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"It was so awesome making landings and getting up close to the icebergs, whales, penguins and seals...I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone who is considering a trip to Antarctica" - Carly
Now is the time to tick Antarctica off your bucket list, for a limited period we are offering a number of fantastic specials on Antarctica cruises for the 2017/18 season. Don't miss out!
There are five Antarctica True Seal Species. True seals differ from fur seals (or eared seals) mostly because of the different way they swim. Fur seals swim with their fore flippers and use their rear flippers to steer. True Seals on the other hand steer with their fore flippers and swim with their rear flippers. As a result fur seals have much …READ MORE
At first sight, the Falkland Islands – known as Islas Malvinas in Argentina – shouldn’t belong to Great Britain. Only 480kms away from the former, but almost 13,000km from the latter, this wildlife and wilderness haven is, without a doubt, the most controversial foreign territory to fly under the British flag.READ MORE
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The best time to take a Falkland Islands Antarctica cruise is during the Austral summer, between October and April. November to February are the optimum months within this timeframe, as this is the warmest time of the year and also when wildlife activity is at its peak. Although temperatures range between 5 and 10°C, conditions are often windy due to the location of the Falklands in the latitudes of the south westerly “Roaring Forties” winds.
Later in the season in March and April, the magellanic penguins congregate on the beaches, preparing for their long journeys overseas.
October and November are the best months to see elephant seal pups.
For a taste of local culture, important events on the calendar include the May Ball and Liberation Day (June 14th).
The Falkland Islands experience a cool temperate climate, regulated by the surrounding oceans and the winds. Temperatures fluctuate within a narrow range, from a minimum of -5°C (July) to a maximum of 24°C (January). Average monthly temperatures range from around 9°C in summer (January & February) to around 2°C in winter (June & July). The mean annual temperature is around 5.6°C.
Rainfall is comparatively low and constant throughout the year with the western side of the archipelago, shielded by the Andes, being drier than the eastern side. Port Stanley receives over 600 millimetres of rain annually whereas Westpoint receives just over 400 millimetres.
The islands are hit by westerly winds with gales frequent during the winter months.
The Falkland Islands offer a fascinating and abundant range of wildlife. The South Atlantic waters are rich in marine life, supporting a variety of species that breed on the Falkland Islands archipelago including over 30 species of breeding birds that depend on the ocean for food.
Birds: Over 220 species of bird have been recorded on the Islands, with more than 60 species being known to breed here. The Falkland Islands are home to 80% of the world’s breeding population of black-browed albatross. Several rare and threatened species of petrel nest on offshore islands. Upland geese and ruddy-headed or Brent geese are found around fresh water ponds, along with silver teals, Chiloe or southern widgeons and white-tufted grebes. Other birds found on the Falklands include the striated caracara, the endemic Cobb’s wren and the Falklands flightless steamer duck. Five species of penguin breed on the Falkland Islands - rockhopper, magellanic, gentoo, king and macaroni. The Islands are the most important world site for the endangered rockhopper penguin.
Marine mammals: 14 species of marine mammals have been recorded in Falkland waters. The elephant seal, sea lion and fur seal all breed on the Islands, the largest elephant seal breeding site being found on Sea Lion Island with over 2,000 individuals. On rare occasions leopard seals and Ross seals are seen on the shorelines but porpoises and dolphins such as Peale's and Commerson's dolphins are often spotted. Orcas, sei and sperm whales are the most abundant whales to be sighted in the Falklands.
Land Mammals: There are no native land mammals found on the Falkland Islands, but introduced species include reindeer, hares, rabbits, Patagonian foxes, brown rats and cats.
Tourism is an important source of revenue to the Falkland Islands and sustainable development and preservation of the environment and the abundant flora and fauna are key to maintaining and increasing tourism. Wildlife tourism in particular is growing, and steps are being taken to protect the wildlife of the islands.
The key legislation aimed at protecting the wildlife and flora of the Falkland Islands is the Conservation of Wildlife and Nature Ordinance 1999. All birds are protected except the upland goose, domestic goose and mallard duck. Nineteen plants are protected and of the fish species, the zebra trout is protected. The black-browed albatross, southern giant petrel and white-chinned petrel are threatened species and have additional protection under the international Agreement for the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP).
Sea Lion Island and Bertha’s Beach, East Falkland are protected under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. This is the only global environmental treaty that deals with a particular ecosystem.
The Falkland Islands are situated in the South Atlantic Ocean, 483 kilometres from the South American mainland and 1,365 kilometres north of the Antarctic Circle, midway between Argentina and South Africa. They are an archipelago consisting of two main islands (East and West Falkland) and over 750 smaller islands. The islands cover an area of approximately 12,000 square kilometres, with East and West Falkland accounting for over 90% of the land area.
