Embark the Silver Explorer and meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found onboard. This evening, after settling in and setting sail, you will be introduced to your Expedition Team.
Gather in The Theatre to hear fascinating tales of adventure and to learn more about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields. Other onboard diversions include spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
Today’s adventure introduces you to the remarkable beauty of the remote Falkland Islands. New Island is a wildlife and nature reserve, and its many birds and animals are protected by an environmental conservation group. Once ashore, hike into the rocky cliffs to a rookery where rockhopper penguins and blue-eyed shags share the same nesting area. Observe black-browed albatross going about their daily routines and you may even spot upland geese. Your onboard historian will tell you about ‘Barnard's barn’ – a stone structure once belonging to an early settler, as well as the wreck of the Protector III – an old minesweeper used for seal hunting, now grounded just off the shore. In the afternoon, watch for Peale’s dolphins and the distinctive black and white markings of the Commerson’s dolphin as the Silver Explorer approaches this West Point Island. Upon arrival, photographic opportunities are everywhere as you walk across rolling moorland and admire colonies of black-browed albatrosses that nest side-by-side with feisty rockhopper penguins. Learn about the island’s unique vegetation including the rare Felton plant. The hospitable island owners are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.
Begin your day in the capital city of the remote Falkland Islands by boarding 4x4 vehicles for an “off road” adventure. Experienced local drivers will tell you about Falkland farm life en route to Bluff Cove where you will be able to wander amid approximately 1,000 pairs of Gentoo penguins, a growing colony of King penguins and visiting Magellanic penguins from nearby East Island. The site is very photogenic with a large lagoon and a long sandy beach that is occasionally patrolled by sea lions from East Island. Dolphins are regularly seen playing in the surf where the waves break on the beach, and there are a large variety of seabirds to see such as snowy sheathbills, southern giant petrels, pied oyster catchers, white-rumped sandpipers, two-banded plovers, dolphin gulls and South American terns. At the rustic Sea Cabbage Café warm up with complimentary hot drinks and homemade baked goods. Then take a look into the Bluff Cove Museum for a better understanding of life in the Falklands and, in particular, Bluff Cove and its fabulous lagoon wildlife. There may also be an opportunity to watch spinning and felting of local wool. Stanley has a distinct British ambiance, and following your morning at Bluff Cove, there will be time to stroll through the colorful town area along charming streets lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs. Sights include the 19th-century Anglican cathedral, a small local museum and some lingering reminders of the 1986 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina.
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and whales. Attend informative lectures that will prepare you for the upcoming ports-of-call and the adventures that lie ahead. Peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library, enjoy the finest cigars and cognacs at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard ship.
This breathtaking destination of towering snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and low-lying grasslands attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife: Southern fur seals, southern elephant seals and a variety of albatross species including black-browed, light-mantled sooty, grey-headed and the spectacular wandering albatross, plus thousands of king and macaroni penguins. South Georgia is also linked to the early Antarctic explorers. Captain James Cook first stepped ashore in 1775, but perhaps more famous is Ernest Shackleton’s arrival in 1916 following the sinking of his ship, the Endurance. Visit Shackleton’s grave and the whaling museum at Grytviken. Here are some of the places you may visit:. Cooper Bay • An unforgettable view of huge icebergs can be seen surrounding Cooper’s Bay as you approach. • Go ashore by Zodiac to see numerous breeds of penguins, such as macaronis and chinstraps, on the rocks and waters surrounding the island. Gold Harbour • A large king penguin colony can be found between Weddell Glacier and Gold Harbour. • Seals can be seen resting on ice floes and sunning on the beaches. Grytviken • An historic whaling station, all that remain are the rusted hulls of long abandoned whalers. • Now a museum, guests can learn about past whaling techniques and view various exhibits on exploration and discovery. • At the burial site of the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, toast the great explorer and his many accomplishments. Salisbury Plain • A favorite breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of king penguins; it is amazing to see how they completely cover the beaches and hills. • In early March, you may also be able to watch adorable seal pups at play.
As you cross the southern Atlantic, leisurely days at sea are yours to enjoy. Participate in discussions and onboard activities led by the Expedition Team, relax in one of the lounges with that book you’ve been meaning to read, and meet up with new friends for cocktails. Before turning in for the night, take a stroll on deck to take in the solitude of the vast sea and sky.
Watch for whales in the surrounding waters as the Silver Explorer approaches the volcanic Tristan De Cunha island group. Recognized as the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, its closest neighboring landmass is the island of St. Helena some 2,430 km away. The main island is home to fewer than 300 hardy residents. Today enjoy guided walks with the local inhabitants of the village while your onboard geologist will lead a walk to the 1961 Volcanic cone and lava flow. Learn how the islanders were evacuated and how it affected their lives. Once at the top, have a beautiful scenic view of the whole settlement – a photo opportunity not to be missed. Meet with some of the island children and hear what Tristan life is like through their eyes during your visit to St Mary’s School. Your onboard ornithologist will point out birdlife, hopefully including the Atlantic yellow-nosed albatross, sooty albatross, albatross, Tristan thrush, and Tristan wandering albatross – a critically endangered species with fewer than 1,500 breeding pairs left in the world. Tristan is also where 90% of the world’s northern rockhopper penguins come to breed. The itinerary calls for one and a half days exploring this remote archipelago, and (weather permitting) hope to land on either the uninhabited Nightingale Islands or Inaccessible Island, a protected wildlife reserve and World Heritage Site. You will see the most magnificent wildlife, flora and fauna all unspoilt by people. All guests will receive a certificate verifying that they have indeed visited this extremely remote world destination.
Enjoy a variety of onboard activities. Your days at sea are filled with educational lectures and interesting entertainment options. Attend a fascinating lecture by David Guggenheim. All accommodations feature an interactive television system allowing you to watch your choice of movies or documentary films and even recorded broadcasts from the theater in the comfort and privacy of your suite or stateroom.
Arriving in the early evening on Day 21 you are free to enjoy the unique opportunity to explore the vibrant V & A Waterfront in Cape Town Harbour on your own. For your first full day in Cape Town, begin with a scenic drive along the Atlantic seaboard towards Cape Point – the most southwesterly tip of Africa and the meeting point of the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans. At the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve enjoy a guided walk through the reserve accompanied by a botanical specialist. The reserve occupies 7,750 ha of indigenous flora and fauna, as well as Cape Point with its dramatic sea cliffs. A funicular railway will take you to the top of the point, to take in the breathtaking views. Following lunch, pay a visit to the African Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach before continuing on our scenic route back to the quayside. Alternatively, join members of the Expedition Team and travel to the Baphumelele Children’s Home – a place of safety for children who have been orphaned, abandoned, abused or neglected. At the orphanage, enjoy a brief tour and have the chance to assist with various activities such as infant minding, playing with toddlers, reading to the children, general handiwork, and meal preparation in the kitchen. After completing the various tasks assigned and bidding farewell to the children, travel to Mandela Park where you will join the YEP (Youth Empowerment Project) leadership group for a bicycle tour of Khayelitsha. Learn about the organization and their efforts to keep youngsters off the streets. Yur afternoon will conclude with a game of soccer, “Township Style” before returning to the quayside. After breakfast the next day, disembark the Silver Explorer for your continued journey home.
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