Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula 19 daysAboard: MV Plancius
This trip is the ultimate in the Antarctic region, taking in the Falkland Islands with their varied and accessible wildlife and friendly inhabitants as well as South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. South Georgia is the jewel of the South Atlantic with spectacular breeding colonies of king penguins and albatross along with many more species of birds and mammals, all in a magnificent setting. The Antarctic peninsula provides the opportunity to not only view unique wildlife close-up but also set foot on one of the last great wildernesses on earth.
- Falkland Islands wildlife and scenery
- South Georgia wildlife, scenery and history
- Magnificent Antarctic ice and landscapes
- Myriad birdlife
- Whales and other marine mammals
- Luggage transfer to ship and group transfer from ship
- Full board accommodation on board
- All zodiac excursions and landings with expert guides
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
So much to experience
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In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway, followed by seabirds.
At sea, in the Westerlies the ship is followed by several species of albatross, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.
In the Falkland Islands, we plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. A hike along the shore of Carcass Island will give us views of magellanic and gentoo penguins, as well as close encounters with elephant seals, water fowl, night herons and passerines. In addition, on Saunders we will be able to observe four species of breeding penguins - gentoo, king, Magellanic and rockhopper,as well as black-browed albatross and king cormorants.
Stanley, Falkland Islands
In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as English charm. In Stanley and the surrounding area we can see a number of stranded wrecks from a century ago and geese, giant petrels and other birds.. All passengers are free to wander around on their own. We recommend a visit to the local museum (admission fees not included) and perhaps a drink in a typical pub.
On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop by as much as 10 degrees in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence, we will see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship; several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions and skuas.
In the early afternoon of day 7 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, where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering albatross and enjoy watching their displays (the island is closed for visitors during the early part of the breeding season from 20 Nov – 07 January).
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.
Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour house the three largest King penguin colonies in South Georgia but are also home to a substantial number of Antarctic fur seals during the breeding season (December – January). We will depart from South Georgia in the afternoon of day 10.
The ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we would have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick skua and snow petrel.
South Orkney Islands
We are planning on a visit to Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
We will pass large icebergs and have a good chance of Fin whales on the way south. In addition, we have the best chances on the trip to see Antarctic Petrels around the ship.
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.
On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
A view from Above
Plancius was built as a Dutch oceanographic research vessel and refurbished as a passenger ship in 2009. It has ice strengthened bow and stern and is ideal for polar sailing. There is a mixture of suites and cabins, all with window or porthole. Some have private facilities and some shared. There are twin, triple and quadruple cabins suitable for sharing. Public areas are a spacious observation lounge and bar, library, lecture theatre and dining room along with plenty of outside deck space and an open-bridge policy. Rubber boots are supplied for all passengers.
we work hard to earn passionate reviews from our clients.
Now that I am back from my odyssey voyage, I thought I would let you know that after all that planning it really did exceed my expectations – we managed landings everywhere even on Tristan da Cuhna and had great bird sightings. The guides all knew what they were talking about too and made sure I got some great photos – still sorting them all out! Thanks for everything and see you at Birdfair!Dave Martin
I want to thank you for all you did to make my recent Falklands trip run so smoothly and comfortably. Thank you for all your help over the diet too.Dr Lorna Mairs
Just a quick note to express my sincere thanks to you and all your staff for making this an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. Truly a mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken.Mr J Borg, Malta
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