The Epic Antarctica and South Georgia Adventure
Next DepartureMar. 18, 2024
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, Kayaking, Lectures, Photography, Wildlife observations, Zodiac
On this epic 18-day voyage through the Southern Ocean onboard Ocean Albatros, we explore breathtaking Antarctica before heading via the Antarctic Sound and Weddell Sea for an extended visit to the incredible isle of South Georgia. The adventure ends in the vibrant Uruguayan capital of Montevideo.
Departing Argentina's southernmost city of Ushuaia, we cross the mighty Drake Passage en-route to the South Shetland Islands, aiming to arrive on the afternoon of the third day of our voyage (weather permitting). The unique X-Bow design of our expedition vessels offers exceptional stability at sea, giving you a smoother ride across some of Earth's most challenging waters, while the vessels' speed allows us to maximise our time in Antarctica to offer a superlative exploration experience.
Continuing southward from the South Shetland Islands, we will delve deeper into the inlets and bays of the Antarctic Peninsula, entering the famous Gerlache Strait, where glittering ice cliffs and precipitous peaks rise straight out of the frigid water. Icebergs, glaciers, mountains and rugged snowfields characterise this wildly beautiful alien landscape. Continuing towards the east, we will explore the mighty tabular icebergs of the Antarctic Sound and enter the icebound wilderness of the Weddell Sea in search of wildlife.
Sailing eastwards between Elephant Island and South Georgia we follow the route made famous by legendary explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who sailed the 1300 km course through treacherous seas to save his stranded crew. South Georgia is one of world’s greatest natural wonders. The vast penguin colonies, seal-filled seas and albatross-packed skies have to be seen to be believed. Wildlife-packed beaches, nature-reclaimed whaling stations and perhaps even a visit to Shackleton’s final resting place are some of the options available to us. This voyage spends the longest of all our voyages in South Georgia, allowing us to explore in much greater depth.
On our last leg we sail for Montevideo, the vibrant capital of Uruguay. Watch the mercury rise as we sail into the tropics, and a suite of whales, dolphins and albatross pass by the vessel. One of South America's most distinctive cities, Montevideo offers incredible wine and dining, sunny days on the beach, or simply relax sipping a yerba mate and soaking up the Rioplatense vibe.
Make sure you reserve your place on this fantastic journey in good time, as we only cruise this route once during the season!
Facts about The Epic Antarctica and South Georgia Adventure
ARRIVAL IN USHUAIA, EMBARKATION
Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost city. Explore this vibrant Patagonian city, or stretch your legs in the surrounding forests. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path into the raw nature of Tierra del Fuego. The island of Tierra del Fuego is a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and rich boggy wetlands. In the afternoon, we board our vessel, waiting to welcome us in port.
After our mandatory safety drill, our expedition begins as we navigate through the calm waters of the famous Beagle Channel (named for Charles Darwin's ship). This steep-sided strait divides southern Tierra del Fuego between Chile and Argentina, and has been the jumping-off point for thousands of expeditions into the unknown. Watch out for whales and dolphins as we sail off the edge of the map into the tempestuous Drake Passage.
At sea - crossing the Drake Passage southbound
Sailing onward, we cross the famed Drake Passage - the body of water separating Patagonia and the Antarctic Peninsula. The Drake Passage is known for rollicking conditions and strong westerly winds, nicknamed the Roaring Fifties. While this passage may be challenging, you can rest comfortably aboard our expedition vessels, which are purpose-built with stabilizers, powerful engines and manned by a highly-qualified crew. The most spirited sailors consider Drake Passage a lifetime achievement - and you will complete the crossing twice!
Our days in the Drake Passage will be put to good use preparing for our arrival in Antarctica - your Expedition Leader will brief you comprehensively on how to stay safe and minimise your impact on this precious wilderness, as well as briefing you thoroughly on our plans for our time spent exploring, including hints and tips for wildlife watching. Our dedicated Expedition Team will assist you to biosecure your clothing and equipment (a vital process to protect Antarctica's delicate ecology), as well as sharing tailored lectures on Antarctic exploration history, wildlife, geology, glaciology and more!
We will cross into the Antarctic Convergence on the third day of our voyage - watch the mercury plummet as we sail southwards into Antarctic waters, an abrupt cooling that marks the intersection of Antarctic waters with the warmer waters of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. As the sea cools, wildlife multiplies; these are some of the most biologically productive water on Earth, so expect to see petrels, albatrosses and potentially penguins, seals and whales in abundance. Weather permitting, we may be able to make landfall in the South Shetland Islands (a small but spectacular archipelago to the north of the Antarctic Peninsula) on the afternoon of our second day in the Drake Passage, marking the start of our exploration on the Last Continent.
SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS & the Antarctic peninsula
Over the next days, we will enjoy a safe and exciting Antarctic experience explorers of yesteryear could only dream of.
Our Antarctic adventure begins in the South Shetland Islands, a chain of rugged rocks marking the northernmost point of Antarctica. It is also one of the richest in terms of wildlife, with large Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguin colonies, and an abundance of large seabirds such as predatory Giant Petrels. Landing sites which may be visited in the South Shetland Islands include the black steaming sands and rusting ruins of Deception Island (an active volcanic crater), the bustling penguin colonies of Aitcho and Half Moon Islands, or the old sealers' anchorage of Yankee Harbour.
The following days will be spent exploring further south on the Antarctic Peninsula in the Gerlache Strait region. This region is typically icy, so our exact route will be subject to careful planning by the Expedition Leader and Captain, and explained to our guests through regular evening briefings. However we will aim to visit a range of sites which showcase the best of this staggeringly beautiful region.
Consisting of the 'spine' of the Antarctic Peninsula and a large number of glaciated and mountainous islands, the Gerlache Strait is what comes to mind when most people think of Antarctica. Marvel at the massive icebergs and vast glaciers on a Zodiac cruise in Paradise Bay. Be moved by penguins tenderly caring for their precious eggs, and fiercely defending their nests on Cuverville Island. Watch cataracts of ice tumble into clear blue ocean on a hike over the active glaciers of Neko Harbour. Experience the Antarctica of old at historic huts such as Damoy Point, lovingly restored and open to all. Feel the spray of water from the blow of a humpback whale on a Zodiac safari in Wilhelmina Bay. Wonder at awe-inspiring scenery on a ship cruise through the Lemaire Channel. Wherever we go on the Antarctic Peninsula, endemic wildlife, tantalising history and breathtaking natural beauty abound.
On Antarctica, all human activity is subject to the whims of Mother Nature. While we will make every possible effort to maximise opportunities for exploration off the vessel, the safety of our guests and crew is our top priority. We therefore ask all our guests to join the expedition spirit and be flexible - harsh weather offers the opportunity to expand your knowledge of Antarctica with lectures from our expert Expedition Team, or to enjoy the superlative comfort of our vessels, be it wine-tasting, relaxing in the hot tubs, or recharging with a relaxing massage in our Polar Spa.
ANTARCTIC SOUND, WEDDELL SEA AND ELEPHANT ISLAND
Over the coming days, we will begin exploring the exciting region at the very tip of the continent, beginning with the Antarctic Sound. Named in 1902 after the Swedish vessel Antarctic (itself named, confusingly, for the Antarctic region), the Antarctic sound is much colder than the rest of the Peninsula. Despite its northerly location, the area is subject to winds and currents which arrive from much further south in the Weddell Sea, bringing freezing temperatures, rafts of sea ice and vast tabular icebergs, which can only form from the vast ice shelves fringing the continent's interior. Though challenging to reach, this region hosts some of the Peninsula's most spectacular sites, from the vast Adelie Penguin colonies of Hope Bay and Devil's Island, to the historical sites of Esperanza Base and the dramatic volcanic landscapes of Brown Bluff.
From here we venture further south into the Weddell Sea, which takes its name from the early British explorer and sealer James Weddell, who reached the southernmost point of his day in the area. As we enter the Weddell Sea of today, we can expect to see numerous city-sized tabular icebergs, and catch a glimpse of the icepack - the vast mosaic of never-melting floating ice which stretches to the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf. This sea ice is the nursery of the Antarctic krill, the tiny crustaceans which form the base of the food chain: where krill can be found, predators are not far behind. Apart from penguins, the wildlife here includes Weddell, leopard and elephant seals, vast numbers of seabirds, and often large numbers of humpback whales, all of which come to feast on the bountiful krill.
Because of the considerable sea ice and enormous bergs in the Weddell Sea, navigation through this remote nature is at the edge of what is possible. Your seasoned Captain and Expedition Leader are well aware that shifting ice means that no individual part of this area can be guaranteed as accessible at any time, so they will work together to find the best opportunities to explore. This is part of the wonder of this part of the world, undertaking a true expedition into the unknown and visiting an area few humans have ever been lucky enough to see.
