Antarctica, Weddell Sea & The Falklands
Antarctica, Weddell Sea & The Falklands 12 days aboard Akademik Ioffe
This fantastic Antarctica itinerary which will take you to some of the continent’s most remarkable landing sites to discover a world of towering glaciers, majestic icebergs, snow-covered mountains and bustling wildlife. Explore each day on foot or by Zodiac boat in search of Antarctica’s enchanting wildlife, including busy penguin colonies and various species of seals and whales, visit historic huts and research bases, enjoy energetic walks across the glistening landscapes, partake in additional activities such as camping on ice, kayaking and hiking, and venture into the rarely visited Weddell Sea region. To top it all off, you will then also enjoy 2 days of exploration of the intriguing, wildlife-rich Falklands Islands. Each day will be filled with adventure, and being accompanied by a team of expert guides you will soon learn all there is to know about both Antarctica and the Falklands.
With included flights from and to Punta Arenas you will avoid crossing the Drake Passage by sea, allowing for more time in Antarctica. Return is by air from Stanley, the capital of the Falklands.
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 >
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 >
- Discover Antarctica and the Falklands in one voyage
- Spectacular scenery
- Amazing marine wildlife
- Myriad birdlife including numerous species of penguin
- Outstanding wildlife observation on shore, during zodiac cruises and from the ship
- Exploration of the Gerlache coastline, Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea region
- Visits to historic sites and science stations
- Learn about the environment, wildlife and ecology of Antarctica from polar experts
- Exciting activity options including camping on ice, kayaking & hiking
- Photography expert in residence
- Full board accommodation on board ship
- Charter flight from Punta Arenas (Chile) to King George Island (Antarctica)
- Scheduled flight from Stanley (Falklands) to Punta Arenas (Chile)
- Transfers to & from ship
- Loan of waterproof boots
- Free use of an expedition gear package
- All zodiac excursions and landings
- Programme of expert lectures
- Resident photography guide
ITINERARY11 Nights 12 Days
- Day 1 | Punta Arenas to King George Island
- Days 2 - 3 | Gerlache Strait & Antarctic Peninsula
- Day 4 | South Shetland Islands
- Days 5 - 7 | Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea
- Day 8 | Elephant Island
- Days 9 - 10 | At Sea
- Day 11 | The Falkland Islands
- Day 12 | Stanley to Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas to King George Island
Your adventure begins this morning in Punta Arenas, a beautiful port city in Southern Chile, where after having arrived independently you will join your fellow passengers at a central location to join your transfer to the airport. Your included 2-hour flight to King George Island in the South Shetlands will see you flying over the famous Drake Passage and landing in the pristine wilderness of Antarctica in next to no time. Upon touchdown you will get your first sense of Antarctica’s true magnitude and your first adventure as you transfer to the vessel via Zodiac boat. After a refreshing welcome drink you can spend some time settling in to your comfortable cabin and exploring your new surroundings as we set sail for the heart of Antarctica.
Gerlache Strait & Antarctic Peninsula
This morning we will awake to the awe-inspiring sight of the Antarctic Peninsula and the pure majesty and remarkable remoteness of Antarctica will suddenly become even more apparent. You have arrived in the heart of one of the most spectacular places on earth! Overnight we will have sailed across the Bransfield Strait towards the Gerlache coastline and the anticipation will build as we prepare for our first of many landings.
As with all polar expeditions, our course in Antarctica will be flexible and dependent on ice and weather conditions, but your experienced captain and crew will be sure to make the most of every opportunity available to ensure you get to see all that this incredible area has to offer. Exploring by Zodiac boat and on foot, each day will bring a new adventure and we will be on a constant lookout for the wildlife that abounds here including various species of penguins, seals, whales and seabirds. As we make our way through the waterways of the Peninsula we will sail through the exceptionally scenic Gerlache Strait where some time on deck should reward with numerous whale sightings.
Making our way through the Lemaire Channel our days will be packed full of exciting landings and excursions, visiting historic huts, scientific stations and enjoying energetic walks and hikes across the spectacular landscape. There are various enchanting landing sites that we hope to visit including Pleneau Island and Petermann Island where we will find a sizeable penguin rookery and enjoy a snowy walk to a nearby active science station. We will pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton, and attempt landings at Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay. In the aptly-named Paradise Bay you may be able to enjoy a hike up a snow-covered hill to one of the most spectacular vantage points on the Peninsula, or a Zodiac cruise into the nearby ice ‘cathedral’ of Skontorp Cove.
