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Antarctica: Hanging with the Penguins

Ultimate Antarctica - Weddell Sea and the Falkland Islands

Fly-Sail-Cruise - Example 13 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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This exciting expedition provides great diversity and will appeal to those seeking the complete Antarctic experience. It includes the South Shetland Islands, the western and northern sections of the Antarctic Peninsula, the stunning Weddell Sea region located on the eastern side of the Peninsula and the historic location of Elephant Island. Adding to the experience will be a visit to several locations in the Falkland Island archipelago – home to nesting albatross and the colorful King penguin. Maximize your time on this voyage by flying from South America to Antarctica, saving the two days crossing the Drake Passage. A further day and a half are saved by flying from the Falkland Islands back to South America at the conclusion of the voyage. The time saved by flying equals more time exploring down among the ice in Antarctica.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Punta Arenas
Day 2 : Fly to King George Island | Embark
Days 3-4 : Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula
Day 5 : South Shetland Islands
Days 6-8 : Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea
Day 9 : Elephant Island
Days 10-11 : At Sea towards the Falkland Islands
Day 12 : West Point Island & Saunders Island, Falkland Islands
Day 13 : Stanley | Disembark | Fly to Santiago

Highlights

  • Explore the Gerlache coastline and cruise through the Lemaire Channel
  • Cruise the Errera Channel and visit penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island
  • Navigate in to the Weddell Sea while surrounded by tabular icebergs
  • Visit the Elephant Islands, home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Antarctica: Hanging with the Penguins Sea and sand Abandoned whaling village of Stromness, South Georgia Nesting Black-Browed Albatross on the Falkland Islands An old iceberg on the beaches of Deception Island

Day 1 Punta Arenas

Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile, where your Antarctic journey commences, make your way to the signature hotel for an included pre-voyage stay. This evening, you are encouraged to visit the welcome desk set up in the lobby of the hotel to check in with a representative and to collect luggage tags for your voyage. Punta Arenas is the gateway to Chilean Patagonia, facilitating easy exploration of the region pre-voyage.

Day 2 Fly to King George Island | Embark

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
The journey begins this morning with a transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). Upon arrival at King George Island, embark your ship via Zodiac. After settling into your cabins and exploring your new surroundings, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be looking forward to the adventure ahead.

Day 3-4 Gerlache Strait | Antarctic Peninsula

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Overnight the ship has navigated across the Bransfield Strait and you will wake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before you. For the next few days, you'll have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline features heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. The activity program is in full swing by now. Each day, enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies and Zodiac cruising among the ice with your expert guides, providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay. Or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one where pods of feeding humpback whales are frequently encountered. It is somewhere along this stretch of coastline that you can plan to spend a night on shore, camping in Antarctica. All of the right gear and equipment are available to you and an expert team to make it happen - all you need is an adventurous spirit! If the weather is good and site characteristics suit the requirements, the expedition leader will let you know. Camping is included in the voyage price and there is no need to pre-book this activity.

Day 5 South Shetland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today, head north towards the Antarctic Sound– the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way, you can hope to make a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditions permit, the ship sails right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black-sand beaches. History is all around as you explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures. Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where the Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins, made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’- high up onto the rim of the crater. 

Day 6-8 Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Navigating into the sound, witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. This is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea you'll notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far.

The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the penguin rookeries visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions in the Weddell Sea region may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be on the ice floes through which the ship navigates. The expedition crew has enjoyed a number of emperor penguin sightings in this area in recent years and they are known to travel through the area. You may get lucky and see them too!

The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after the ship had been lost in the ice pack months earlier. As you head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender-pink sunset will make you pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years before you.

Day 9 Elephant Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Cape Lookout on the southern tip of Elephant Island is home to an impressive chinstrap penguin colony. Macaroni penguins also breed here and are a species you'll have yet to encounter to date on this voyage. Both southern elephant seals and fur seals are hauled out on the rocky beaches. If conditions permit, visit the fabled location of Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island. It is here that Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned lifeboats before six men set off on a rescue mission to South Georgia in their tiny lifeboat – the 'James Caird'.

Day 10-11 At Sea towards the Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
While sailing north to the Falkland Islands your onboard polar experts will recap on your adventures in the Weddell Sea and prepare you for the days ahead. Much of your time will be spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. The spectacular pelagic seabirds, including several albatross and petrel species, are your constant companions as they soar above the ship. Photographing these stunning birds in flight takes great patience and skill and your resident photography expert will show you the best techniques. The educational program continues and the experts entertain you with interactive presentations and leading lively discussions.

Day 12 West Point Island & Saunders Island, Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Arrive in the Falkland Islands overnight and spend the day exploring the islands of West Point and Saunders. West Point is known for its sizable rookeries of rockhopper penguins and nesting black-browed albatross. One final highlight awaits– a visit to the wildlife-rich Saunders Island. Along with the white-sand beaches and in the tussock grass you can hope to encounter no less than four penguin species living in close quarters including Gentoo, Magellanic, and rockhopper, and your ultimate goal during the Falkland Island visit, observing the impressive king penguin. Saunders is a fitting end to an epic Antarctic adventure. Charting a course for the port of Stanley in the early evening light, enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship and reflect on one of life’s great travel experiences.

Day 13 Stanley | Disembark | Fly to Santiago

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning, find yourselves in the port of Stanley. Say goodbye to your crew and make your way to the airport for your return private air charter to Santiago (included in the price of your voyage). On arrival in Santiago, your journey comes to an end. Onward regional and international flight connections may be possible this evening. A transfer is provided downtown for those choosing to stay and explore Santiago and the delights of Chile.

RCGS Resolute

Punta Arenas - Hotels

Per person starting at
$16,295
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Main Deck Triple
Located on Deck 3 these cabins feature the option for a double or two single beds and a third Pullman berth, which can fold out from the wall if required. A sectional lounge is placed by the portholes with a writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities. A flatscreen entertainment system is also included. These cabins provide easy access to the expedition room and gangway.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Twin Private Cabin
Twin Private cabins are located on Deck 4 and have the option for either a queen or two single configured beds. Features include a comfortable lounge adjacent to the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Superior Cabin
Located forward on Deck 5 the Superior cabins have the option for either a queen or two single beds. Features include a comfortable lounge adjacent to the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Superior Plus Cabin
Superior Plus cabins are located midships on Deck 5. They are spacious and well appointed with the option for either a queen or two single beds. A comfortable lounge is placed by the large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample floor to ceiling cabinet storage and private washroom facilities with shower.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Shackleton Suite
The Shackleton Suites are situated on Deck 6. Suites include the comfort of a sectional lounge, writing desk, substantial floor to ceiling cabinetry, and washroom facilities with shower. A flat screen entertainment system is also included. Sleeping quarters feature the option for either a queen or two single beds with upgraded linen/ pillows.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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One Ocean Suite
The One Ocean Suites are situated on Deck 6 and offer an indulgent amount of space. Sleeping quarters feature a queen size bed with upgraded linen/pillows. Included is a comfortable sectional lounge with matching club chairs, a large desk, expansive floor to ceiling cabinetry, and spacious washroom facilities with both a shower and bathtub.

Notes

- Rates are quoted in U.S. dollars and represent costs per person, double occupancy.  

Your expedition includes: 
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • A pre-voyage night in the hotel in Punta Arenas the night before the voyage commences.
  • Transfers in Punta Arenas to the airport on Day 2. Transfers from the ship to Stanley airport and on arrival back in Santiago to a downtown location at the conclusion of the voyage on Day 13
  • Private air charter flight from Punta Arenas (Chile) to King George Island (Antarctica) and from Stanley (Falkland Islands) to Santiago (Chile)
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
  • All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and science stations
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. marine biologists, naturalists, historians, etc). Onboard or on shore
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, file back up and management
  • An emergency-trained medical physician onboard every voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and AdventureConcierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness center including massage options (charge applies for massage and treatments)
  • Sea Kayaking program available (additional charge ofUS$795pp) – must be reserved at the time of booking your voyage and you must have some prior paddling experience
  • Access to a well-stocked library full of polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos, and take-home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited area
Expedition does not include:
  • Any international or local airfare unless otherwise specified in the voyage itinerary
  • Visa and passport expenses
  • Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specified in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
  • Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
  • Telecommunication charges (i.e. email, satellite phone)
  • Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance-related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
  • A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount –US $15-20 per day)
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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This was our first trip to South America and we were a little nervous. But Adventure Life made things so easy! All our questions were answered before we left, and our guide, Vidal, was amazing! He gave us enough space to explore without rushing us along. He also knew where the best picture taking opportunities were, which was great.
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