A 21 day cruise to the incredible and isolated sites of the Falkland Islands, South Georgia & the Antarctic Peninsula. Visit some of the most beautiful arrays of wildlife on Earth. This journey will introduce you to at least 6 species of penguin and a large number of Antarctic fur seal.
Optional Activities :
Trip Code: ACOWPF
Travel Style: Small Ship Expedition Cruise
Location: Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctica
In the afternoon, we embark in Puerto Madryn and sail towards the Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo is world renowned for their visiting Southern Right whales and we have a good chance to see them as we head towards Open Ocean.
We spend this day in the Western parts of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). If the weather conditions allow, we hope to land on the rarely visited Steeple Jason Island in the early morning. Here we find the largest Black-browed albatross colony in the world is located (app. 113.000). As an alternative, we would take a walk along the Coast of Carcass Island. Here we may encounter breeding Magellanic and Gentoo penguins, but also numerous waders and passerine birds are present. On Saunders Island, we can see the majestic Black-browed albatross and their sometimes-clumsy landings near their nesting site along with breeding Imperial shags and Rock hopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and Gentoo penguins are also present here.
In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm, colourful houses, well-tended gardens, and English style pubs. In Stanley and the surrounding area, we can see quite a number of stranded clippers from a century ago. They bear witness to the hardships of sailors in the 19th Century. The small, but very interesting museum is well worth a visit featuring an exhibition covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War of 1982. Approximately 2,100 people live in the small capital in which all passengers are free to wander around on their own (admission fees to local attractions are not included).
On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic currents, the temperature will drop considerably in the time span of only a few hours. Nutritious water surfaces due to colliding water columns, which brings a multitude of seabirds near the ship: several species of albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, prions and skuas.
In the early afternoon of day 8 we arrive at our first activity site in South Georgia. Weather conditions on South Georgia can be challenging and will largely dictate the program. Sites that may be visited include: Prion Island (the island is closed for visitors during the early part of the breeding season from 20 Nov – 07 January), where the previous summer’s fully-grown chicks of the huge Wandering Albatross are almost ready to fledge and adults are returning to seek their old partner after a year and a half at sea. Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour do not only house the three largest King penguin colonies in South Georgia but are also three of the largest breeding beaches for Southern Elephant seals in the world. Only at this time of the year they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the incredible spectacle of large 4-ton bulls who have to keep a constant vigil and occasionally fight over territories of dozens of females who have just given birth or are just about to deliver. The beaches are packed with Elephant seals! In Fortuna Bay, penguins and seals inhabit the beaches. We may follow the final section of Shackleton’s route to Stromness, the abandoned whaling village. The route leads us across the mountain pass past the “Shackleton Waterfall”. The terrain is partly swampy and some small streams may have to be crossed along the way. At Grytviken, we will also see an abandoned whaling station, where King penguins now walk in the streets and Elephant seals have taken residency. Here we will also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton’s grave nearby.
A multitude of seabirds will again follow the ship southwards. At some point, we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the South Polar Skua and Snow Petrel.
Weather and ice depending we hope to visit Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located on Laurie Island in the South Orkney Island archipelago. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers. Alternatively, we may attempt a landing in Shingle Cove on Signy Island.
If the ice permits us, we will sail into the Weddell Sea. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We hope to visit Paulet Island with a huge number of Adélie penguins and Brown Bluff located in the ice clogged Antarctic Sound, where we may set foot on the Continent. If sea ice conditions are not favourable to enter the Weddell Sea from the east, we set course for Elephant Island and head into the Bransfield Strait between South Shetland Island and the Antarctic Peninsula and attempt to gain access to the Antarctic Sound from the northwest. The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and Southern Giant Petrels. On Half Moon Island we will find Chinstrap Penguins and Weddell Seals often haul out on the beach near the Argentinean station Camara. In Deception Island, our ship braves through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Petrels and many Kelp Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. Alternatively, we will offer activities near Telefon Bay further inside the flooded caldera. The 20 night’s voyage opens the opportunity to sail further down the western Antarctic Peninsula. In Neko Harbour or Paradise Bay we hope to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers calving at sea level. We enjoy the landscape surrounded by alpine peaks. In this area, we have good chances to see Humpback Whales and Minke Whales. After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, we hope to get a chance to visit the old British research station, now living museum and post office at Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy, we may also offer activities around Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. If ice conditions allow we may opt to venture as far south as the Lemaire Channel to explore opportunities for activities. In the early hours of our last landing day, we hope to conduct our activities at Cuverville Island with the several thousand Gentoo penguins in the largest Gentoo rookery of the Antarctic Peninsula. We depart to the Drake Passage around noon of day 18 through the Melchior Islands.
Cabin accommodation on board ship
All meals on board
Guiding and lectures by experienced expedition team
Landings and excursions by zodiac
Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes for duration of voyage
Pre-scheduled group transfer port to airport (departure day)
Port charges and service fees
Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable)
Customary gratuities for staff and crew
Personal expenses such as telecommunication and bar spending
We appreciate that voyages to the Antarctic to have an impact on this pristine environment. In light of this, all our voyages are double carbon offset. In addition, we strive to eliminate as many single use plastics as possible from our supply chain. In choosing this voyage you are also supporting the fantastic work done by the Antarctic Science Foundation (ASF) and their work in understanding and protecting this unique destination. In addition all voyages support the Mawsons Huts Foundation (MHF). The MHF support the legacy of Sir Douglas Mawson, the legendary Antarctic explorer and scientist. As a member of IAATO we follow strict guidelines appointed by the Antarctic Treaty System to go above and beyond in support of minimizing negative impacts on this pristine landscape. We also encourage clients to look to book pre-and post- accommodation with us, where local businesses will be supported. Our clients also receive restaurant recommendations which support locally owned restaurants.
We carefully select all ships we work with and choose smaller sized vessels to create less impact. We use a highly regulated, licensed vessel which is well equipped to operate in the Antarctic’s delicate ecosystem. We view the voyage to the Antarctic as an expedition, not a sightseeing trip. Smaller ships such as ours can navigate narrow waterways and are far less polluting than the larger ships in Antarctic waters. By carrying less passengers, we have far less waste. The waste is carried back to the home port to allow for environmentally conscious waste management and disposal.
For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE