New Year in South Georgia, Antarctica & The Falklands 17 days aboard Akademik Ioffe
Experience a New Year's Celebration like no other - in Antarctica!
Late December is a beautiful time to experience Antarctica. We enjoy extended daylight hours at this time of the season, the wildlife colonies are busy and as the sea ice continues to break up, our range of landing sites expands even further. We fly from South America to Antarctica in a little over two hours where we board our ship and enjoy a thorough exploration of the glaciated coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula. We see in the New Year surrounded by the icebergs and towering glaciers of Antarctica, before continuing our journey to South Georgia. We follow the course taken by Sir Ernest Shackleton whose epic small boat journey, from Elephant Island across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia remains one of the greatest feats of navigation in history. We commence our exploration at the remote south-eastern tip of South Georgia and then spend the following days exploring the northern coastline. Here are some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth. The shores are covered in wildlife – including nesting albatross, fur seals and elephant seals. Rusting relics from the old whaling era sit silent and provide dramatic contrasts to the green tussock grass, and snowy peaks that surround us.
We then head for the Falkland Islands and aim to spend one final day exploring the wildlife-rich Sea Lion Island and nearby by Bleaker Island. Our voyage concludes in Stanley – the small capital from where we fly back to South America.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
- Fly the Drake and save time
- Celebrate New Year in Antarctica
- Rarely visited Weddell Sea region
- South Georgia wildlife paradise
- Amazing avian and marine wildlife
- Spectacular scenery
- Falkland Islands
- Kayaking option available
- Flights from and to Punta Arenas
- Transfers to & from airport & ship
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Loan of waterproof boots
- All zodiac excursions and landings
- Programme of expert lectures
- Resident photography guide
ITINERARY16 Nights 17 Days
- Day 1 | Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island, Antarctica
- Days 2 - 4 | Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula
- Day 5 | Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea
- Day 6 | Elephant Island, Antarctica
- Days 7 - 8 | Scotia Sea
- Days 9 - 12 | South Georgia
- Days 13 - 15 | At Sea towards Falkland Islands
- Day 16 | Sea Lion Island
- Day 17 | Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island, Antarctica
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central location and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica. (This flight is included in the price of your trip). Upon arrival at the King George Island, we embark our ship via Zodiac.
After settling into our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail.
Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula
Overnight we navigate through the Bransfield Strait and awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before us. For the next three days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, we cruise through the Lemaire Channel and may visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. Southerly Petermann Island, is home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an active research base nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change science occurring in Antarctica. The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline feature heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Our activity program is in full swing by now, and each day we enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and Zodiac cruising among the ice with our expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favourite location where we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales.
Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea
We are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope to make a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditions permit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures. Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ - high up onto the rim of the crater.
Our goal is to enter the icy Weddell Sea, through the broad channel that separates the continent of Antarctica from Joinville Island. At first we are awe-struck by the sheer size of the tabular icebergs in this area and their presence always makes for exciting navigation on the ship. This region is also home to some of the largest Adelie penguin rookeries found in Antarctica.
Elephant Island, Antarctica
After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula and entrance to the Weddell Sea, we head for Elephant Island – a location forever connected to the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition a century ago. On the windswept north coast, exposed to the swells of the South Atlantic is Point Wild. It was here that Shackleton and his exhausted men camped under their upturned boats – pondering their chances of survival. We enjoy emposing views of the location from the ship and will attempt a landing subject to conditions. From the ship or on shore, this is a thrilling location for anyone with a passion for polar history.
As we depart Elephant Island we cannot help but ponder the journey made by Shackleton and his four companions – as they attempted the near impossible – navigating 800 nautical miles in a 30 foot converted lifeboat across the tempestuous Scotia Sea to South Georgia. We make a much easier time of the crossing in our state of the art expedition ship. Onboard experts keep us busy with fascinating presentations and lead lively discussions throughout the day. The great pelagic seabirds are sure to keep us company – and we anticipate excellent sightings of albatross and giant petrels soaring on the winds of the South Atlantic Ocean. Anticipation builds as the mountainous peaks appear on the horizon, marking our arrival at South Georgia.
Rounding the remote south-eastern end of South Georgia, we spend the next four days thoroughly exploring the coastline. Dark sand beaches, tussock covered hinterland and a backdrop of towering peaks and glaciers are a feast for all the senses. South Georgia has often been called the greatest wildlife show on earth. Seals cover the beaches, seabirds fill the skies and living in rookeries of immense size, live the majestic king penguins. Our aim is to visit a number of these huge colonies – where naturalists estimate that more than 100,000 adult and juvenile penguins live in close proximity. Locations we hope to visit include Gold Harbour, Royal Bay, St Andrews Bay and Salisbury Plain.
Dotted along the coastline are the rusting relics of the early whaling era. The largest of these locations is Grytviken. Here we find a fascinating museum and a beautifully restored Norwegian Lutheran Church. Adjacent to the old whaling station lies a small cemetery. This is the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton – who was laid to rest here in 1922. For many onboard, being in the presence of the great polar explorer is a highlight of the trip. We continue our journey along the coastline, hoping to visit Stromness –another former whaling station – and the final destination of Shackleton and companions Frank Worsley and Tom Crean having made the near impossible traverse across the interior of South Georgia.
At Sea towards Falkland Islands
By now we are in sensory overload, our cameras full of images and our journey towards the Falkland Islands commences. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Photographing these stunning birds in flight takes great patience and skill and our resident photography expert on board will show you the best techniques. The onboard educational program continues and our experts recap our remarkable journey to date. These days provide a good opportunity to catch up on journal entries, sort through your images in the multimedia room and catch some rest after a busy two weeks of activity.
Sea Lion Island
In the morning, we land at Sea lion Island, a haven for all sorts of wildlife, including ground nesting birds, striated caracaras, giant petrels and king shags as well as three species of penguin. On and around the beaches are elephant seals, sea lions, dolphins and orca. Later we head towards Port Stanley to arrive on the morning of day 16.
Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into the harbour of Port Stanley. A transfer will take us to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise enjoy a night in Punta Arenas, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
It is possible to remain in the Falklands for more days to experience the wildlife and history of the islands. Please ask for details.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We had the time of our lives on board ship...if anybody wants to go to Antarctica, we will certainly advise to go with you.
Huge congratulations to you and all the team for the perfect organisation throughout the trip. From the early planning to the last transfer, everything went without a hitch.
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!
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
The adventure really was a 'trip of a lifetime' and we are so glad we tagged an extra day in Buenos Aires at either end and that we went Premium Economy, it made all the difference. The ship Sea Explorer was exactly as Simon had described and was very comfortable. South Georgia was the highlight but we were surprised how much wildlife there was to see on the Falklands and we might well book one of your nature trips to the Falklands in the future.
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.
• I wanted to send you a quick thank you email. We had a fantastic trip, the boat, staff, scenery, itinerary, and pretty much everything else was incredible! Thank you so much for arranging the cabin upgrade, we were delighted to have our own room! We had a really brilliant time, and wanted to say thanks so much for being so helpful throughout, we're lucky to have found you.
We had a very special experience organized by you in Feb, especially the wedding in Antarctica and our stay in Patagonia. Thank you.
Many thanks for all you help with our polar trip which exceeded all expectations. We will certainly recommend your company and seriously consider yourselves for future trips.
I just want to thank you for all your help with my Ross Sea trip. It was really the trip of a lifetime & the ship & crew were excellent.
Overall I think that it was an excellent trip that was well worth the price paid and I would have no hesitation recommending your company to others.
I'm sure you get plenty of compliments, but I just want to follow up telling you what a great time we had on the MS Expedition Antarctica Classic cruise. We were very pleased with all of the staff, on the ground and on the ship. Everyone was so friendly and knowledgeable. We greatly appreciated their experience and expertise. Their very careful attention to all of the environmental rules and precautions should also be lauded. Thank you for all of your service and attention. If we're planning on one of the other regions that you serve, we'll definitely be in touch!!
