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South Georgia & Antarctica Peninsula Odyssey

The sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia is a rare jewel, blessed with huge glaciers, a profusion of wildlife and rich in Antarctic history. From the old whaling station at Grytviken, the burial place of Ernest Shackleton, to the enormous King Penguin rookery at Salisbury Plain, the island provides visitors with an unforgettable Antarctic experience. Combine this with time to explore the natural wonders of the Falklands, the Orkneys, the Shetlands and the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula and you have the essence of this remarkable voyage. Our time in South Georgia will be spent visiting rookeries with literally thousands of King, Macaroni and Rockhopper Penguins. We will continue the voyage to the Antarctic, visiting the South Orkney Islands enroute and attempting to land on the wild and spectacular Elephant Island. Exploring the western flanks of the Antarctic Peninsula provides a further highlight and, as with our other voyages to Antarctica we have time for regular shore excursions to walk among the many penguins and seals and visit the scientific stations.

Inclusions

17 breakfasts, 16 lunches and 17 dinners
Comfortable cabin accommodation and use of all public areas on cruise
Specialist expedition staff
All sightseeing and shore excursions from the ship including the use of Zodiacs
Lectures, videos, slide and film shows and guide services
Medical services. There is a resident medical officer and infirmary on board
Port taxes and port charges imposed by government authorities
Pre-departure information
Flight from Santiago to Port Stanley
Complimentary Polar Expedition Jacket
Keepsake Photo Book (one per booking) created from photography taken during your voyage
Hightlights
Falkland Islands, Port Stanley and the magnificent South Georgia
Narrow sheltered waterways and fjords
Spectacular mountains rising directly out of the sea
Historic sites, including Shackleton's last resting place
The most accessible and wildlife-rich part of Antarctica - penguins, whales, seals, sea birds
Active scientific stations
Icebergs and active glaciers
Kayaking through Antarctic waters (optional charge applies)
Opportunity to cross the mountains of South Georgia in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton (optional)
Ski on the great white continent (optional)
Spend a night camping on the ice
Tour Provider World Expeditions
Number of Days
18
Price From
AUD $14,600
Start Location
Santago or Punta Arenas, Antarctica
End Location
Antarctica
Age Range
Min :14
Group Size
1 to 54
Tour Style
Original
Tour Themes
Marine/Cruise
Physical Rating
Mild
Tour departure dates
StartEndAvailabilityPrice
01 Dec 201818 Dec 2018AvailableAUD $14,600
ItineraryExpand
Day 1
Today we meet in Santiago Airport for early morning departure to Port Stanley (via Punta Arenas), Falkland Islands. In the afternoon we board the ship and prepare for an early evening departure.
Days 2-3
Between the Falklands and South Georgia, 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. You may decide to join the whale watchers on the bridge, or just relax and read a favourite book. The mood on board is definitely casual. As we depart the Falkland Islands we will commence our lecture program. During the voyage's various sea passages, we will learn about the wildlife, geology, history and geography of the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. Our various destinations are a photographer's paradise for the professional and amateur alike. There will be discussions about how to protect your equipment from salt water and tips for taking good pictures. If time and weather conditions permit we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea. Blue-eyed cormorants fill the air; their precarious nesting sites are white with guano.
Days 4-8
South Georgia is one of the most beautiful places in the world. South Georgia is a tiny speck in the South Atlantic Ocean, located in one of the most desolate parts of our planet. A 3,000-metre 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. We have ample time to explore the network of harbours along South Georgia's spectacular northern coast, visiting wildlife havens that include the world's largest king penguin rookeries and majestic albatross nests. Kayakers revel in paddling the coastline's nooks and crannies, accompanied by playful seals. In Stromness and Grytviken harbours, 3000-metre peaks form dramatic backdrops to the remains of whaling stations. Kelp-strewn beaches are cluttered with basking elephant seals, feisty fur seals and a plethora of penguins.
Days 9-10
Leaving South Georgia we will head across the Scotia Sea in a south-westerly direction towards the South Orkneys, a stunning group of remote and isolated islands.
Day 11
The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of the sight of your first iceberg will remain with you forever. Today we hope to make landings on and around the South Orkney Islands. We may visit beautiful Shingle Cove on Coronation Island, where we will have our first view of Adelie penguins. Or we may visit the Argentinean station of Orcardas, where the remains of the 1904 Bruce Expedition hut can still be seen.
Day 12
Today we set course for the Antarctic Peninsula. Our recaps and lectures will resume and there will be time to gather strength for the busy days ahead. If the weather is kind we will attempt firstly to land on historic Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetlands. After their ship the 'Endurance' was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, Ernest Shackleton and his men climbed into three open boats and finally, on 14 April 1916, made landfall on this tiny t of rock and ice in the vastness of the Southern Ocean. We may sail past Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men first put ashore. Weather permitting; we hope to follow the coastline six miles west to Point Wild. We will attempt to make a landing where the men eventually set up camp under two of their upturned open boats and some old tents, while Sir Ernest, Worsley and four other crew members sailed to South Georgia for help. Conditions are often unsuitable for landing due to the large swells surging around hidden rocks, but it is always worth a try! Just to set eyes on this hallowed site sends shivers down the spine.
Days 13-15
We visit the South Shetland Islands before sailing overnight down Gerlache Strait. Awaken to the thrill of Antarctica, where we plan to 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. Our experienced leaders, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use this expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather and ice conditions and wildlife opportunities. As we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours' daylight. There is plenty of time for sleep when you get home! Once we arrive in the calmer waters of the Bransfield and Gerlache Straits, we will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions two to three times a day. Sometimes we will cruise along spectacular ice cliffs, or follow whales that are feeding near the surface.
Days 16-17
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. A favourite pastime is to stand at the stern deck watching the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels, following in our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
Day 18
During the early morning we will cruise up the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia. After breakfast our trip concludes.