Join in Ushuaia and transfer (off selected flights) to the group hotel for overnight accommodation in a twin share room.
This morning is at leisure to explore Ushuaia and mid afternoon we will board the Greg Mortimer and settle in. Early evening we set sail down the Beagle Channel and enjoy our welcome dinner aboard the ship.
Some of us will approach this historic crossing with more than a little trepidation. But despite its reputation, there are many times when the Drake Passage resembles a lake, with lazy Southern Ocean swells rolling under the keel. On the other hand, we sometimes encounter rough crossings with large waves. The size of the waves and the force of the gale will take on gigantic proportions when related around the fire back home. The mood on board is definitely casual. A favourite pastime is to stand at the stern deck watching the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels, following in our wake, skillfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. During our Drake crossing, we will commence our lecture program about the wildlife, geology, history and geography of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica is a photographers' paradise, for the professional and amateur alike. There will be discussions about how to protect your equipment from salt water, and tips about taking good pictures. Nearing the tip of the Peninsula towards the end of day three, excitement reaches fever pitch with everyone on the bridge watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you forever.
Awakening to the thrill of Antarctica! Weather and ice permitting, we'll visit busy penguin rookeries, historic sites and make a continental landing. A host of choices is now open to us and depending on the ice and weather conditions the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. This is the advantage of having such knowledgeable leaders, who have made countless journeys to this area. They will use their experience to design our voyage from day to day and make best use of the prevailing weather and ice conditions. As we are so far south, we will experience approximately 20 hours' daylight. There is plenty of time for sleep when you get home!
Today we endeavour to undertake a zodiac cruise at Point Wild, Elephant Island, paying tribute to the survival of Shackleton's men under command of Frank Wild.
En route to South Georgia, we following in Shackleton's wake across the Scotia Sea, and reflect on what we've seen and learned so far.
South Georgia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Located in one of the most desolate parts of the planet it's a tiny speck in the far South Atlantic Ocean. A 9000-foot mountain range traces the spine of this long, narrow island. Between the mountains, shattered glaciers carve their way through tussock grass to the deeply indented coastline. Our South Georgia landings are mostly along the northeast coast. We'll see; the world's largest king penguin rookeries, wandering albatross on nests, beaches of elephant and fur seals, macaroni and rockhopper penguin colonies, walking Shackleton's route from Fortuna Bay to Stromness and visiting Grytviken's whaling museum.
Spot albatross and whales, cross the Scotia Sea to the Falklands, home to magellanic penguins, sea lion and historic Port Stanley.
Guided by black-browed albatross and dolphins, we sail to the Beagle Channel, sharing photos and final a dinner with friends.
During the early morning we will cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia. After breakfast our trip concludes.