South Georgia & Antarctic Odyssey 19 daysAboard: Greg Mortimer
Join this exciting expedition aboard the new polar vessel the Greg Mortimer and enjoy the very best of what the Antarctica region has to offer. Flying from Santiago to Stanley in the Falklands Islands, you will board your ship there and briefly visit some of this beautiful archipelago. You will then sail on for an in-depth exploration of the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, home to millions of fur seals and penguins, wallows of elephant seals, and nesting albatross, as well as captivating historic sites. Your exceptional itinerary will be rounded off with a classic Antarctic Peninsula cruise where you will discover a land of towering icebergs, pristine scenery and enchanting wildlife.
- Spectacular Antarctic scenery
- Explore the wildlife paradise of South Georgia
- Step foot on the Antarctic Peninsula
- Enjoy a brief exploration of the Falklands
- Amazing wildlife including an abundance of penguins, birds and whales
- Activity options including kayaking, snowshoeing and a Shackleton Crossing skiing adventure (costs apply)
- Enjoy exciting Zodiac cruises throughout
- Visit historical and scientific sites
- Resident photography guide
- Full board accommodation on board ship with daily breakfast, lunch and dinner, afternoon tea and snacks
- Wines, beers and soft drinks with dinner
- 1 night accommodation in Santiago pre-voyage, with breakfast included
- Flight from Santiago to Stanley in the Falkland Islands
- City tour of Stanley prior to embarkation
- Transfers from ship & luggage transfer to ship
- Captain's Welcome and Farewell drinks including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- All Zodiac landings and excursions
- Programme of expert lectures
- Loan of rubber boots
- Complimentary 3-in-1 polar jacket
So much to experience
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All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Your itinerary begins in Santiago, the vibrant capital of Chile, where upon arriving independently you will be greeted at the airport and transferred to the hotel for your included overnight stay. There will be a briefing in the evening to meet your fellow expeditioners and then the evening will be at your leisure.
You may wish to arrive in Santiago a couple of days early to see more of this memorable city.
The Falkland Islands
After breakfast in the hotel on the morning of day 2, you will transfer to the airport for your included flight to Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Islands. Upon arrival in Stanley there will be time for a tour of this charming town to discover its distinctly British feel, colourful houses, quaint pubs and cafes and fascinating museum. The tour will end at the pier where you will board your vessel.
After settling in to your comfortable cabin and familiarising yourself with the ship’s facilities, we will set sail.
The following day we will hope to visit some of the remote islands in the archipelago including the aptly named Sealion Island to visit the nature reserve and discover how the island’s raw beauty and solitude make it a haven for both wildlife and visitors alike. Whilst here you can hope to enjoy observations of bountiful elephant seals and sea lions as well as an abundance of birds including Magellanic, Rockhopper, Macaroni, King and Gentoo penguins, Striated and Crested Caracaras, southern giant petrels, thrushes and finches. There are also good chances of seeing Peale’s dolphins and maybe even pods of orcas.
As we leave The Falkland Islands behind we will spend approximately 2 to 3 days at sea sailing through the Scotia Sea towards the wildlife paradise of South Georgia. Your informative and entertaining lecture programme will continue along with bio-security briefings for your time on the island. As we pass the Shag Rocks keep an eye out on deck for the abundant seabirds that follow the ship.
Welcome to the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, a mostly uninhabited land filled with historic associations, spectacular scenery and some of the world’s largest king penguin rookeries. Lying wholly within the Antarctic Convergence, South Georgia is a life-sustaining haven to some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife, and your time here will allow for an in-depth exploration of the island, with your captain choosing each day the best spots to visit for the ultimate wildlife and scenic experiences. You will explore the stunning northern coast as well as the Stromness and Grytviken harbours, where 3000-metre peaks form dramatic backdrops to the remains of whaling stations. You can enjoy Zodiac excursions each day, and for the kayakers there are plentiful areas along the beautiful coastline to explore and get up close to the playful seals that frequent the waters. Enjoy walks along the beaches where an abundance of basking elephant seals, feisty fur seals and busy penguins jostle for the perfect spot, and take the time to soak up the sights and sounds of this simply remarkable island.
Synonymous with the epic expedition of survival by Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean, if conditions permit we will attempt to follow in their footsteps and complete the final leg of their journey on a walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. Our expert historians will share tales along the way of these hardy explorers’ feats and fates. We will also be able to pay our respects at Shackleton’s final resting place in Grytviken. On this expedition you will have the unique chance to partake in a special 3-day Shackleton Crossing skiing excursion where you will attempt to repeat the full journey taken by Shackleton and his men across an extreme mountain environment from King Haakon Bay to Stromness. This energetic activity will see you cover a distance of around 50 kilometres, and a suitable level of cross-country skiing or alpine trekking experience will be necessary to participate. The cost of this excursion is not included as part of your package and the activity should be booked in advance.
As well as gaining some in-depth knowledge of Shackleton’s feats, our main focus here will be on the indescribable numbers of wildlife that is found here. In St Andrews Bay you can enjoy a walk along the long black sandy beach to visit the largest King penguin colony on the island as well as hundreds of elephant seals. The sight and sound of over 200,000 pairs of King penguins at different stages of their breeding cycle jostling with the seals for prime spots along the beach, all set amongst the most incredible backdrop of spectacular snow-capped mountains, is something you won’t forget in a hurry. In Godthul you can enjoy a gentle walk along the tussock to a spectacular plateau offering magnificent views across the island, and seek out the large Macaroni penguin colony on the way back down, whilst in Salisbury Plains you will be greeted by 100,000 more pairs of king penguins as well as fur and elephant seals.
