Get a personal appreciation for the struggle to tame the bottom of the world on this 22-day adventure to the land than entranced Ernest Shackleton and countless others since. Explore the Falkland Islands, encounter abandoned whaling stations on South Georgia Island, and pay your respects at Shackleton’s grave. Elsewhere, you’ll catch up with penguins (king, chinstrap, and gentoo varieties) and learn all about them through daily lectures, get close to whales and cavorting seals from a Zodiac boat, and keep an eye peeled for towering icebergs and massive glaciers. Prepare to be astonished.
Arrive at any time (arrival transfer included). An arrival transfer will meet you at the airport to take you to the hotel. There are no planned activities so enjoy the city. There will be a group meeting in the early evening to discuss the plans for tomorrow.
Day 2 Montevideo/South Atlantic Ocean
Embarkation on the Expedition begins in the afternoon at the port of Montevideo. Transfer as a group in the early afternoon. The morning is free, take the chance to explore one of Montevideo's colourful neighbourhoods. The evening is spent onboard the ship sailing southwards towards the Falkland Islands.
Days 3–5 South Atlantic Ocean/Falkland Islands
With course set southeast, become acquainted with the ship. Enjoy the lecture and educational sessions about the extraordinary human and natural history of the Antarctic region. Spend time on deck to spot wildlife including albatross and possibly whales and dolphins. Relax in the library, grab a drink in the Polar Bear Pub, or make some new friends in the Discovery Lounge.
Daily lectures and educational program
Attend lectures hosted throughout the day on everything from local wildlife to geology to history. The Expedition has one of the highest ratios of expedition team members to guests – with one expert for every ten guests there is always someone on hand to answer questions and provide greater insight and appreciation of the world at its extremes. The expedition team is comprised of professional and highly skilled historians, marine biologists, and naturalists who offer keen insight and a unique personal perspective to each and every adventure.
Days 6–7 Falkland Islands/Southern Ocean
The Falkland Islands provide a rare opportunity to witness the biological diversity and extraordinary scenery of the southern islands. Penguins and albatross are abundant here, and the Falklands have the largest black-browed albatross colony in the world. Witness the biological diversity and spectacular scenery of the southern islands on a stop at the Falkland Islands. With any luck, catch a glimpse of penguins like the Magellanic, Rockhopper and Gentoo species. Keep a look out for some of the island’s other wildlife like sea lions, king cormorants, black-browed albatross, skuas, night herons, giant petrels, striated caracaras, and sheep. Stop at Port Stanley for an opportunity to meet the hardy local inhabitants whose colourful houses provide contrast to the long dark winters. The town is the capital of the Falkland Islands, most locals head to Stanley to do their shopping, visit the post office, or go golfing. The bomb disposal unit from the Falklands War in 1982 is also in the town as well as several war museums.
Days 8–9 Southern Ocean/South Georgia
With course set for South Georgia, days at sea are filled with lectures to prepare for landings. Look out for the many whales that inhabit these waters. Our lecture series resumes to prepare us for South Georgia, spend plenty of time on deck to identify the abundant sea birds of the South Ocean.
Days 10–13 South Georgia/Scotia Sea
Home to many interesting sites (including the grave of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton), South Georgia has several former whaling stations and boasts plenty of wildlife. Visit a huge colony of king penguins, a major highlight of this part of the journey. Weather permitting, enjoy 3-4 days free to explore this island. South Georgia Island is home to many marvels including Shackleton’s grave, former whaling stations, incredible scenery and prolific wildlife. A huge colony of king penguins is the highlight of this part of the journey. On nearby islands look out for the wandering albatross in their nesting grounds.
Days 14–15 Scotia Sea/South Shetland Islands
Plotting a southwesterly course across the Scotia Sea, sail for two days, retracing Shackleton's route backwards. Plotting a southwesterly course across the Scotia Sea, sail for two days the legendary Elephant Island in the South Shetland Islands. The waters are rich with nutrients and the long summer days provide the ingredient that is missing most of the year. The result is a complex food chain topped by several species of whales, seals, and seabirds.
Days 16–19 South Shetland Islands/Drake Passage
Experience some of the most unique wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery in the South Shetland Islands, just north of the Antarctic Peninsula. Attempt two shore landings per day (weather permitting), and encounter gentoo, chinstrap, and Adélie penguin rookeries; Weddell, crabeater, and leopard seals; and orca, humpback, and minke whales in the cold Antarctic waters.
The peninsula also has a remarkable human history; during the voyage we will learn about some of the most important and dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the world.
Hop into one of the Expedition’s 14 Zodiacs and take the quick, safe trip from the ship to the shore to encounter the awe-inspiring wilderness of Antarctica. Thanks to the performance of these boats in remote conditions, quick trips to shore are easily accomplished. Get up close to towering icebergs, glaciers and amazing wildlife. Depending on weather conditions these excursions will hopefully happen daily.
Days 20–21 Drake Passage/Ushuaia
Reflect on a memorable adventure and take in some final lectures on route back to Ushuaia. Keep a careful look out for a last chance to spot whales.
Turning north, embark upon the 400 mile crossing of the passage that bears the name of the 16th century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. The Expedition is at home in this part of the Southern Ocean, known for the unimpeded never ending fetch of the winds that encircle the Antarctic.
At some point on the first day, cross the Antarctic Convergence, a meeting of cold polar water flowing north and warmer sub-antarctic water moving in the opposite direction. It is the largest biological barrier on earth and is marked by a change in temperature, salinity and nutrient levels. The north flowing Antarctic waters predominantly sink beneath southward moving sub-antarctic waters. While further south associated areas of mixing and upwelling create an ocean very high in marine productivity.
Wandering, Black-browed and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Prion's and Cap Petrels are among some of the species of seabirds that may join the Expedition on the journey towards the South American continent.
Day 22 Ushuaia
Disembark in the morning. Our adventure comes to a close. Have a final breakfast on the expedition ship before saying our goodbyes as we disembark in Ushuaia in the morning. Fly out of Ushuaia anytime from noon onwards.
Please note while it is our intention to adhere to the itinerary described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. On the first day on board, meet the Expedition Leader for an expedition overview.