Total Solar Eclipse of 2021: Antarctica and South Georgia

Expedition Cruise Program aboard the Seaventure
with Special Guests Alex Filippenko, PhD, Tim Jarvis, and Conrad Anker

Overview

Join us for an absolutely spectacular experience—seeing a total solar eclipse on an expedition cruise to South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, in the company of a team of expert naturalists and world-renowned Guest Speakers. We travel aboard the Seaventure, which provides the flexibility to maneuver to the ideal viewing position on Eclipse Day.

Our Guest Experts

Alex Filippenko, PhD, is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at UC Berkeley. An extraordinary astronomer and educator, Dr. Filippenko has been voted “Best Professor” at UC Berkeley a record nine times. As of 2019, he has seen 17 eclipses, 12 of them with Wilderness Travel. Tim Jarvis, environmental scientist and adventurer, recreated Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 800-mile survival journey in a replica of Shackleton’s 25-foot open lifeboat—including crossing South Georgia’s treacherous crevassed glaciers—all using rudimentary period clothing and equipment. His adventure is chronicled in Chasing Shackleton, and a PBS documentary. Tim is the Australia World Wildlife Fund Global Ambassador. Conrad Anker, an acclaimed mountaineer, recently climbed Ulvetanna in Queen Maud Land, adding to his Antarctic summits. Among his Himalayan expeditions are three Everest climbs, including one on which he discovered the body of legendary explorer George Mallory. See the Leaders tab for complete biographical information.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2, Nov 22-23, 2021
Buenos Aires / Ushuaia

Arrive in Buenos Aires, where you are met for transfer to the Alvear Art Hotel. The next day, board our charter flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, and embark aboard the Seaventure. You’ll be greeted by our Expedition Team and ship’s officers, enjoy the Captain’s Welcome Dinner, then relax and take in the dramatic scenery as we sail down the Beagle Channel.

Alvear Art Hotel
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Day 1 (1 night)
Days 3-5, Nov 24-26, 2021
At Sea / Southern Ocean / Cross the Antarctic Convergence

Our experts begin their presentations with informative and entertaining talks featuring astronomy, the upcoming eclipse, Antarctic adventuring, and the exciting history and abundant wildlife of South Georgia. Wildlife viewing opportunities include albatrosses, prions, and petrels, and our Expedition Team will be out on deck looking for whales and dolphins. We cross the Antarctic Convergence, the point where cold, northward-flowing waters meet the relatively warmer waters of the sub Antarctic, and officially enter Antarctic waters.

Days 6-11, Nov 27-Dec 2, 2021
South Georgia Island

Magnificent mountain scenery, glaciers galore, a rugged coastline punctuated with icebergs, and an astounding array of wildlife are all within view as we travel down South Georgia’s leeward coast. South Georgia will be a true highlight of our journey, and we are thrilled to be able to explore here for six unforgettable days. Landing sites feature huge elephant seals, fur seals, macaroni penguins, albatrosses, petrels, and skuas. King penguins, from fuzzy chicks to fattened adults, can be seen in the hundreds of thousands. Visit the whaling museum, the Norwegian Seamen’s Church, the British Antarctic Survey station, and the tiny graveyard where the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried. South Georgia figures prominently in the lore of Shackleton. His legendary 1914-1916 Endurance expedition is one of the greatest survival stories of all time. This epic adventure is one of the many tales of Antarctic exploration that our Expedition Team will share with us.

Days 12-14, Dec 3- 5, 2021
Scotia Sea / Eclipse Day! / At Sea

The excitement builds as we head toward the eclipse viewing position, with presentations by guest astronomer Alex Filippenko, PhD. On Day 13—Eclipse Day—we’ll be on the centerline between South Georgia and the South Orkney Islands; the eclipse takes place in the surreal austral summer light. Being onboard the Seaventure provides the best chance of cruising into an area of open sky, depending on the unpredictable Antarctic weather. In the afternoon, visit Base Orcadas or Signy Research Station in the South Orkneys. Informative presentations and wildlife watching continue as we head farther south and icebergs become more and more plentiful on Day 14.

