Learn about Antarctica´s unique geology, history, and wildlife on this 23-day diverse expedition aboard the Ocean Diamond. See the incredible wildlife of South Georgia - more than 30 species of breeding birds, including four species of penguins - and explore by Zodiac the shores of the Antarctic Peninsula, filled with penguins and seals. Sail south and cross the Antarctic Circle, home of the midnight sun and the most fantastic iceberg sightings.
Meet the Falkland´s three species of penguins and two endemic bird species
Visit Sir Shackleton´s gravesite, also home to an old whaling station
Zodiac cruise in search for minke whales, penguins, and leopard seals
Cross the Antarctic Circle, home of the midnight sun and fantastic icebergs
Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia has a small-town feel yet boasts many shops, museums, cafés and restaurants that you can enjoy before your voyage. If you’re feeling adventurous, the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking.
As you embark, the anticipation and excitement grows for what lies ahead. As every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. They’re onboard to ensure your comfort and safety, as well as help make your wildlife dreams come true.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. You could learn to identify the seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend the illustrated presentations by the Expedition Team who prepare you for the shore landings and Zodiac cruising that is to come.
The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands - East and West, which you have the opportunity to explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier-type feel to them, especially at Port Stanley - the largest settlement on the islands. It’s an interesting British outpost type place, where you may just as easily wander into a pub, a church, or a museum.
With your camera at hand, your wildlife sightings in the Falklands should include at least three species of penguins and two endemic bird species - Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck. Your team of lecturers and specialists are ready to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you get the most out of a memorable time in the Falklands.
En-route to South Georgia cross the invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica – the Antarctic Convergence. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts large cetaceans, such as humpback whales.
Evidence of the old whaling and sealing heydays is still found throughout the island. Be surprised to learn that the whale and seal populations were once decimated here, as today their populations are strong, with massive rookeries to be seen.
One significant and historic site of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. His grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station and a research station, is a day for reflecting on what it must’ve been like to be one of the first explorers to this unforgiving, yet beautiful environment.
While South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife on South Georgia that you and your shipmates find the most captivating. Often referred to as the ‘Galapagos of the Poles,’ South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on South Georgia opens your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife. One day you may see rookeries with a hundred thousand pairs of king penguins waddling on the beach. The next day you may visit another beach with thousands of fur or elephant seals.
The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different bird and animal species. Your Expedition Team are happy to share their knowledge of how these vulnerable relationships all play out on the island.
Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While you’re at sea, you can enjoy some quiet time or take in presentations by the Expedition Team covering everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes them each unique.
Day 14-16: South Shetland Islands | Antarctic Peninsula
The most common reaction to arriving at the white continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words. Discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes; at one moment you are overcomed with a feeling of complete silence and loneliness, then the next you are lauging at the comical antics of a curious penguin.
Glacier hikes, visits to research bases and, of course, communing with the seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling each and every day. Perhaps you can catch sight of the fearless penguin-eater, the leopard seal, or come eye to eye with a curious minke whale while out on a Zodiac ride. Each day and each landing presents a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera shutter busy.
If you find yourself wanting more, then perhaps you can treat yourself by booking the kayaking adventure option (reserve in advance when booking your trip) or if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, a little shock therapy courtesy of a polar plunge might be what you need!
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Peninsula do not come close to reaching this far south. With a toast to the first explorers who ventured here, you can raise a glass of champagne and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world still visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home to the midnight sun, with potential for some fantastic iceberg sightings.
If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you surely are satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. Continue to journey onto land by Zodiac twice daily as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.
Your Expedition Team always stays alert on the lookout for species of penguins, seals, and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
After more than twenty days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.
Day 23: Disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina
After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team and fellow travelers. Transfer to the airport for your homeward flights.
We are so glad that we chose Adventure Life. The service is top-notch. Everything is well taken care of and we just have to print the documents and go. Franny even gave us timely updates on possible airport strike.