We would like to thank you with all our heart for our fabulous trip. It was amazing. Everything was perfect. I recommend Antarctica and South America to everybody. Doing business with you was also a great experience. You are the best travel agent I ever met. I hope to have the chance to do business with you again in the future.
We've just got back from out trip to Patagonia and the Antarctic and want to say a big thank you to all of you at Wildfoot but specifically you, Tina and Sara, for organising our trip and sorting out all my queries before we went. You've all been thoroughly professional - and friendly with it. I always get concerned that hotels won't have received the booking, the air e-tickets won't be recognised or luggage ends up somewhere other that where we are, but I didn't need to worry as everything was well planned in advance and the various elements, air travel, two cruises, hotels etc, fitted seamlessly. You can take this as a 10 out of 10 satisfaction rating and recommendation for your company. You will certainly be my 'go to' provider if we ever do anything similar in the future. Thanks once again for our trip of a lifetime.
I just wanted to say an enormous thank you for your help with my trip. It was the best two weeks of my life! MS Expedition was amazing – their itinerary, their crew, their spirit. It was truly exceptional.One of the best things was how they arranged the rooms, I just had the best roommates and that really made a big difference to the trip. We got to see some fast ice and got out to walk on it – literally walking on the frozen sea. Amazing! I am saving for my next trip and I would not dream of going with anyone but you guys again. Good work! A dream very much come true.
I hope you’re well. I wanted to drop you a line to say we are back from Antarctica and had a wonderful time with Ponant. The trip exceeded our expectations in every respect, and I haven’t yet found enough superlatives to describe it to friends! Antarctica was breathtaking (as you know), and we loved pretty-much everything about Ponant. It was the perfect fit for us and I’m very grateful to you for taking the time to help with the booking. Having read the nightmares that Silversea have been having with the Silver Cloud, we felt lucky to be onboard Le Lyrial. Of course the only downside of a trip like this is we want to go back - best start saving now! Thanks again for all of your help and support with the booking process. Ponant was exactly as you described it. We have our eye on a couple of other cruises with them so I might be in touch soon.
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.
We had the most fantastic time! Everything exceeded our expectations - the ship, the expedition team, the scenery and the most amazing wildlife experiences - 15 humpback whales around the ship one sunset was particularly stunning. Thank you so much to you and your colleagues for your expert advice (the cabin choice was just perfect, especially for the bumpy days!) and guidance and helping made this experience so great. My lifetime's ambition was to visit Antarctica and you all helped make that possible. I should also say that the arrangements in Buenos Aires worked really well too. I think we all have ideas about the next trip - Svalbard or the NorthWest Passage - but maybe in a couple of years, although we do each have $1500 in vouchers from Quark! I am not on Facebook myself but will try to put a review on either of the links below. I've received the new brochure already.
A great big thanks to all at Wildfoot Travel for making my Antarcti Expediton an epic adventure of immense proportions. Everything went smoothly, pickups, hotels and most of all the expedition itself. A truly mind blowing experience unlike any I have ever taken. Looking forward to the next trip with you.
Just came back from a trip aboard the Ortelius to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. Thank you Wildfoot for organising it so well. We had the trip of a lifetime and everything ran very smoothly and stress free so many, many thanks
I travelled to the Antarctica Circle with Wildfoot. It was a memorable trip. The MS Expedition was definately the right choice. The ship is very nice, very comfortable, very clean, the crew is fantastic, the meals were very good, the expedition staff very kind and extremely knowledgeable and professional. All activities were very well and timely organized in a safety manner. Besides that, despite haveing had a rough sea on the Drake on way in, we were quite lucky with the weather (we got some cloudy days but also snow, bright sunshine and beautiful sunsets,) making every landing a wonderful happening. All in all, it was less than perfect.
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