We plan to finalize our time in Antarctica by navigating to Elephant Island, legendary as the scene of Shackleton’s daring lifeboat escape (sea conditions permitting). While landing here is almost impossible, we hope to see where the Elephant Island party waited for rescue at Point Wild. A famous part of expedition history, the ideal finale to the Antarctic segment of our voyage.
At sea towards South Georgia
From Antarctica, we set out again into the mighty Drake Passage, this time following the furious seas towards South Georgia, mirroring the route of Sir Ernest Shackleton onboard the James Caird. His voyage took an agonizing seventeen days in the tiny wooden lifeboat - still considered one of the greatest ever feats of navigation and seamanship. Your crossing will benefit from our vessels' powerful engines, and the stability provided by the specially-designed X-Bow, making the journey in just two days!
In order to protect the extremely delicate and rich ecosystem of South Georgia, our dedicated Expedition Team will again assist you to biosecure your clothing and equipment, while continuing with their in-depth lecture program, now focussing on the fascinating history, biology and wildlife of South Georgia. Be sure to wrap up warm and join your Expedition Team out on deck - this section of the Scotia Sea (of which the Drake Passage constitutes the western portion) is one of the most biologically productive on Earth, and is a haven for vast quantities of wildlife - from whales and albatross to penguins and seals. Watch the waves carefully - in this region, sub-Antarctic species (such as fur seal) mingle with true polar species (such as Adelie Penguins), creating a fascinating ecological mix.
Additionally, a raffle or auction onboard usually takes place during this time, to raise funds for charitable organizations focused on global issues and local environmental solutions. In this case, for example we may choose to donate to the South Georgia Heritage Trust or other charities carrying out conservation in the region. Take this opportunity to give back to the world while educating yourself on the subjects that these organizations support in a fun and enjoyable way - ideally with a hand-crafted cocktail in hand!
A strip of jagged mountains pierce the brooding clouds of the Southern Ocean. Icebound peaks loom over storm-washed beaches, while glaciers peek from the head of deep fjords. First believed to have been landed on by legendary explorer Captain James Cook, even to modern explorers, South Georgia presents a forbidding aura. But peer closer, and you will see greenery among the ice; movement on the beaches; wings in the skies above.
While it seems hard to believe today, South Georgia was once one of the most degraded environments on Earth. Hearing of the rich pickings, sealers flocked to the island after Cook, slaughtering wantonly. Once the seals had been almost exterminated, visiting ships sought larger prey, and South Georgia became the world's largest whaling destination, with several settlements built to carry out this industrialised slaughter. Whalers from Norway introduced reindeer as game, which soon destroyed the islands native vegetation, while brown rats (accidentally introduced by Europeans and their boats) feasted upon seabirds and their eggs - a horror against which these naive birds had no defence.
Thankfully, extensive conservation (including a painstaking eradication of reindeer and rats) has restored this magnificent island to its former glory - and glory it truly is. Beaches throng with hundreds of thousands of King Penguins, arguably some of Earth's most elegant animals. They must vie for space with the abundant Antarctic fur seals, all desperately defending territories and competing furiously for mates - and they themselves must avoid the southern elephant seals, Earth's largest seals (weighing up to a staggering four tonnes). Tiny South Georgia Pippits and Pintail Ducks (once almost extinct) are now abundant, and petrels, albatross and shags nest on the steep hillsides and wheel in the air above. In the sea, leopard seals stalk for their next penguin meal, fur seal pups play in the shallows, and offshore, a huge variety of whale species gorge on krill. Nowhere else on Earth can boast such a diversity of wildlife, or in such quantities; South Georgia truly has to be experienced to be believed.
As in Antarctica, our exact itinerary will be dictated by weather and sea conditions, but especially by the wind and swell - nevertheless, our experienced Expedition Team and Captain will work their hardest to maximise opportunities to explore. Options include visiting the vast penguin colonies of Salisbury Plain and St Andrew's Bay, seeing the former whaling stations of Lieth and Stromness, drinking in the scenery and seal colonies of Gold Harbour, or exploring this island's fascinating exploration heritage at Grytviken (where Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried). South Georgia is one of those locations which grabs hold of the senses and never lets go; even long after departure, the jewel of the South Atlantic will captivate visitors for years to come.
