Antarctica & South Georgia
Next DepartureMar. 1, 2019
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, Photography, Wildlife observations, Zodiac
On this extraordinary 15-day voyage, follow in the wake of courageous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica and the South Shetlands before heading via Antarctic Sound, Weddell Sea and Elephant Island to South Georgia.
We will explore the Antarctic Sound with its mighty tabular icebergs and enter the Weddell Sea in search for Adelie and Emperor penguins.
Sailing onwards between South Georgia and Elephant Island offers a small glimpse into the passage made famous by Shackleton 100 years ago, when he navigated the 1300km course through open seas of Drake Passage in an effort to save his stranded crew. Active research stations, former whaling stations and a visit to Shackleton’s final resting place are in our agenda. South Georgia is also home to the world’s largest king penguin rookeries.
The sub-Antarctic and Antarctic islands are a nature photographer’s paradise and we will attempt as many shore landings as possible per day, weather conditions permitting, bringing you close to Antarctica’s beauty. During our days at sea, a variety of onboard edutainment activities, from lectures to workshops and wildlife spotting, will be possible.
Arrival and embarkation in Ushuaia.
Arrive and embark in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost town. Explore the quaint city or local countryside. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path to the raw, natural archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It's a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and boggy quagmires. In the afternoon, we board our ship, Ocean Atlantic.
Our journey begins as we navigate through the calms of Beagle Channel, a strait in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago.
At Sea. Drake Passage, King George Island
Sailing onward, we cross the famed Drake Passage - a body of water that marks the intersection of the cold Antarctic with the warmer Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Drake Passage is known for strong westerly winds, heavy sea, and its nickname ‘The Roaring Fifties’. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest confidently aboard our expedition vessel, Ocean Atlantic, which is purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and a highly qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement – and soon you can tick it off on the list yourself!
In the Drake, the excitement builds as Antarctic wildlife comes into view with our first sight of seals, penguins and albatrosses.
Having crossed the Drake we will explore the sub-Antarctic islands of the South Shetland chain and be marveled by the captivating landscapes we will encounter along the way. Weather permitting, we hope to make our first landfall on King George Island before continuing further south to the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea
Over the coming days, we will begin the exciting Antarctic experience at the very tip of the Continent. During these days in the Antarctic Sound, named in 1902 after the Swedish vessel Antarctic, the Captain – and we – will keep a watchful eye on the mighty tabular icebergs, born from the floating Larsen Ice Shelf further south. We aim to have both continental and island landings on the shores of Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea, always on the lookout for some of the unusually large penguin colonies, which have recently been observed.
The itinerary and activities over the next few days depend on weather and ice conditions. The route and shore landings will be determined by the Captain and Expedition Leader and communicated to the guests through regularly scheduled briefings.
Drake Passage and South Georgia
From the Weddell Sea we continue our journey into the open sea, just as Ernest Shackleton and his men did 103 years ago. Having lost their ship Endurance deep south in the Weddell Sea they moved slowly north on ice floes and later in open lifeboats until they reached Elephant Island. From here started one of the most remarkable boat journeys in the polar history, when Shackleton and five of his men during two weeks navigated the 720 nautical miles to South Georgia to call for recovery of his stranded crew on Elephant Island. Passing Elephant Island at close distance we on the other hand will reach the mighty South Georgia after just a few days at sea!
South Georgia offers stunning wildlife experiences with a wealth of breeding penguins, sea birds, sea lions and seals, all seeking shelter in this oasis amidst the roaring Southern Ocean. Previous whaling history pops up in most of fjords we will explorer – not least in Grytviken the only inhabited settlement on this mountainous island. Grytviken is also the last resting place for Ernest Shackleton, after he died on yet another Antarctica voyage in 1922. We will explorer the fjords of the north coast for 2-3 days and take as many shore landings as time and the swelling sea will allow us.
South Atlantic, approaching South America
Days at sea are great for participating in lectures, photo sessions and recaps, reading books in the ship library and watching the ubiquitous storm petrels and albatrosses from top deck. Or just to relax.
Arrival in Ushuaia and disembarkation
After having entered the Beagle Channel between Tierra del Fuego and Isla Navarino during the night, Ocean Atlantic goes alongside in the port of Ushuaia. Disembarkation after breakfast.
Inclusions / Exclusions
19-day cruise with accommodation in a shared double cabin featuring ensuite facilities
Transfer to the ship in Ushuaia on embarkation
All Zodiac landings and excursions as per itinerary
Rubber boot rentals
Guiding and lectures by our expedition leader and team
English-speaking expedition team
Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
Free tea and coffee 24 hours daily
Transfer to the airport in Ushuaia on disembarkation
Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
Single room supplement and cabin upgrades
Meals not on board the ship
Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 13.5 per person per day)
Anything not mentioned under ’Inclusions’