Join the Ocean Nova for a magnificent Antarctica cruise with the possibility of sighting 7 different species of penguin! Sail from Ushuaia in Argentina to the Falkland Islands, home to charming rockhopper penguins and graceful albatrosses. Next stop is the remote island of South Georgia, a wildlife haven said to have more wildlife per square meter than any other place on the planet. To watch the huge elephant seals fight for their harems and be greeted by hundreds of thousands of breeding king penguins is a truly unbelievable experience. Continue to the most remote and isolated continent - Antarctica. Here you can explore the dramatic landscapes with gigantic icebergs, scenic channels and bustling penguin colonies.
Experience the world’s most remote continent
Spot up to 7 different species of Penguins
Search for sea birds, seals and whales, including the gigantic elephant seal
Explore nature by Zodiac and experience close encounters with wildlife
Your great Antarctic adventure starts in Ushuaia, beautifully surrounded by snow-covered mountains, where you'll stay one night at a centrally located hotel. This little town is also referred to as the “End of the World”.
Today, visit the southernmost National Park in the world – Tierra del Fuego. Explore this thriving park, filled with dramatic sceneries of forests and mountains. The National Park is home to guanacos, Patagonian foxes and beavers, but also to many bird species such as Magellanic woodpeckers, condors and austral parakeets. In the afternoon, embark your expedition ship and sail along the Beagle Channel. Your expedition cruise has started and you may see penguins straight away! Keep a lookout for Magellanic penguins swimming in the Beagle Channel.
Spend a day at sea followed by a range of sea birds such as petrels, fulmars and albatrosses that gracefully follow the ship. Whales and dolphins may also be seen in the surrounding waters and your polar experts start their exciting lecture program.
The plan is to explore the western islands of the archipelago, which are isolated and windswept but home to many seabirds and migratory birds including the black-browed albatross. You can hope to land on Carcass Island, to encounter nesting Magellanic penguins along with oystercatchers and the flightless steamer duck who is a permanent resident. Weather permitting, go ashore and explore Saunders Island a penguin hotspot that is one of the only places on earth where 4 penguin species nest side by side. Here find gentoo, rockhopper, king and Magellanic penguin rookeries as well as nesting black browed albatross. You can sit on the white sand beach watching the penguins come and go while the striated caracaras patrol overhead.
Next, visit Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. As you wander through the charming streets with small houses and learn how this quiet harbor was once a major port in the 19th century for ships attempting to round the waters of Cape Horn. You'll also make a stop in Stanley’s famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps.
Begin sailing southeast, South Georgia bound. The anticipation grows especially when you cross the Antarctic Convergence and notice a dramatic drop in temperature. Shipboard presentations will continue, featuring the exciting history and abundant wildlife of South Georgia. Wildlife will guide the ship into the island; keep a lookout in the ocean for whales, seals and penguins swimming and diving.
Majestic mountains, mighty glaciers and beaches full of king penguins greet you on the island of South Georgia. Arrive in the beginning of summer when there are few ships in the vicinity and the peaks of the dramatic mountain ranges are still snow-covered. If you are interested in wildlife, South Georgia is a true oasis. Hundreds of thousands of penguins greet us at places like St. Andrew’s Bay and Salisbury Plain. Huge elephant seals lounge on sandy beaches and this time of the year you may see dramatic fights for a position as the king of a harem. The island is also home to several other species of penguin such as macaroni, gentoo and chinstrap penguin, along with the playful and fiesty fur seals. South Georgia played a significant role in Shackleton’s epic adventure. After his ship Endurance sank, he crossed the treacherous ocean in an open lifeboat to reach the islands. You can hope to visit Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken, once an active whaling station, which now houses a charming small museum.
Your ship sets sail towards the world’s most remote continent – Antarctica, faithfully accompanied by many seabirds. Your polar experts continue to fill your minds with heroic stories of some of the earliest daredevils to explore Antarctica. Keep your eyes open for the first iceberg, which may appear on the horizon at any time now!
Day 15-18: South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula
This is a true Antarctic expedition cruise and your exact route the following days is subject to weather and ice conditions. Below are examples of places you may visit.
You can hope to go ashore at Elephant Island, where yo will 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 more than 100 years ago. Following the loss of their ship the men reached Elephant Island after a harrowing ordeal on drifting ice floes. They established a camp at a place they called Point Wild, named after Shackleton’s commander Frank Wild and now the home of nesting chinstrap penguins.
Spend some time cruising among the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula. Dazzling wildlife sightings await on your excursions to some of the islands including King George, Half Moon, Barrientos or Livingston. Adélie, chinstrap and gentoo penguins thrive here, as do several species of seal. Hopefully, you will also have chance to visit the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. Along the coastline of the South Shetlands keep your eyes open for humpback whales foraging for krill.
Continue south along the Antarctic Peninsula, where pack ice still covers large parts of the bays, and watch the experienced officers navigate your ice-strengthened ship. Cruise through labyrinths of icebergs some of which may have resting penguins looking curiously back at you. In good ice conditions, hope to set foot on the Antarctic continent in Hope Bay or Paradise Harbour. The scenery here, from the colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless Antarctic ice sheet, is truly breath-taking.
As you leave this magical place, heading across the Drake Passage, time will be spent sharing and reflecting on the wonderful experiences of the last few days. As you approach the South American continent its possible to see whales, dolphins and seals. Celebrate the conclusion of our Antarctic expedition with a farewell dinner on board.
Day 21: Disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina
In the early morning, after breakfast, disembark in Ushuaia and explore this quaint little town on your own.
This was my first experience with Adventure Life - and I couldn't have been more pleased with the trip. The guides and local staff in both Buenos Aires and Uruguay were terrific - extremely helpful and accommodating. I really enjoyed meeting the friendly staff in Buenos Aires in person (I left my bags with them for the afternoon).