AT SEA TOWARD SOUTH AMERICA. MONTEVIDEO, DISEMBARKATION
We are now into the last leg of this adventurous voyage, heading northwestwards towards Montevideo, Uruguay - one of the most important ports for historical Antarctic expeditions, as it is for ours today.
During our time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged on board to provide our guests with the chance to reflect on their voyage. Relax with an expertly crafted cocktail in the Nordic Bar in the company of new friends, soak up the knowledge and passion of our Expedition Team during lectures in the Shackleton Lounge, or simply enjoy the flight of the albatross which accompany us westward.
During your last evening onboard, join the Captain and Senior Officers for the Farewell Cocktail Party, followed by a presentation of photos and video by our onboard photographer - the ideal opportunity to re-live your Southern Ocean adventure. Skål!
Montevideo, Uruguay - Disembarkation
The city of Montevideo sits at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata, the vast estuary which holds not one but two capital cities. We will head for the northern, Uruguayan shore, where our voyage ends. Trees, cars, grass and a bustling capital city may seem strange to you after the white wilderness of Antarctica! After a hearty breakfast, it is time to bid a fond farewell to the Crew and Albatros Expedition Team, and descend the gangway back to dry land with memories of the voyage of a lifetime.
- 18-day/17-night cruise with accommodation in a shared double stateroom featuring ensuite facilities
- Embarkation shuttle transfer to the vessel from Ushuaia city centre
- Transfer after disembarkation from the ship to Montevideo city centre or airport
- All Zodiac landings and excursions, as per itinerary, guided by our Expedition Team
- Expedition parka
- Rubber boots loan scheme
- Briefings and lectures by our Expedition Leader and Team
- English-speaking Expedition Team
- Full board on the ship - breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks
- Complimentary house wine, beer and soda at dinner (selected labels and brands, served at our a-la-carte dinners)
- Free tea and coffee available 24 hours
- Taxes and landing fees
- Special photo workshops
- Welcome and Farewell Cocktail Parties
- Digital visual journal link distributed after the voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more!
- Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
- Single room supplement and stateroom upgrades
- Meals not on board the ship
- Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
- Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
- Personal expenses (e.g. Albatros Polar Spa services, Albatros Ocean Boutique purchases)
- Anything not mentioned under 'Inclusions'
Travelling to South Georgia and Antarctica
After crossing the Southern Ocean, your vessel will arrive in the South Georgia and eventually Antarctica. The goal for the days spent exploring in the Southern Ocean is to offer activities which will allow everyone to explore off the ship as much as possible (weather permitting). Weather dependent, we will try to offer two activities per day, usually either a landing or a Zodiac cruise.
Typically, there will be a morning activity after breakfast and an afternoon activity after lunch. We always try our hardest to meet this expectation, but because weather in the Southern Ocean can be extremely unpredictable, we ask everyone to be mindful of our remote location and thank everyone in advance for their flexibility. Activities we offer include landings, Zodiac cruises and ship cruises. Regulations* in Antarctica and South Georgia limit the number of people ashore at any time, so we will usually aim to offer a Zodiac cruise while our first group of guests are ashore, and reverse this for the second group ashore to maximise exploration time. No matter the day’s planned activities, the onboard Expedition Team and Expedition Leader will work as hard as possible in conjunction with the Captain and Crew to maximize exploration opportunities
Some sites do not offer landing opportunities, but are locations where exploring on the water offers the best opportunities for sightseeing, wildlife and photography. These Zodiac cruise sites are often known for their collection of larger icebergs, wildlife densities and even historical landmarks such as shipwrecks, where our fleet of Zodiacs offer the best vantage point. This would be the only scenario you may have to wait on the ship (other than in adverse weather conditions), but we will always aim to offer an onboard program during this time, such as seminars given by our knowledgeable and experienced Lecturer team.
*IAATO rules/regulations state that: Avoiding disturbance of wildlife is paramount. There may be no more than 100 visitors ashore at any time, exclusive of expedition guides and leaders, with a maximum of 20 visitors for each guide. Albatros Expeditions is a member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators), an industry regulatory body dedicated to ensuring socially and environmentally responsible tourism in the Antarctic region.
A “typical” expedition day may look like this (subject to weather and sea conditions and sailing schedule):
· 0645: Wake-up call
· 0700-0800: Breakfast
· 0830-1130: Morning activity - Landing and Zodiac Cruise
· 1230-1330: Lunch
· 1430-1730: Afternoon Activity - Landing and Zodiac Cruise
· 1830-1930: Evening Recap with Expedition Team
· 1930: Dinner
· 2100: Evening entertainment or presentations with Expedition Team.
