Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula 21 daysAboard: MV Ortelius M/V Hondius M/V Janssonius
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. This extended itinerary sails from Puerto Madryn to Ushuaia.
This trip operates on various dates aboard 3 different vessels. Mentioned activities may not be applicable to all departure dates. Some departures will be dedicated birdwatching itineraries. Please enquire for full rates and dates.
- Falkland Islands wildlife and scenery
- South Georgia wildlife, scenery and history
- Magnificent Antarctic ice and landscapes
- See at least 6 different species of penguin
- Myriad birdlife
- Whales and other marine mammals
- Polar diving available on select departures (fees apply)
- 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 and presentations
- Loan of rubber boots
So much to experience
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Your fantastic Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia expedition will begin in Puerto Madryn, where after having arrived independently you will embark your ship in the afternoon. As you settle in to your cabin, your ship will sail south towards the Falklands. Golfo Nuevo is renowned for its visiting southern right whales, so you have a good chance of spotting one as you sail toward the open ocean.
As we make the sea crossing towards the Falkland Islands your programme of informative and entertaining lectures and presentations will begin, covering everything from the geology and wildlife you are about to discover to the history of Antarctic exploration. There will also be safety and bio-environmental briefings in preparation for your time in the Falklands. We recommend spending some time on deck to spot the several species of albatross which will likely be following the ship along with storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.
As we arrive in the Falkland Islands, we plan to spend the day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. The exceptionally scenic Falklands offer an abundance of wildlife and have an intriguing history. Our first adventure may be the wild and rarely visited island of Steeple Jason where we will find the world’s largest black-browed albatross colony. We will then journey onwards for a hike along the shore of Carcass Island which will give us views of magellanic and gentoo penguins, as well as close encounters with elephant seals, water fowl, night herons and passerines. Later we will visit Saunders Island 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 one of the charming pubs.
As we sail from the Falklands towards South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence and the temperatures will become considerably cooler. As we spend these 2 days at sea there will be excellent opportunities for bird spotting on deck with likely sightings of several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas. The informative and entertaining lecture programme will also continue as well as briefings for your time on South Georgia.
On day 8 we will arrive in the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, a remote and exceptionally scenic island that is home to millions of penguins and other birdlife and wildlife. Over the next few days we will explore the eastern coast of the island searching for wildlife, scenic opportunities and visiting sites of historical interest. Places we expect to visit include Prion Island where we will find a large colony of Wandering Albatross and witness the gentle nature of these animals, which possess the largest wingspan of any birds in the world.
We will also visit Fortuna Bay where a hive of wildlife activity will greet us on the beaches. You will see various penguins and seals as well as having the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness.
Later we will visit the areas of Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour to see the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia. These areas are also home to three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals, and you may also see a substantial number of Antarctic fur seals here during the breeding season (December – January).
During our time here we will also have chance to visit the abandoned whaling station of Grytkiven where king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals are in abundance. We hope to have chance to see the South Georgia Museum as well as visiting Shackleton’s grave to pay our respects at the final resting place of one of Antarctica’s most well-known explorers.
As we leave South Georgia behind and sail south towards Antarctica your ship will again be followed by a multitude of seabirds so make sure to spend some time on deck for excellent photo opportunities. On our sail we may encounter some 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. Onboard briefings will be held to prepare you for your time on the Antarctic continent and your programme of lectures and talks will continue.
South Orkney Islands
Before reaching the Peninsula we may stop, ice conditions dependent, on Laurie Island in the South Orkney archipelago to visit Orcadas Base, an Argentine scientific station. The personnel here will happily show you their facility, where you can enjoy expansive views of the surrounding glaciers. If a visit isn’t possible, we may instead land in Signy Island’s Shingle Cove.
As we make our last push towards Antarctica keep an eye out on deck for the enormous icebergs of all shapes and sizes that will dot the landscape. There are also great chances of spotting Antarctic petrels and fin whales. Next stop Antarctica!
Welcome to Antarctica, a land of superlatives! Enchanting scenery, unique wildlife encounters and thrilling adventures await as we spend our days exploring by Zodiac and on foot to get up close to the action. Your exact itinerary here will be determined by weather and ice conditions with your captain choosing each day which areas to visit for optimum experiences.