LOCAL CONTACT TIMES FOR OUR PLANNED VIEWING POSITION
AT 59° 58.716’ S 41° 36.972’ W:

1st contact: (eclipse begins) 03:17:54 altitude: 3.7°
2nd contact: (totality begins) 04:06:19 altitude: 8.6°
3rd contact: (totality ends) 04:07:59 altitude: 8.8°
4th contact: (eclipse ends) 04:58:13 altitude: 14.5°
Duration of totality: 1 minute and 40.6 seconds

Days 15-18, Dec 6- 9, 2021
Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

Our Expedition Leader and Captain will create a flexible itinerary based on weather, ice, and wildlife viewing opportunities. We’ll visit the most scenic bays and channels of the Peninsula with stops at penguin rookeries, seal wallows, bird colonies and whale feeding areas as well as sites of historic and scientific interest. Adelie, chinstrap, and gentoo penguins abound, and Weddell, crabeater, and elephant seals are often found hauled out to rest along with leopard seals and Antarctic fur seals. Minke and humpback whales are frequent visitors, and orca sightings are common.

Days 19-21, Dec 10-12, 2021
Drake Passage / Ushuaia / Depart

The lecture series and wildlife spotting conclude as we sail back to Ushuaia and reflect on beautiful Antarctica and its fragile future. Morning disembarkation on Day 21 lets you catch a flight to Buenos Aires or stay in Ushuaia for more sights and adventure.

Eclipse Day Weather Prospects

Here's the straight talk: This eclipse occurs in a dramatic and beautiful but problematic area of the globe, with limited observing sites and difficult viewing conditions. This is Antarctica, with its changeable weather and frequent storms and overcast skies. In spite of this, the situation for ship-board observers may not be as bleak as cloud maps from past years would suggest. While the map of average December cloud cover shows rather pessimistic conditions for the month, and the station data—what there is of it—confirms frequent cloud cover with an average of 82 percent, day-to-day satellite images are slightly more optimistic. Our planned position has one of the lowest cloud cover percentages in the area, as surrounding “boxes” have amounts that range as high as 84 to 98 percent.

As eclipse meteorologist Jay Anderson reports in personal communications, “I’ve become a little more optimistic about the 2021 eclipse over the Southern Ocean in the past year. Satellite images I’ve examined over the last 20 years show a cloud cover that is frequently—always, in fact—broken by relatively nearby clear patches, often quite large. While the average cloudiness is quite high at about 80 percent, the mobility offered by a ship should help improve these odds. Monitoring satellite images and watching the computer forecasts will make it possible to adjust to a better location a day or two ahead of time if clearer skies are available.”

The mobility of our ship will therefore be a significant factor, allowing us to sail to a clearer patch of sky on eclipse day, and to even target a better viewing position based on weather charts a day or two before the eclipse. But given the typically cloudy conditions in Antarctic waters, we strongly recommend that you plan to join this trip for the remarkable experience of Antarctica and South Georgia Island, and treat the eclipse as a special bonus if we are fortunate enough to see it.

Highlights

Highlights

Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia—the two most epic destinations of the Southern Ocean
Total solar eclipse viewing, weather permitting, with acclaimed astronomer Alex Filippenko, PhD
Epic wildlife experiences including South Georgia’s thousands of king penguins
Expert Antarctic adventurers, environmentalists, naturalists, and historians enrich your experience
Exciting sea kayaking option for limited number of participants

Details

Length: 21 days
Cost From: $19,750  
Arrive: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Depart: Ushuaia, Argentina
Lodging: 19 nights aboard an expedition ship, 1 night hotel
Meals: All meals included on board as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Eclipse, Small Ship Cruising, Wildlife & Natural History, Sea Kayaking, Photography, Whale Watching
Trip Level:

21-day expedition cruise, nature walks on uneven ground, Zodiac cruising with wet landings (where you step out of the Zodiac into the water wearing knee-high sea boots), optional kayaking in dry suits, possibility of rough seas and cold weather.