1 Arrive Ushuaia
Welcome to the start of your Antarctic adventure. When you arrive into Ushuaia, please make your way to the hotel where you'll meet up with your fellow expeditioners. There will be an evening briefing at 7:30pm to run through details of embarkation the following day. Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, is the southernmost city in the world and commands a dramatic setting overlooking the Beagle Channel, surrounded by mountains. It's a major port for Antarctic bound vessels and an interesting city to explore.
2 Embarkation in Ushuaia
Take the free morning to explore Ushuaia and pick up any essential supplies before boarding the ship in the mid-afternoon. Some highlights of Ushuaia include the award-winning Museo Marítimo y del Presidio de Ushuaia (Maritime & Prison of Ushuaia Museum) – located in Ushuaia’s former prison buildings dating back to 1906 – and the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park, which can be reached by the “End of the World Train”. Poke your head into the many cafes, shops and restaurants along the main street of Avenida San Martin, pick up some items at the Argentinean leather markets, or maybe taste the succulent lamb dish Patagonia is famous for. On embarkation you will meet the expedition crew and be shown to your suite. In the early evening, sail down the majestic Beagle Channel – named for the legendary ship sailed on by Charles Darwin – and pass magellanic penguin, rock cormorant and sea lion colonies on a heading to Antarctica. Enter the legendary Drake Passage just after midnight.
3-4 Crossing the Drake Passage
One of the most memorable parts of any voyage to Antarctica is crossing the famous stretch of water between the continent and South America – the Drake Passage takes it name from the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. Fill up on expert insights today with the start of the on board lecture program. Antarctic specialists will provide a fascinating insight into the continent with presentations on the wildlife, history and geology of Antarctica, laying the preparation and building the excitement for what lies ahead. The following day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, where cold polar water flowing north and warmer equatorial water moving in the opposite direction meet. This mixing pushes nutrient rich waters to the surface, attracting a variety of seabirds, whales and other species. Notice a distinct drop in temperature as you enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Ocean. If weather permits, head out on deck to look for whales, dolphins and ship-trailing sea birds such as albatrosses, prions and petrels. Depending on sea conditions, we may reach the South Shetland Islands by nightfall of Day 4.
5-8 Antarctic Peninsula
Your Antarctic experience will reach a whole new level from today as you set foot on the great white continent and enjoy some of the most unique wildlife viewing and awe-inspiring scenery in the world. Over the next four days, explore the islands and waterways of the Antarctic Peninsula. Making use of our on board Zodiacs, cruise amongst ice-filled bays, making shore landings inbetween keeping a look out for wildlife. Be greeted by a host of animals and maybe encounter Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals; gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins as well as elephant seals. The scenery will take your breath away as you gaze at majestic mountains, incredible glaciers and vast beautifully sculptured icebergs.
9-10 At Sea
Set sail again for the open seas and retrace Shackleton’s path to South Georgia. Spend time looking out for seabirds, whales and other wildlife, listening to expedition lectures from our on board Antarctic experts and soaking up the ice-swept seascape. On the way, head towards Elephant Island where, weather permitting, we will attempt to make a landing. Elephant Island is the desolate island where Sir Ernest Shackleton left 24 of his men for months while he embarked on one of the greatest survival stories of all time, on a mission to South Georgia in the hope of returning and saving them all.
11-14 South Georgia
Over the next few days, explore the wonderful island of South Georgia and see why the island is known as the “Galapagos of the South”. With enormous quantities of sea birds, penguin colonies numbering in the hundreds of thousands, sea lion pups and a wealth of history, this promises to be the highlight of any trip. The island has been a British Overseas Territory since 1775 and, at 3,755 square kilometres, it's the largest island in the territory. One of the wildest and most remote places on earth, with dramatic scenery of snow-capped mountains and huge glaciers, the island is home to tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals and seabirds. In the 19th century South Georgia was a prominent whaling base, but whaling ceased in the 1960s and the only remnants are museums and well-preserved buildings. South Georgia teems with wildlife due to the currents that bring nutrients to the island from the Atlantic, and huge numbers of penguins and seals breed here. Visit the old whaling settlement of Gritviken and pay a visit to the grave of the legend himself – Sir Ernest Shackleton.
15-16 At Sea
Leave South Georgia and chart a course for the Falkland Islands. Spend time out on deck scanning the horizon for seabirds and other wildlife, and maybe take in an expedition lecture on the dramatic history and rich wildlife of the Falkland Islands.
17 Falkland Islands
Land at the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory archipelago that lies 490kms east of Patagonia in the South Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by decades of controversy, the Falkland Islands (or Islas Malvinas as they are known in Argentina) have been settled and claimed by France, Spain, Britain and Argentina. The two main islands (East Falkland and West Falkland) have much to offer and provide a rare opportunity to witness the biological diversity, extraordinary scenery and history of the southern islands. The Falklands have the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world and five species of penguin breed on the islands (gentoo, king, macaroni, magellanic and rockhopper). Port Stanley, the capital and located on East Falkland Island, offers an opportunity to meet the hardy local inhabitants whose colourful houses provide contrast to the long dark winters. Today explore Stanley, chosen as the capital for its sheltered harbour and access to abundant fresh water and peat for fuel. Take a historical walking tour of the town to learn more about Stanley’s rich and colourful history. If time permits we will also visit nearby bird and penguin colonies.
18 Falkland Islands
Set sail to West Falkland Islands where you may visit two of the most popular islands – West Point Island and Carcass Island. West Point Island is famous for its spectacular scenery and impressive wildlife. It's home to a vast colony of Rockhopper Penguins and Black-browned Albatrooses, which nest in close proximity to each other. Carcass Island is renowned for it's exceptional birdlife due to it being rodent-free. Gentoo and Magellanic Penguins also nest here.
19-20 At Sea
Sail towards Puerto Madryn and enjoy time to reflect on the spectacular scenery and prolific wildlife you've encountered during the voyage, along with the endeavours of legendary explorers like Shackleton.
21 Disembark in Puerto Madryn
Disembark the ship in Puerto Madryn and take a transfer to Trelew airport or a centrally located hotel in Puerto Madryn.