East and West Falkland are separated by the Falkland Sound. This channel has an average width of 20 kilometres. The main islands are generally hilly, with low-lying undulating terrain in the south of East Falkland. The highest point is Mount Usborne on East Island at 705 metres. West Falkland’s highest point is Mount Adam at 700 metres. The distance from Stanley, on the extreme east, to New Island, on the extreme west, is 238 kilometres.
Exploration and colonisation of the Falkland Islands began in the 18th century
France established a colony on the islands in 1764 at Port St. Louis on East Falkland
The islands were claimed for Britain by the British captain, John Byron in 1765, with a permanent settlement being established at Port Egmont the following year
In 1770 the Spanish forced the British to leave Port Egmont, sparking the Falkland Crisis, but the colony was soon re-established, becoming an important port-of-call for British ships sailing around Cape Horn
British forces withdrew in 1776 leaving Spain to rule the Falkland Islands from Buenos Aires until 1811
1833 saw the British returning to the Falklands and Charles Darwin visiting the Islands
Charles Darwin revisited the Falklands in 1834 with the settlements of Darwin and Fitzroy taking their names from this visit
The construction of Port Stanley began in 1843 after the area was surveyed by James Ross of the Antarctic Expedition
Government House opened in 1847 becoming the Governor’s Residence in 1859
Christ Church Cathedral was completed in 1903, receiving its famous whale-bone arch in 1933 to commemorate the centenary of continuous British administration
President Juan Peron of Argentina attempted to buy the Falkland Islands in 1953
Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982 and took control briefly before being forced to surrender on 14 June 1982
Food on board cruise and expedition ships is of a very high standard - plentiful, tasty and nutritious. Breakfasts and lunches tend to be buffet style, with dinners generally served to your table and featuring 3 and sometimes 4 courses. The range of food is diverse with professional chefs preparing a wide selection of excellent dishes.
Beverages such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate are included whereas soft drinks and alcohol must be paid for. Most ships have very well stocked bars and a good selection of wines.
The cuisine of the Falkland Islands is influenced mainly by that of Britain. Seafood is plentiful and includes sea trout, mussels, oysters, snow crabs and scallops. The traditional British meal of fish and chips is very popular. Lamb and beef also feature heavily, the Falkland Islands being known for the organic meat produced on the islands.
Falkland Adventure by Andrew Coe
74 Days: An Islander's Diary of the Falklands Occupation by John Smith
Going Back by Simon Weston
A high level of fitness is not necessary for Falkland Islands Antarctica Cruises, but you need to be in good health as although there is generally a doctor on board the ships, you are a long way from any other medical assistance. The majority of activities are focused around shore excursions and zodiac cruising and so you need to be agile and able-bodied enough to climb into and out of the inflatable zodiacs from both the ship and the shore. On shore landings you may need to negotiate uneven and slippery ground. Shore excursions generally involve some walking.
All of our tours are 100% tried and tested to ensure that when you travel with us, you are doing so in a controlled and safe environment with trained experts. We consistently monitor weather conditions and will always provide you with the best possible adventure without risk of injury to you or the vessel. While some landings and activities may need to be rescheduled or cancelled due to weather, every effort is made to have a contingency plan should such conditions become a reality during your expedition. Chimu have been the experts in Falkland Islands and Antarctic travel for well over 10 years and use our vast experience and knowledge when picking the vessels we sell to provide you with an adventure that is unforgettable for all the right reasons.
Cruise ship passengers do not need a visa to visit the Falkland Islands and participate in shore excursions. If you are flying into Port Stanley to board a Falkland Islands Antarctica Cruise, or if you are planning to spend additional time in the Falkland Islands before or after your cruise, you may need a visa. Visas are not required by citizens of Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland, European Union, Canada, USA and South Africa. Citizens of other countries are advised to contact their nearest British Embassy or Consulate to check visa requirements for the Falkland Islands.
If your Falkland Islands Antarctica cruise is departing from an Argentinian port such as Ushuaia, no pre-arranged visa is required to enter Argentina by citizens of the UK, Australia, Ireland, European Union, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the USA. Other nationalities should check with their closest Argentinean embassy or consulate.
Australian, Canadian and USA citizens must pay a "reciprocity fee" to enter Argentina. This is not a visa, but a fee based on the fees that Argentinean citizens pay for visas to these countries. The fee must be paid online and in advance for arrival at all airports.
Falkland Islands Antarctica cruises that set sail from Ushuaia generally arrive and start exploring the Falkland Islands on Day 3. From South Georgia or Elephant Island there are usually 2 days at sea before reaching the Falkland Islands. Some tours fly from Punta Arenas in Chile to Port Stanley and embark on the ship in Port Stanley.
Most Falkland Islands Antarctica cruises typically spend 2 days exploring the Falkland Islands on their way to or from South Georgia and/or the Antarctic Peninsula.