We also hope to visit Cuverville Island, an important research site where one of the largest gentoo penguin colonies can be found, and Willhelmina Bay which is known as “Whale-mina Bay” thanks to its fantastic whale spotting opportunities. You may wish to partake in the thrilling camping on ice excursion that will be available somewhere along this stretch of coastline if weather conditions allow. This unforgettable experience will see you camping out in your provided tents under the clear Antarctica skies surrounded by nothing but wilderness and the sounds of the Antarctic silence. There will also be excellent opportunities for optional sea kayaking excursions here. Sea kayaking should be booked in advance and occurs an additional cost. Camping on Ice is free of charge and does not need to be booked in advance.
Throughout your time in Antarctica Zodiac cruises, shore walks and entertaining presentations will fill your days and your cameras!
South Shetland Islands
Having enjoyed a thrilling sail along the peninsula we will now head north towards the imposing Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea area, and we hope to sail into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands along the way. This historically rich area is a delight to explore and weather dependent we hope to enjoy a walk around to see the old whaling station and aircraft hangar, learning all about Antarctica’s first flights and early explorations as we walk. We will also be on the lookout for the sizeable penguin rookeries that are often spotted along the distinctive black sand beaches.
Antarctic Sound & Weddell Sea
Having navigated into the Antarctic Sound, this morning we will awake to the awe-inspiring sight of the Antarctic icecap, and as we sail deeper into the Weddell Sea the incredible sight of icebergs increasing both in number and size will not fail to impress. This will bring exciting ice navigation over the course of the next few days and your captain will determine some fantastic landing sites that will surely confirm to you Antarctica’s greatness. The sheer numbers of wildlife, penguins in particular, is also sure to impress, with rookeries vastly outnumbering those that you will have seen so far on your voyage.
Exploring by Zodiac and on foot, the list of places visited in this area is likely to include Brown Bluff, Hope Bay and Paulet Island where we will get to see huge penguin rookeries of up to 100,00 birds, and fascinating geological sites, all surrounded by simply indescribable scenery. We will also be on a constant lookout for the elusive emperor penguins that have been spotted in these areas over the last few years.
As we explore, our expert onboard historians will introduce us to the stories of historical polar explorations including Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904, with remnants of the exploration dotted throughout several locations here. As we sail back out of the Weddell Sea towards Elephant Island our learning will continue as we hear stories of Sir Ernest Shackleton and prepare to visit the island where his tale comes to life.
Whilst onboard your lecture and presentation programme delivered by onboard experts covering everything from Antarctic wildlife and geology to historical polar explorations will have been keeping you entertained. You will now have the chance to get even closer to one particular historical expedition as the dark cliffs of Elephant Island gradually begin to appear on the horizon and excitement builds once again as we attempt to land. This exceptionally historically important area is where Shackleton and his men overwintered having lost the HMS Endurance in thick sea ice back in 1915, and the point from which Shackleton set off on his famous rescue mission to South Georgia. If weather conditions allow, we will hope to land at Point Wild to learn all about the horrendous conditions that Shackleton and his men faced. We will also be on the lookout for the impressive chinstrap penguin colony that resides here and the southern elephant seals and fur seals that are often seen hauled out on the rocky beaches. This will be an exciting day for the history enthusiasts amongst us and a great way to bid farewell to Antarctica.
Leaving the wilderness wonderland of Antarctica behind, we will gently make our way towards the Falkland Islands. As we sail your presentation and lecture programme will continue and your onboard photography expert can help you to collate and make the most of the countless pictures you will have no doubt taken throughout your voyage. Make sure to spend some time on deck looking out for the numerous pelagic seabirds that will be following the ship. As we get close to the Falkland Islands there will be safety and bio-environmental briefings for your time on the islands.
The Falkland Islands
Having arrived along the west coast of the Falkland Islands overnight we will now spend the day exploring 2 of the archipelago’s most scenic spots. Our first landing site will be West Point Island where we will go ashore to see the resident rockhopper penguin rookeries. This will be a fantastic day for the birding enthusiasts amongst us and one of the highlights will be the chance to see a substantial nesting black-browed albatross colony. Observing these majestic birds up-close will be an unforgettable sight.
In the afternoon we will move on to wildlife-rich Saunders Island to explore along the white sandy beaches in search of the four penguin species that can be found here. We will see gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper penguins, but our ultimate goal will be to seek out an observation of the elusive king penguins that are known to sometimes be seen here.
In the evening we will chart course for Stanley and there will be a special voyage recap delivered by your expedition leader. You will also be invited to join the captain for a special farewell dinner to mark the end of your adventure of a lifetime.
Stanley to Punta Arenas
Arrival into the port of Stanley, the capital of The Falklands, will signal the end of our voyage and after disembarkation it will be time to bid farewell to the crew and enjoy some time to explore around this charming town with its distinctly British feel. Discover the town’s quaint multi-coloured buildings, cathedral and local pubs before transferring to the airport for your included flight back to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas a transfer will be provided to a downtown location should you wish to extend your stay in South America. Various extension tours are available, and we would be delighted to help you decide should this be of interest to you.
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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