Aside from the penguins, there will be ample opportunities for enjoyable Zodiac cruises and walks, including in Fortuna Bay and across the landscapes of Grytviken where you can see the reminders of the historic whaling days. Another highlight will be the Bay of Isles where you can observe, from a safe distance, the magnificent wandering albatrosses proudly protecting their chicks. Other areas we may visit include Cooper Bay, Drygalski Fjord and Elsehul Bay.
At Sea & Elephant Island
Leaving the wonders of South Georgia behind, we will now make our way towards the majesty of Antarctica. Your onboard lecture and presentation programme will continue, along with safety briefings for your time on the “white continent”, and some time on deck should reward with numerous sightings of seabirds and whales.
Throughout your journey you will have been learn all about Sir Ernest Shackleton’s historical explorations, and on day 12 you will have the chance to learn even more as we visit Elephant Island, where Shackleton’s men wintered beneath their upturned boats. Weather permitting you can board the Zodiacs and head towards Point Wild to go ashore to pay tribute to these hardy souls. We’ll learn the story of Shackleton and hear how his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, before him and his men climbed into three open boats, spending 16 months at sea, before finally making landfall on this tiny toe of rock and ice in the vastness of the Southern Ocean on 14 April, 1916.
Moving on to the Peninsula, the size and frequency of the icebergs on the horizon increase and the anticipation will build for the first of many landings in the indescribable Antarctic wilderness.
As you awake on day 13 the sight that awaits this morning is the stunning Antarctic Peninsula. A land of superlatives, Antarctica’s vast proportions are a sight to behold. Enjoy twice daily Zodiac excursions to explore penguin rookeries, visit historic sites and scientific stations, and get up close to the masses of elaborate icebergs. Watch seals basking on the ice floes, join an excursion in search of orca sightings, and enjoy the exhilaration of stepping foot on the white continent. As with all polar expeditions, your exact itinerary in Antarctica will be dictated by weather and wildlife sighting opportunities so be prepared for the unexpected. Making the most of every moment, your captain will choose the best course each day for wildlife viewings and adventures, with a new experience guaranteed each day.
Some of the fantastic landing sites we expect to visit throughout your time in Antarctica include the beautiful protected bay of Paradise Harbour where you can enjoy an exciting Zodiac cruise in search of whales including humpbacks, minkes and orcas, seals and various bird species including terns, gulls and blue-eyed shags. If ice conditions allow, your ship will sail through the exceptionally scenic Lemaire Channel, where time in the observation lounge or on deck will reward in incredible views of the surrounding towering cliffs and majestic icebergs reflecting off the silky still water surfaces.
Other areas along the Peninsula we hope to visit include the Hydrurga Rocks where you can search for observations of Weddell seals, leopard seals and chinstrap penguins, Neko Harbour where dramatic scenery of towering peaks and calving glaciers plays host to a large colony of gentoo penguins and more Weddell seals, and the important scientific research spot of Port Lockroy where we can learn all about Antarctica’s history and where you can send a postcard from the world’s most southern Post Office! Other possible landing sites include the Petermann and Pleneau Islands, Cuverville Island, Danco Island and the Melchior Islands.
If time allows we may make our way to the South Shetland Islands to visit the wildlife-rich Half Moon Island where beautiful glaciers and mountains coloured by yellow and orange lichens are home to a large chinstrap penguin colony, fur and elephant seals and various birds including gulls and blue-eyed shags. We may also visit the small Argentinean research station here.
Throughout your time in Antarctica we will have approximately 18-20 hours of daylight in which to enjoy exploration on land and by sea, with your expert expedition team and resident photography coach accompanying you throughout. For the more adventurous there will be ample opportunities for kayaking and snowshoeing excursions. Please note, kayaking and snowshoeing incur an additional cost and should be booked in advance.
At Sea - Drake Passage
As your epic adventure comes to an end it’s sadly time to head back towards Ushuaia. As your captain steers the ship across the legendary Drake Passage you can take the time to revel in all you will have experienced. Exchange stories with your new friends, keep watch on deck for seabirds and whales, and enjoy the final lectures and presentations from your expert team. On the last evening there will be an enjoyable farewell dinner with cocktails and a four-course meal, and your ship may make a ceremonial rounding of Cape Horn.
On the morning of day 19 you will awake to your ship gently cruising along the Beagle Channel into Ushuaia, as your epic adventure comes to an end. After breakfast it will be time to say goodbye as you disembark and transfer to the airport or to a downtown location should you wish to extend your time in Ushuaia.
A view from Above
The brand new (2018-19) “Greg Mortimer” is a purpose-built expedition vessel capable of negotiating the strongest winds and waves, and has been built to world-class polar standards. The Greg Mortimer redefines expedition cruising for the future, utilising the ULSTEIN X-BOW, a cutting edge nautical technology which allows for gentle travel and motion at sea, reduced vibrations, improved comfort and safety on board, virtual anchoring, lower fuel consumption and lower air emissions.
Robust, powerful, and built with passengers’ comfort and safety at the forefront of design, the Greg Mortimer features a modern ice-strengthened hull at ice class 1A, four sea-level launching platforms for fast and efficient access to Zodiacs, a custom-built activity platform, the most up-to-date and concise safety features including the latest ‘return to port’ technology, and has been built to meet and exceed the strict environment standards of the Polar Code, for non-intrusive and low-impact voyages.
For exceptional at sea wildlife and scenery viewing opportunities the ship has custom-built hydraulic platforms offering unobstructed views, an indoor observation lounge, side viewing platforms and an outdoor top deck which allows for 360-degree views.
With space for 132 passengers the ship has 80 well designed staterooms with en-suite bathrooms, ranging from porthole to balcony categories, a large dining room/restaurant with family style dining, a spacious lecture room, a well stocked library, Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa, a multimedia room and a fully-stocked medical centre.
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
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.Steve Sutton
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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