We plan to sail into the Weddell Sea where colossal tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Our first possible stops will be Paulet Island which is home to large population of Adélie penguins, and Brown Bluff in the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound which may offer our first chance to step foot on the Antarctic Continent itself. If sea conditions don’t allow for entry to the Weddell Sea from the east we will instead set course for Elephant Island and head into the Bransfield Strait in an attempt to enter the Antarctic Sound from the northwest.
After an exploration of the Sound we will head towards the often windswept and mist-shrouded South Shetland Islands to discover its wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels). We will visit Half Moon Island to see the Cámara Base, an Argentine scientific research station, and witness the Chinstrap penguins and Weddell seals hauled out on the beach. We plan to sail through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera of Deception Island where we will make land to find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of cape petrels. An excellent area for birding, we are likely to see a number of kelp gulls, brown skuas, south polar skuas, and Antarctic terns as well as Wilson’s storm petrels and black-bellied storm petrels.
We will then sail along the Peninsula where there will be opportunities for great landings in an epic landscape of alpine peaks and mammoth glaciers calving at sea level. Gentoo penguins, leopard seals, Weddell seals, humpback whales, and minke whales are often seen here. We continue to sail through the breathtaking scenery of the southern Gerlache Strait stopping to explore at select points along the Peninsula. If ice conditions allow, we may reach the Lemaire Channel before turning northwards towards the Drake Passage.
As our exhilarating expedition comes to end it’s time to head back north through the Drake Passage where again the ship will be followed by a vast array of seabirds. Enjoy the last presentations from your team of noted naturalists and take the time to dissolve all of the unforgettable memories you will have made on your once in a lifetime expedition.
As we sail through the scenic Beagle Channel and arrive in Ushuaia in the early morning it’s sadly time to say goodbye to your crew and fellow shipmates. After breakfast you will disembark and a group transfer will be provided to the airport for onward or homeward journeys.
A view from Above
Ortelius was built as a Russian scientific survey ship with ice strengthened hull, ideal for polar sailing. She has been completely refurbished and has a selection of suites and cabins with windows or portholes and either private or shared facilities. There are twin dining rooms, lecture room, bar and observation lounge and lots of open deck space plus an open-bridge policy. Ortelius also has a helicopter landing pad and helicopter excursions are available on some itineraries.
A brand-new (2019) deluxe vessel that has been built to the very highest Polar Class for ice-strengthened vessels. The first civilian vessel in the world to receive a Polar Class 6 notation and designed to fully comply with the mandatory requirements of the Polar code, the M/V Hondius leads the way for both safe ship operation and protection of the Polar environment.
Providing deluxe accommodation for up to 174 passengers the M/V Hondius offers one of the highest comfort experiences of all vessels which operate in the Polar Regions. The accommodation onboard is provided in numerous suites of varying sizes, from the Hondius Suite to quadruple porthole cabins, with all cabins having either a balcony, large windows or portholes. Each cabin has been custom-designed and impeccably outfitted in a stylish décor.
The M/V Hondius has been designed to offer a deluxe feel whilst still maintaining a sense of cosy camaraderie, with welcoming communal, observation and dining areas. An entire deck has been dedicated to space for lectures and presentations, and every element of the vessel has been thoroughly thought-out to provide the very best passenger experience.
The vessel features a sheltered Zodiac boarding zone making joining and returning from land-based excursions fast and easy, and has been built to exceed the latest Green requirements imposed by the International Maritime Organisation to ensure that your trip causes as little impact as possible on the areas you will visit.
The brand-new (late 2021) M/V Janssonius is an innovative Polar vessel which meets the latest and highest Lloyd’s Register standards for ice-strengthened cruise ships. Now one of the most advanced touring vessels in the polar regions, Janssonius is thoroughly optimized for exploratory voyages and surpasses the requirements of the Polar Code adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Built to be one of the most environmentally friendly vessels on the polar seas, Janssonius uses LED lighting, steam heating, bio-degradable paints and lubricants, and state-of-the-art power management systems that keep fuel consumption and CO2 levels minimal.
Offering high-quality hotel style accommodation for up to 170 passengers, Janssonius offers immaculate cabins of varying sizes, from the Grand Suite to quadruple porthole cabins, with all cabins having either a balcony, large windows, or portholes. Each cabin has been custom-designed and impeccably outfitted in a stylish mid-century modern décor.
Onboard you will find a unique blend of deluxe surroundings combined with a cosy and informal atmosphere. The ship features an expansive observation lounge, a lecture theatre and a welcoming dining room, as well as two Zodiac embarkation platforms for swift access to sea and land activities.
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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