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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia

South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey

Example 21 Day Cruise aboard Greg Mortimer
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Summer comes to South Georgia’s remote, untamed landscape like a freight train. Famed for its abandoned whaling stations and Shackleton’s heroic journey, South Georgia is home to millions of fur seals and penguins, wallows of elephant seals, and nesting albatross. We arrive at the breeding cycle peak, as chicks become juveniles, parents shuttle fish and seal pups thrill with mock charges. Retracing Shackleton’s boat voyage, we visit Elephant Island before continuing south along the Antarctic Peninsula. Days remain long, and filled with humpback and minke whales, penguins and leopard seals, historic sites and scientific stations. 
 

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Ushuaia
Day 2 : Ushuaia | Embark
Days 3-4 : Drake Passage | South Shetlands
Days 5-7 : Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea
Day 8 : Elephant Island
Days 9-10 : Scotia Sea
Days 11-15 : South Georgia
Days 16-18 : Scotia Sea
Days 19-20 : Falkland Islands | Toward Ushuaia
Day 21 : Ushuaia | Disembark

Highlights

  • Visit Point Wild on Elephant Island
  • Discover South Georgia's king penguins, seals and seabirds
  • Lookout for wondrous wildlife breeding cycles at their peak
  • Watch for whale-sightings while crossing the Scotia Sea

Ship

Greg Mortimer

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Port Lockroy landing Whale breaching the Antarctic waters Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Elephant Seals Antarctic landscape

Day 1 Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only).

Day 2 Ushuaia | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Dinner
Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and loading onto the ship. After breakfast, you have time at leisure before meeting in the hotel lobby to commence a half day tour of Ushuaia at 1.00 PM.

Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this half day introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighborhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the End of the World Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 PM. Please note that opening hours to the museum can change without notice, and if the End of the World Museum is closed, you may visit the nearby Old Prison Museum.

As the Greg Mortimer pulls away from port, gather on the deck to commence your adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.

Day 3-4 Drake Passage | South Shetlands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As you commence the Drake Passage crossing, make the most of your time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Your expedition team prepare you for your first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment. Your wildlife experiences begin as you enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in your wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

Nearing the tip of the South Shetland Islands on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on the bridge watching for your first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once you are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime.

Day 5-7 Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
After making your first exciting landing in Antarctica, head through the Antarctic Sound to the eastern side of the Peninsula to reach the Weddell Sea.
Access to the Weddell is heavily dependent on ice conditions, and your experienced leader will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day. Aim to make landings or Zodiac excursions two, and occasionally three, times a day. Days will be spent cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following whales that are feeding near the surface, and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few other favorite spots along the peninsula.

There are many exciting places to visit. A sample of some of the places where you may land, hike, photograph or view spectacular wildlife follows:

Brown Bluff
Situated on the eastern side of Tabarin Peninsula, the spectacular 745-meter promontory of Brown Bluff towers over some 20,000 nesting pairs of Adélie penguins and hundreds of Gentoo penguins. Nesting skuas, snow petrels and pintados inhabit the upper slopes and kelp gulls screech overhead. Brown Bluff's volcanic origins have created some fantastically shaped boulders that lie scattered across the ash beach and make colorful nesting sites for some of the penguins.

Paulet Island
This tiny volcanic island forms the nesting grounds of some 120,000 pairs of Adélie penguins, and the surrounding seas literally teem with penguins. There is also a blue-eyed shag colony situated at one end of Paulet's long beach front. Leopard seals are often seen cruising offshore, in search of their next meal. Weddell seals sometimes haul out here for a quiet nap on the beach. Apart from its plentiful wildlife, Paulet is also rich in the history of Antarctic exploration, for it was here that the 22 men of Larsen's ship Antarctic arrived on 28 February 1903 after their ship had sunk. The men wintered on Paulet, living on penguins and seals until eventually Larsen’s and Nordenskjold’s parties were rescued by the frigate Uruguay.

James Clark Ross Island
Separated from Trinity Peninsula by Prince Gustav Channel, the beaches and rocks of this mighty island are a mix of volcanic and sedimentary; creating a geologists’ paradise. The beaches are populated with kelp gulls while Antarctic terns and skuas nest on the island's higher slopes. Many of the island's rocks are decorated with bright red and orange lichens, presenting fantastic photographic opportunities. Ice floes in the surrounding waters provide temporary floating homes for Weddell and Leopard Seals. We may walk up to Hidden Lake, following a stream rich in fossilised remains of deciduous trees, ferns, and even clamshells. If ice conditions and time permit, we may also circumnavigate this fantastic island; a rarely-accomplished feat.

Devil Island
This very rarely-visited island was named for its two striking peaks or 'horns'. It is the nesting site for some 10,000 pairs of Adelie penguins. If weather conditions permit, we may walk up a scree slope to the top of the island's western peak. A few hundred meters in height, the summit provides superb views into Erebus and Terror Gulf. On the upper slopes, you may even see nesting snow petrels and Wilson's Storm Petrels. For those who are less active, the continuous commute of penguins on the beach and the accompanying skua population provide endless fascination. We may also cruise in our zodiacs amongst the large numbers of icebergs that are often grounded offshore.

