Experience three epic destinations of the Southern Ocean: the wildlife-rich oasis of the Falkland Islands, breathtaking South Georgia Island, with its legends of Shackleton and massive colonies of king penguins, and the celebrated Antarctic Peninsula, a world of towering peaks and icebergs. On our small-ship expedition cruise during the austral summer, adventures by go-anywhere Zodiacs grant us fantastic access to hidden bays full of drifting bergs and shores thronged with chattering penguins and basking elephant seals, while our expert naturalists and historians illuminate the fascinating world of the Antarctic.
Note: This cruise is not exclusive to, nor operated by, Wilderness Travel, who acts solely as agent in booking your reservation with the ship operator. The itinerary, lecturers, and all other arrangements are subject to change at the discretion of the cruise line.
The small city of Ushuaia is the perfect starting point for our expedition cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. Located near the southern tip of South America, it boasts beautiful views of the Andres Mountains and the Beagle Channel. Stroll the lively main street of cafes, shops and outfitters, perhaps picking up a last-minute item for your voyage, or enjoying a typical Argentine grill entrée at one of the many casual restaurants. If you arrive early, you will want to visit beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park. Guests will overnight at the stunningly situated five-star Arakur Resort and Spa, a member of the "Leading Hotels of the World."
In the afternoon, embark the Sea Spirit and set sail down the scenic Beagle Channel.
Through presentations and informal conversations, a team of experts on Antarctic wildlife, history and geology will enlighten you about what you’ll expect to see in the days ahead.
The Falkland Islands offer an unforgettable vista of moors and rugged coastlines carved by the South Atlantic, where the wildlife and plant life form a link between Patagonia and Antarctica. On the beaches, elephant seals are a spectacular sight when battling among themselves to establish territories or just simply relaxing. Sea lions and fur seals are also common sights. As many as a million penguins nest in the Falklands every summer, representing five of the world’s seventeen species – King, Gentoo, Rockhopper, Magellanic and Macaroni. What’s more, for the Gentoo, the Falklands are home to the largest population on Earth. Look for black-browed albatrosses nesting on grassy hillsides overlooking the sea.
The capital of the Falklands Port Stanley is the southernmost British outpost in the world. With many reminders of its British heritage such as red phone booths and English pubs, the town boasts other unusual sights like a whalebone arch and shipwrecks along the coast.
For many, South Georgia is a not-to-be-missed destination within the Antarctic region. These sub-Antarctic islands are mountain peaks emerging from the Scotia Arc, an underwater mountain chain that extends from the Andes to the White Continent. Shaped like a long and narrow whalebone, the islands are home to:
- Four seal species – southern elephant seal, Antarctic fur seal, Weddell seal, and leopard seal.
- Several whale species – southern right whales, humpbacks, fin whales, sperm whales, killer whales orcas, and southern bottlenose whales.
- Antarctic seabirds, about 46% of the world's breeding population of grey headed albatrosses; northern giant petrels, white chinned petrels and Antarctic prions. Most of the world's population of the South Georgia blue eyed shags live there, some 7,500 pairs.
- Penguins – around half the world's population of macaroni penguins, along with 100,000 pairs of Gentoo penguins and about 6,000 breeding pairs of Chinstrap penguins.
- The most attractive residents of the South Georgia are King penguins with their orange-yellow crowns. The total number of King penguins is around 400,000 breeding pairs.
Spend four days among the alpine landscapes and penguins colonies. You will also visit to the historic settlement of Grytviken. With its whaling-era remnants and Earnest Shackleton’s gravesite, the one-time whaling town is one of the highlights of South Georgia.
More informative presentations are in store today, as you head toward the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.
The Antarctic Continent and the South Shetlands
In the region of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula you get a great variety of opportunities to actively explore the unique wildlife and breathtaking scenery. With nearly 200 recognized sites, explore the enchanting world of the Sixth Continent. A flexible planning is a key to successful expedition.
Your Captain and Expedition Leader will do their best to show you all the faces of Antarctica. We hope to tick off five penguin, six seal, several whale species in Antarctic check-list. While cruising along narrow Antarctic waterways, admire huge icebergs of different shapes, sizes and colours. Visit scientific stations representing several different countries and learn about Antarctic scientific researches straight from the source. Of course setting foot on the actual Antarctic Continent is also on agenda.
Reality begins to set in during this final sea passage separating the magic world you’ve just explored from the rest of the world you’ll soon be rejoining. Refresh your memories through a photo exchange with newfound friends, and bid farewell to seabirds and whales that you can identify more easily now.
Ushuaia / Disembark / Depart
Your morning disembarkation from Sea Spirit is followed by a group transfer to the airport. Or you may opt to overnight in Ushuaia.