Set sail from Ushuaia, across the infamous Drake Passage to explore and step foot on the stunningly beautiful ice wilderness of Antarctica, where penguins, seals, whales, historic sites, scientific stations and breathtaking scenery await. Take a Zodiac cruise amongst incredible sculpted icebergs and if possible explore the ice-choked Weddell Sea region. Visit Elephant Island before retracing Shackleton’s epic journey across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia. Remote, untamed, ruggedly beautiful and wildlife-rich, South Georgia is home to millions of fur seals and elephant seals, nesting albatross, the world’s largest king penguin rookeries, abandoned whaling stations and the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton himself.
On arrival at Ushuaia Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Please note this transfer is included if arriving on specific flights. Remainder of the day at leisure.
This morning, your luggage will be collected from the hotel and transferred directly to port for clearance and loading onto the ship. You’ll have the day at leisure before making your own way to the port in the late afternoon to meet your expedition team and commence boarding at approximately 4.00pm (final embarkation time will be provided in your final documentation).
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.
As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. The expedition team prepare you for our 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.
Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our 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 our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we 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. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.
Over the next three days a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions two, and occasionally three, times a day; 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 of our other favourite spots along the peninsula.
Today, if weather permits, we set course for Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetlands. We’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.
We plan to sail past Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men first put ashore over 100 years ago. Weather permitting; we 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, we’ll attempt to make a landing on historic Point Wild Elephant Island.
Enroute for South Georgia we'll head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian. Enroute to South Georgia we will attempt to visit South Orkney Islands, a remote archipelago where up to 90% of the surface is glaciated and one of the most important breeding grounds for Adélie and chinstrap penguins in the world.
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-metre 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.
Between South Georgia and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our arrival time in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). Our lecture program will continue and highlight all of the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days. We’ll have ample time to enjoy the rest of our time observing the sea birds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing in the bar with a book.
If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.
Located 477 kilometres east of southern Argentina, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) are a unique mix of wildlife hotspot and inhabited outpost. An archipelago of over 700 islands, but consisting of two main islands, East and West, only seven of the islands are inhabited. The cold nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands makes them a prime location for marine life, including seabirds and seals. Our time in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) includes a short walk in Stanley town.
You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture.
During the early morning, we cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, where we will be free to disembark around 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to downtown Ushuaia before continuing to the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.
Please note, at the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Ushuaia prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
Built to world-class polar standards, the Greg Mortimer is a state of the art, custom-built expedition ship. Due to be launched in 2019, this modern, robust and powerful 104-metre ship is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. With its patented Norwegian-designed X-BOW, the Greg Mortimer is capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, and the most adverse weather conditions. Named after Aurora’s co-founder, the Greg Mortimer carries up to 120 passengers in a range of well-appointed suites and staterooms. All feature private bathrooms, with the majority of suites and staterooms having panoramic windows and private balconies. There are twin and double bed configurations available, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service. The ship itself features unique viewing platforms that fold out hydraulically to give unobstructed views. The ship carries 15 Zodiacs that are launched from specially designed launching platforms to ensure fast and easy boarding for shore landings and Zodiac cruises. Itineraries aboard the Greg Mortimer also offer a range of optional activities including kayaking, diving, climbing and ski touring, and the ship’s design includes a spacious prep and loading platform.
Built to world-class polar standards, the Greg Mortimer is a state of the art, custom-built expedition ship. Due to be launched in 2019, this modern, robust and powerful 104-metre ship is at the cutting edge of nautical technology. With its patented Norwegian-designed X-BOW, the Greg Mortimer is capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, and the most adverse weather conditions.
Named after Aurora’s co-founder, the Greg Mortimer carries up to 120 passengers in a range of well-appointed suites and staterooms. All feature private bathrooms, with the majority of suites and staterooms having panoramic windows and private balconies. There are twin and double bed configurations available, ample storage, international power outlets and a daily cabin service. The ship itself features unique viewing platforms that fold out hydraulically to give unobstructed views. The ship carries 15 Zodiacs that are launched from specially designed launching platforms to ensure fast and easy boarding for shore landings and Zodiac cruises. Itineraries aboard the Greg Mortimer also offer a range of optional activities including kayaking, diving, climbing and ski touring, and the ship’s design includes a spacious prep and loading platform.
Breadth: 18.4 metresMax
Speed: 15.5 Knots
Electricity: 220V, 50HZ AC Passenger
Capacity:160 (120 in polar regions)
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We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
Group transfer to hotel from preferred flight.
One night pre-voyage hotel accommodation
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
All meals daily 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 centre
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
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
Available upon request
Contact us for more details
Season and availability