Few places on earth have the same unique species and breathtaking beauty as South Georgia, and the Falklands are no exception. Both can be seen on this exploration expedition.
All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. Landings are subject to site availabilities, permissions, and environmental concerns per AECO regulations. Official sailing plans and landing slots are scheduled with AECO prior to the start of the season, but the expedition leader determines the final plan. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. The average cruising speed of our vessel is 10.5 knots.
*Offer available on selected departure dates only, subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. Subject to change and rates are subject to currency fluctuation and availability at the time of booking.
You embark from Puerto Madryn in the afternoon, your prow aimed for the Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo is renowned for its visiting southern right whales, so you have a good chance of spotting one as you sail toward the open ocean.
Though you’re now at sea, there’s rarely a lonesome moment here. Several species of bird follow the vessel southeast, such as albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.
The Falkland Islands offer an abundance of wildlife that is easily approachable, though caution is always advised. These islands are largely unknown gems with a wealth of bird life, including many endemic species. The waters of the Falklands are also rich with sea life, including southern sea lions and elephant seals. There is a good chance to see both Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins.
During this segment of the voyage, we aim to visit the following two sites:
Steeple Jason – Home to the world’s largest black-browed albatross colony (roughly 113,000), Steeple Jason is a wild and rarely visited island buffeted by wind and waves. Weather and swell conditions dictate the journey here.
Carcass Island – Despite its name, this island is pleasantly rodent-free and hence bounteous with birdlife and many endemic species. Anything from breeding Magellanic penguins and gentoos to numerous waders and passerine birds (including Cobb’s wrens and tussock-birds) live here.
Other sites that we may offer as an alternative:
Saunders Island – On Saunders Island you can see the black-browed albatross and its sometimes-clumsy landings, along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and gentoos are also found here.
Westpoint Island – Landing in a small cove near the island's house, you will be able to walk through the tussac grass and an abundant breeding colony of black-browed albatrosses, where they live side by side with rockhopper penguins.
Grave Cove – Nesting gentoo penguins and excellent hiking opportunities abound here, with the chance to enjoy great scenery and wildlife.
En route to South Georgia, you now cross the Antarctic Convergence. The temperature cools considerably within the space of a few hours, and nutritious water rises to the surface of the sea due to colliding water columns. This phenomenon attracts a multitude of seabirds near the ship, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.
Today we reach the Shag Rocks, a group of six islands surrounded by nutrient-rich waters that offer great feeding grounds for numerous birds and whales. The islands are named after the South Georgian shag, known for its bright blue eyes and yellow beak patch.
In our tour of South Georgia’s breathtaking wildlife and scenery, we may visit the following sites. Please keep in mind that weather conditions in this area can be challenging, largely dictating the program.
Sites you might visit include:
Prion Island – The home of the great wandering albatrosses. The previous summer’s wandering albatross chicks are almost ready to fledge, and adults are seeking out their old partners after a year and a half at sea.
Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour – These sites not only house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia, they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals. Only during this time of year do they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the four-ton bulls keep a constant vigil (and occasionally fight) over territories where dozens of females have just given birth or are about to deliver. You can also see a substantial number of Antarctic fur seals here during the breeding season (December – January).
Fortuna Bay – This beautiful outwash plain from Fortuna Glacier is home to a large number of king penguins and seals. You may have the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. This path cuts across the mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall, and as the terrain is partly swampy, be prepared to cross a few small streams.
Leith Harbour, Stromness, Husvik – These sites remind us of the scale of the whaling industry in the early 20th century. Elephant and fur seals breed and moult here. Gentoo penguins also occupy the landing sites. Antarctic prions and South Georgia dive petrels may be observed, especially in the area of Husvik.
Grytviken – In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place – because they basically do. Here you might be able to see the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.
Cobblers Cove, Godthul – Here we will try to visit Rookery Point to see macaroni penguins. We might also encounter giant petrels, gentoo penguins, seals, and light-mantled sooty albatrosses nesting along the coastline. Godthul (Norwegian for “good cove”) was named by Norwegian whalers and seal hunters.
Royal Bay (Moltke Harbour, Will Point & Brisbane Point) – Moltke Harbour in Royal Bay was named by the German International Polar Year Expedition in 1882, and some of the remains of their dwellings are still visible. The scenery of Royal Bay is amazing, with dark sandy beaches, green tussocks, and of course, the great Ross Glacier. It may be windy here, but the Zodiac cruising is spectacular. Roughly 30,000 pairs of king penguins also live in this area.
Cooper Bay – A Zodiac cruise in Cooper Bay offers a good chance to see macaroni penguins, gentoo penguins, and one of the world’s largest chinstrap penguin rookeries. Fur and elephant seals may be seen on the beach, while we might also spot light-mantled sooty albatrosses gliding overhead. Antarctic terns, white-chinned petrels, and blue-eyed shags are possible here too.
Drygalski Fjord – This narrow waterway offers spectacular landscapes, specifically high mountain peaks at a very close distance.
Annenkov Island – Passing Pickersgill Islands, we reach the rarely visited Annenkov Island, first discovered by James Cook in 1775 and later renamed by the Russian expedition of Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1819. This is a rocky terrain with a variety of ridges, peaks, and hills where fossils have been found.
King Haakon Bay – Few
South polar skuas and snow petrels could join the albatrosses trailing our vessel during these sea days, and we may also encounter sea ice. When we reach the Drake Passage, you will be again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south.
You arrive and disembark in Ushuaia, commonly held to be the world’s most southern city. It is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, nicknamed the “End of the World.” But despite this stopping point, the wealth of memories you’ve made on your Antarctic expedition will travel with you wherever your next adventure lies.
Hondius will be the first vessel to be built to class “LR PC6”, meeting the latest and highest demands of Lloyd’s Register for “Polar Class 6” vessels, the highest Polar Class notation for ice-strengthened vessels. The vessel will also fully comply with the mandatory requirements of the Polar code, adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for safe ship operation and the protection of the Polar environment. Hondius will be the strongest ice-strengthened vessel in the Polar Regions and will be equipped with stabilizers, and very suitable for advanced, innovative exploratory quality voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions.
Hondius will be the first vessel to be built to class “LR PC6”, meeting the latest and highest demands of Lloyd’s Register for “Polar Class 6” vessels, the highest Polar Class notation for ice-strengthened vessels. The vessel will also fully comply with the mandatory requirements of the Polar code, adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), for safe ship operation and the protection of the Polar environment.
Hondius will be the strongest ice-strengthened vessel in the Polar Regions and will be equipped with stabilizers, and very suitable for advanced, innovative exploratory quality voyages in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions.
Length: 107.6 meters
Breadth: 17.6 metersMax
Speed: 15 knots
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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.
Available upon request. Please contact us for more details. No single supplement will apply if willing to share in selected cabins
Prices are correct at time of publishing but are subject to change at any time. Price is based on Quad Share.
Itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions.
Departure Date, Fuel Surcharges, Cabin Category, Currency Fluctuations, Seasonality & Availability.