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Akademik Ioffe - Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica

20 Days FROM USD 13,695

Overview

You may feel, as we do, that if you make the journey to the bottom of the world you may as well stay awhile. On this far-reaching polar expedition we visit the sub-Antarctic Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the Antarctic mainland. The islands are home to a proliferation of unique wildlife and birdlife and a fascinating history. Vast penguin rookeries burst with nesting birds and the beaches are covered in fur seals and elephant seals.  Further south lies the frozen continent of Antarctica, our final destination on this remarkable voyage. Here vast icebergs reflecting startling greens and blues, humpback whales feeding on krill and of course the continent-sized sweeping ice sheet of Antarctica all await.

 

Optional Activities :

Trip Code: ACTSFGA

Location: Antarctica

Ship: Akademik Ioffe

CRUISE ITINERARY

Today is the first day of our adventure. We board our expedition ship in Ushuaia, the world's most southerly city at the tip of Argentina. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers and enjoy a welcome cocktail. In the early evening we set sail and begin our voyage, leaving Ushuaia behind us and charting a course through the Beagle Channel.

Embark in Ushuaia

Out on the open sea you have the chance to spend plenty of time with our on-board polar experts. Sailing northeast towards the Falkland Islands, we are likely be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross, that we will come to know well on this journey. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also our constant companions. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the day our polar experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history of the Southern Ocean and the locations that we hope to visit in the coming days.

At Sea

Having arrived in the Falklands overnight, we launch the Zodiac boats this morning to make our first shore excursion. Our plan will be to explore several locations in the West Falkland archipelago. These remote islands are home to a proliferation of seabirds and migratory birds including the black-browed albatross. Our first penguin sightings will be on the island of West Point with its bustling rookeries of rockhopper penguins. On Carcass Island, we will observe nesting magellanic penguins along with oystercatchers, geese and the flightless steamer duck who is a permanent Falkland resident. The next day we will make a stop in Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. As we wander through the charming streets of brightly painted houses, we will learn how this quiet harbour was once a major port in the 19th century for ships rounding the fabled Cape Horn. There are several interesting places to visit including Stanley's famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps. Other worthwhile places include the museum that outlines the historic events that took place during the conflict with Argentina in 1982 and the waterfront memorial built to commemorate the lives of British servicemen killed during the war.

Falkland Islands - Days 3 & 4

Leaving the Falkland Islands, we chart a southeast course bound for the island of South Georgia. These days at sea are never dull. Much of our time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals as well as seabirds that join us in the Southern Ocean. Our polar experts continue to fill our minds with heroic stories of some of the earliest Antarctic explorers including the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition. We will also learn about polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of our guides and crew. The anticipation grows as we near South Georgia, and as we cross the Antarctic Convergence we notice a dramatic drop in temperature. The Antarctic Convergence is a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer equatorial water moving in the opposite direction. This mixing pushes nutrient rich waters to the surface attracting a variety of seabirds, whales and other species.

At Sea - Days 5 & 6

The island of South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop you begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs we begin our exploration of the island in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal line the beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plains, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbor. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross and they fill the skies above. South Georgia is a thrilling location for history buffs as the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the former whaling stations on the island, and where we visit the gravesite of Shackleton, buried here in 1921. On our 18 night expeditions we spend a day less in South Georgia.

South Georgia - Days 7 to 10

After several busy days our exploration of South Georgia is complete and our attention now turns south, towards Antarctica. It takes several days to cross the Scotia Sea in the comfort of our modern expedition ship. Large tabular icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. The dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear and it is this location that ‘bookends’ the Shackleton story for many. Here Shackleton and his men were camped for many months, having lost HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. If conditions allow we attempt a landing here.

Scotia Sea & Elephant Island - Day 11 to 13

Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland lies the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sites might include King George Island, Half Moon Island, Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point. Weather conditions permitting we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. After so much anticipation, we 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 live an incredible abundance of wildlife. We explore by Zodiac boat and ashore where a range of wonderful activities awaits. Locations we hope to visit include Wilhelmina Bay, Orne Harbour, Cuverville Island and the Errera Channel. Join the photographic guide and take close up photos of the penguins, or of the impossibly blue ice. Or enjoy a hike to the top of a snowy mountain saddle with one of our adventure guides. If the opportunity presents itself, visit a science base or old historic hut. Each, you have a range of great choices.

South Shetland & Elephant Island - Days 14 to 17

As we leave this magical place and make our way back, heading again across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn, there is plenty of time to share and reflect on the wonderful experiences of the voyage. Sailing up the Beagle Channel, we celebrate the conclusion of our polar expedition with a special dinner.

Antarctic Peninsula - Days 18 & 19

In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. *Note: on a 19 night voyage, you will spend an additional day along South Georgia.

