Day 1 Punta Arenas to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark
Your journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. Meet at the airport and fly to Stanley in the Falkland Islands (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). After a short flight, you are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral, and several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980s, is a sobering reminder of recent history. There is time to explore the town before making your way to the ship for embarkation. After settling in to your cabin and exploring the ship, meet the expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner, and cast off for the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 2 Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Having cruised down the eastern coastline of the Falkland Islands overnight, the ship is now at the far southeastern end of the archipelago. Here lies the remote Sea Lion Island which features a barren and windswept landscape. Launch the zodiacs and go ashore to view the wildlife colonies found here. Three species of penguin including gentoo, Magellanic and rockhopper exist in the vicinity. Southern elephant seals and South American sea lions are found hauled out on the beaches. Once ashore, look for king cormorants and striated caracaras. The steamer duck is another known resident. Pending good weather conditions, visit neighboring Bleaker Island, another settlement on this remote eastern coast of the Falklands. In the evening, sail into the Scotia Sea towards South Georgia.
Day 3-4 At Sea
- 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The ship now charts a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. Spend time on the outer decks watching the giant albatross and numerous petrels as they duck and weave on the winds of the South Atlantic. Educational presentations commence and are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. An onboard photographic guide can give you valuable tips about image composition, the subtle polar light, and all the basics of good camera craft.
Day 5-8 South Georgia
- 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Today, the ship will approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs, you will begin your exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest.
South Georgia is a thrilling location for history lovers and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us. You can visit the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay.
Day 9-11 Towards Antarctica and Elephant Island
- 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Weather and ice dictate the ship's crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica, leading you perhaps to the South Orkney Islands or Elephant Island. As with all itinerary planning, the expedition leader and captain make a decision based on the conditions at the time.
The South Orkney Islands represent the peaks of a submarine mountain range called the Scotia Arc, connecting South Georgia to the South Shetland Islands. Often shrouded in fog and surrounded by ice much of the year, a chance to visit these islands doesn’t come often.
Edging ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce the ship's arrival in Antarctic waters. If conditions allow, hope to see the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon and attempt a landing at Point Wild.
Day 12-16 South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
- 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners
Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland lies the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sites here could include King George Island, Half Moon Island, Yankee Harbour, or Hannah Point. Weather conditions permitting, the ship sails into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. There are some outstanding hikes at these locations and the old whaling station and aircraft hangar at Deception Island beg for further exploration.
After so much anticipation, enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in the vicinity of Mikkelson Harbour or Cierva Cove. Snow-covered mountains soar from the dark waters. Along the shoreline in the bays and harbors of the Peninsula lives an incredible abundance of wildlife. Large rookeries are home to chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins. Seals live on the ice floes, including the powerful leopard seal. Gulls, skuas and cormorants are also found nesting and feeding at many sites along the Antarctic Peninsula.
Explore by zodiac boat and ashore where a range of wonderful activities await. Join the photographic guide and go take close up photos of the penguins, or of the impossibly blue ice. Enjoy a hike to the top of a snowy mountain saddle with one of the adventure guides. If the opportunity presents itself, visit a science base or an old historic hut. The sea kayakers may range up to several miles from the ship, for a truly memorable experience. Each and every day, you have a range of great choices.
Day 17 King George Island, Disembark | Return to South America
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning, you will say goodbye to the expedition team and transfer ashore by Zodiac. Walk from the shore landing site past the Chilean research station and up towards the airstrip where we board our special charter flight. This flight takes a little over two hours and is included in the price of your voyage. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas a transfer from the airport into town is provided.
Please Note: This itinerary includes a complimentary post-voyage hotel night in Punta Arenas for all guests returning from voyages that conclude at King George Island. This evening is at your leisure. Punta Arenas is home to some cozy restaurants, cafes and bars – including the historic ‘Shackleton Bar’ at the Hotel Jose Nogueira – a fitting location to reflect on your journey to Antarctica.
Day 18 Punta Arenas
After breakfast and check-out, make your own way to the airport for your onward journey. (We recommend you book flights after midday). Otherwise, why not continue your exploration of Patagonia. Just a few hours north, lies the celebrated Torres del Paine National Park – home to towering peaks, glaciers and spectacular wilderness - a paradise for hikers and nature lovers.