Grytviken (Greet-vik-in) and visit the grave of the most famous Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.
At Sea and South OrkneysCross the Scotia Sea, sailing ever closer to Antarctica and visit the South Orkney Islands. Linked to the Antarctic Peninsula by an enormous sub-marine mountain range these islands, often shrouded in mist, are protected by large icebergs and sea ice. If you are lucky, there will be an excursion to Coronation Island to observe penguins nesting in moss beds alongside graceful snow petrels. You may also stop at the remote island of Laurie and visit the Argentinean meteorological station located there.
South Shetlands and Antarctic Peninsula
Elephant Island, en route to the South Shetland Islands, will be your next destination if conditions are suitable. Here, learn more about the famous Antarctic adventures of Sir Ernest Shackleton. This island was a place of refuge in 1916 for Shackleton and his crew after his ship was destroyed by pack ice in the Weddell Sea.
Next, spend some time cruising among the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Dazzling wildlife sightings await your excursions to some of these islands including King George, Half Moon, Aicho or Livingston. Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins thrive here, as do several species of seal. You may see the gentle humpback whale dining on krill off King George Island.
Weather permitting, enter the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. At this recently active volcano the hot, thermal water mixes with the icy, Southern Ocean making this a great place for a quick dip for the more intrepid guest. If you prefer to stay dry, you may choose to enjoy a spectacular walk to the higher points of the crater rim. There is also an abandoned whaling station nearby begging exploration.
Finally, after so much anticipation, arrive at the Antarctic mainland in Paradise Harbor or Hope Bay. The scenery here from the colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless Antarctic ice sheet is truly breathtaking. Weather permitting, undertake a shore excursion and set foot on the White Continent itself.
Drake PassageLeave this magical place and make your way back, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn. No doubt that time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. Sailing down the Beagle Channel, celebrate the conclusion of your Polar expedition at a special dinner.
UshuaiaIn the early morning, arrive back in Ushuaia. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travelers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home.