Ushuaia, Argentina
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Pricing & date

Akademik Ioffe - Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica from USD 13,695
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Important Information

  • Arrival/Departure Transfers

    Shipboard accommodation 
    All meals onboard 

    All scheduled landings/excursions

    Guiding and lectures by expedition leader and team 

    English-speaking expedition team 

    Services of English speaking medical officer

    Windproof / waterproof jacket and bib pants

    Comfortable insulated rubber boots

    Water resistant binoculars

    Waterproof backpack

    Trekking poles available on shore

    All port fees

     

    Exclusions

    Airfares to/from embarkation and disembarkation city 
    Visa and passport fees (if applicable)
    Travel insurance
    Beverages (other than coffee and tea) 

    Laundry and personal expenses incurred on board 
    Gratuities

     

     

  • 2 (light adventure)
  • No single surcharge if willing to share cabin (not available in all cabin classes)

  • Itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions. We can place a hold on a cabin without deposit for up to 4 days, Kayak option available on some expeditions for a surcharge.

    Antarctica gear service onboard

    Our kit includes a comfortable, polar rated jacket and pants, as well as insulated rubber boots, designed for walking. Guests need to complete a gear hire form during the booking process and theg ear will be in their cabin upon embarkation.

  • Season, availability, cabin type and deck

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.

Sustainability

GUIDANCE FOR VISITORS TO THE ANTARCTIC

RECOMMENDATION XVIII-1, ADOPTED AT THE ANTARCTIC TREATY MEETING, KYOTO, 1994

Activities in the Antarctic are governed by the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and associated agreements, referred to collectively as the Antarctic Treaty System. The Treaty established Antarctica as a zone of peace and science.

In 1991, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Parties adopted the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty, which designates the Antarctic as a natural reserve. The Protocol sets out environmental principles, procedures and obligations for the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment, and its dependent and associated ecosystems. The Consultative Parties have agreed that as far as possible and in accordance with their legal system, the provisions of the Protocol should be applied as appropriate. The Environmental Protocol was ratified in January 1998.

The Environmental Protocol applies to tourism and non-governmental activities, as well as governmental activities in the Antarctic Treaty Area. It is intended to ensure that these activities, do not have adverse impacts on the Antarctic environment, or on its scientific and aesthetic values.
This Guidance for Visitors to the Antarctic is intended to ensure that all visitors are aware of, and are therefore able to comply with, the Treaty and the Protocol. Visitors are, of course, bound by national laws and regulations applicable to activities in the Antarctic.


PROTECT ANTARCTIC WILDLIFE

Taking or harmful interference with Antarctic wildlife is prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by a national authority.

Do not use aircraft, vessels, small boats, or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, either at sea or on land.
Do not feed, touch, or handle birds or seals, or approach or photograph them in ways that cause them to alter their behavior. Special care is needed when animals are breeding or molting.
Do not damage plants, for example by walking, driving, or landing on extensive moss beds or lichen-covered scree slopes.
Do not use guns or explosives. Keep noise to the minimum to avoid frightening wildlife.
Do not bring non-native plants or animals into the Antarctic, such as live poultry, pet dogs and cats, or house plants.
RESPECT PROTECTED AREAS

A variety of areas in the Antarctic have been afforded special protection because of their particular ecological, scientific, historic, or other values. Entry into certain areas may be prohibited except in accordance with a permit issued by an appropriate national authority.
Activities in and near designated Historic Sites and Monuments and certain other areas may be subject to special restrictions.

Know the locations of areas that have been afforded special protection and any restrictions regarding entry and activities that can be carried out in and near them.
Observe applicable restrictions.
Do not damage, remove, or destroy Historic Sites or Monuments or any artifacts associated with them.

RESPECT SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

Do not interfere with scientific research, facilities or equipment.

Obtain permission before visiting Antarctic science and support facilities; reconfirm arrangements 24-72 hours before arrival; and comply with the rules regarding such visits.
Do not interfere with, or remove, scientific equipment or marker posts, and do not disturb experimental study sites, field camps, or supplies.
BE SAFE

Be prepared for severe and changeable weather and ensure that your equipment and clothing meet Antarctic standards. Remember that the Antarctic environment is inhospitable, unpredictable, and potentially dangerous.

Know your capabilities and the dangers posed by the Antarctic environment, and act accordingly. Plan activities with safety in mind at all times.
Keep a safe distance from all wildlife, both on land and at sea.
Take note of, and act on, the advice and instructions from your leaders; do not stray from your group.
Do not walk onto glaciers or large snow fields without the proper equipment and experience; there is a real danger of falling into hidden crevasses.
Do not expect a rescue service. Self-sufficiency is increased and risks reduced by sound planning, quality equipment, and trained personnel.
Do not enter emergency refuges (except in emergencies). If you use equipment or food from a refuge, inform the nearest research station or national authority once the emergency is over.
Respect any smoking restrictions, particularly around buildings, and take great care to safeguard against the danger of fire. This is a real hazard in the dry environment of Antarctica.

KEEP ANTARCTICA PRISTINE

Antarctica remains relatively pristine, the largest wilderness area on Earth. It has not yet been subjected to large-scale human perturbations. Please keep it that way.

Do not dispose of litter or garbage on land. Open burning is prohibited.
Do not disturb or pollute lakes or streams. Any materials discarded at sea must be disposed of properly.
Do not paint or engrave names or graffiti on rocks or buildings.
Do not collect or take away biological or geological specimens or man-made artifacts as a souvenir, including rocks, bones, eggs, fossils, and parts or contents of buildings.
Do not deface or vandalize buildings or emergency refuges, whether occupied, abandoned, or unoccupied.​​

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