View Point, Duse Bay
View Point is one of the few places where we may be able to set foot on the Antarctic continent proper. A British hut was built here in 1953 and an Argentine refuge hut was established a few years later. In front of the old hut are the remains of crabeater seal carcasses, which provided food for the sledge dogs. Thanks to the cold conditions, the well-preserved hut looks just as it did all those years ago – a fascinating place to get a feeling for the olden days of Antarctic exploration.
Other places we may visit around the Weddell Sea area and on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula are:
  • Joinville Island
  • D'Urville Island
  • Hope Bay
  • Seymour Island
  • Snow Hill Island
  • Vega Island, Prince Gustav Channel
  • Beak Island
  • Crystal Hill
  • Herbert Sound
NOTE: If weather and ice conditions prevent us from accessing the eastern side of the Peninsula and the Weddell Sea, your Expedition Leader may choose to make landings on the Western side of the Peninsula instead. You Expedition Leader will communicate this to you during your voyage.

Day 8 Elephant Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, if weather permits, set course for Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetlands. You’ll learn the story of Shackleton and hear how his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, before him and his men climbed into three open boats, spending 16 months at sea, before finally making landfall on this tiny toe of rock and ice in the vastness of the Southern Ocean on 14 April 1916.

Plan to sail past Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men first put ashore over 100 years ago. Weather permitting; you can hope to follow the coastline six miles west to Point Wild, where the men eventually set up camp under two of their upturned open boats and some old tents. If weather permits, attempt to make a landing on historic Point Wild, Elephant Island.

Day 9-10 Scotia Sea

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Follow in Shackleton’s wake across the Scotia Sea, watching for great whales and big icebergs riding up from the Weddell Sea. It’s a great time to relax and reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far, and your naturalist and historian start their talks on South Georgia’s wildlife and history.

Day 11-15 South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
South Georgia is one of the world’s most amazing natural environments. Just a speck in the vastness of the South Atlantic Ocean, and lying wholly within the Antarctic Convergence, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a life-sustaining haven to some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife. The surrounding sea is one of the most productive areas on Earth and supports the life of millions of seals, whales, penguins and other seabirds.

A 3,000-meter mountain range forms the spine of this long, narrow island. Between the mountains, shattered glaciers carve their way through tussock grass to the deeply indented coastline – a landscape that is synonymous with the epic expedition of survival by Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean. Abandoned rusting whaling stations and remnants of explorers reflect a time of long ago, while summer workers conduct scientific and regeneration projects.

Politically speaking, South Georgia lies north of 60° South latitude and is therefore not part of the Antarctic Treaty. It is a wholly British possession, claimed and named for King George III on 16 January 1775 by Captain James Cook.

Day 16-18 Scotia Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Keeping watch for the kelp-skirted Shag Rocks, you will cross the Scotia Sea, entertained by your expert naturalist and historian.

Day 19-20 Falkland Islands | Toward Ushuaia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
You will round the Falkland Islands, making a landing or two before continuing onward to Ushuaia.

Day 21 Ushuaia | Disembark

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning disembark in Ushuaia after breakfast.

Greg Mortimer

Ushuaia - Hotels

Per person starting at
$18,800
Greg Mortimer-Aurora Stateroom
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Aurora Stateroom
Greg Mortimer features 15 porthole rooms, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms, perfect for adventurers who are looking for a comfortable base that's close to the action. *6 of these cabins are available as triple cabins on select departures.
Balcony Stateroom C
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Balcony Stateroom C
14 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Balcony Stateroom B
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Balcony Stateroom B
22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Greg Mortimer Balcony Suite
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Balcony Stateroom A
22 rooms available. All include en-suite bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows and balconies and a select number are also connecting rooms, perfect for families or groups.
Balcony Suite
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Balcony Suite
With a bit more room to stretch the legs, the Greg Mortimer's two Balcony Suites are perfect for polar adventurers who travel with plenty of gear. Featuring private balconies, en-suite bathrooms and a comfortable desk area, these will sell out quickly!
Greg Mortimer- Junior Suite
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Junior Suite
The Greg Mortimer's four Junior Suites take in some impressive scenery from their vantage points on Deck 7. When you aren't enjoying a landing, you can relax in the suites' separate lounge area, or just watch the world float by from the private balcony.
Greg Mortimer- Captain's Suite
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Captain's Suite
The largest of all the rooms, the Greg Mortimer's singular Captain's Suite will take you to the polar regions in ultimate style and comfort. Complete with large lounge area, balcony, walk-in wardrobe and en-suite.

Notes

Voyage Inclusions:
  • One night pre-voyage hotel accommodation and luggage transfer to ship on embarkation day
  • Group transfer from ship to downtown or airport post voyage
  • Fully-serviced accommodation in your chosen stateroom
  • Daily shore excursions, guided walks, Zodiac cruises
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information kit and destination resource guide
  • An experienced team of destination specialists and activity leaders
  • An informative and entertaining lecture program by our team of experts
  • Daily breakfast, lunch and dinner including house wines, beers and soft drinks, afternoon tea and snacks
  • Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
  • Pre-dinner drinks including canapes and bar snacks
  • Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket
  • Complimentary use of gumboots
  • Complimentary use of fitness center
  • Complimentary access to on board expedition doctor and medical clinic
  • Personalised photo book (post voyage)
  • Entry fees to historic or tourist sites
  • Port, pilotage charges and landing fees
  • Voyage Exclusions
  • International or domestic flights to or within South America, unless specified
  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, and email or phone charges.
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
Jack Charney

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