Landings are a great opportunity to stretch your legs and set foot on shore to visit the dense penguin rookeries, seal colonies, and dramatic landscapes of South. Our experienced Expedition Team will be on shore to help you spot any chicks, identify the different species of penguins and other wildlife, as well as keep our guests safe on shore from any potential hazards.
Zodiac cruises are great for observing icebergs, glaciers, whales, and other marine wildlife. Your skilled driver will navigate around the area looking for wildlife and beautiful landscapes. By the end of the voyage, Zodiac cruises tend to become a firm favourite among our guests because of the vast diversity of scenery and marine life it is possible to experience.
Ship Cruises: In the event we encounter bad weather or are in a particularly spectacular location, often our purpose-built expedition vessels are the best viewing platform. The Captain and Expedition Leader will search for locations best accessed with the vessel to seek out the best wildlife and scenery. We encourage everyone to bundle up and either head onto the outer decks with the Expedition Team or relax in superlative comfort in our specially-designed lounges to experience the majesty of the Antarctic from the best vantage point. During this time, our Expedition Team specialists will offer skillfully-crafted lectures related to the wildlife, history and conservation of the region, and more!
Other activities include our ship Gym, where you can burn some calories on our fitness bicycles or treadmills; most of our ships even have other cardio machines and strength/lifting options. Voyages in from October to December offer camping options to spend the night on Antarctica, whilst most voyages throughout the season also offer kayaking (booked and paid onboard – weather permitting). Snowshoeing will also typically be available during the first half of the Antarctic season, when the Peninsula is mantled in snow. Sometimes our staff will even offer yoga lessons or other leisure activities, as our flexible schedule allows. Our new purpose-built ships have a Spa, in which guests can enjoy massages, facials, and other relaxing treatments (additional cost applies). Our Library is a great place to rest between outings, with expansive views and a wide selection of Antarctic-related reading material. During your voyage you will also be able to enjoy our tea time in the late afternoon, or indulge in some retail therapy in our onboard shop, which sells personal necessities as well as specially-selected Antarctic souvenirs.
Food and drink
In between our landings and activities we offer three hearty daily main meals. Albatros Expeditions always have allergy flexible options, healthy selections as well as a variety of vegetarian and vegan options.
Our hardworking galley crew deliver multiple Breakfast options, served in a buffet style a cooking station where eggs are made to order. At Lunch we are also met with a smorgasbord of mouthwatering choices. Safe to say you will have the energy for your next outing!
When it is Dinner time, you can choose to eat at the main restaurant or book a table at the Specialty Restaurant. Your evening meal is served a la carte, with fresh new options daily and always a selection of fixed items. There is always a vegetarian and pescetarian option available. Albatros Expeditions are known for our delicious menus and a variety of exquisite wine pairings.
Onboard you will also have the option to join Afternoon Tea with sweets, cakes or snacks served each afternoon. Albatros Expeditions have tea and coffee freely available all day throughout the vessel, while specialty coffee, alcoholic beverages and hand-crafted cocktails are available at the ship’s bars.
Seasonal changes in Antarctica:
During October to November visitors to Antarctica can expect to see penguins coming ashore for their annual nesting season. This is the time when these birds build nests, court mates and tend their precious eggs, offering a fascinating glimpse into the lives of these charismatic birds. While still a little early for penguin chicks to have hatched, November offers the potential to see the very first hatchlings. Pristine snowy landscapes, large icebergs and lack of late-season vessel congestion can be experienced in the beginning of the season, offering a radically different experience to the high season. Unbelievable glacial ice formations and huge ice bergs stud the ocean as the last sunsets of the season occur, a majestic spectacle eventually giving way to the Antarctic midnight sun.
In December temperatures approach their warmest, daylight is longer and wildlife is even more active. The continent glows under the midnight sun and the penguin rookeries reach peak activity as the hatching starts in earnest. Whale sightings begin to be more commonplace as migrating whales arrive to feed. Midnight sun with close to 24-hour daylight occurs in this period, lighting up the patches of snow that are still left at sea level. The sea ice is also retreating, potentially allowing access to landing sites further South.
By January/February, we enter what we call ‘peak season’ with long daylight hours and flocks of fluffy penguin chicks. There is more activity in the colonies as parents head off to hunt for food for their ever-hungry young. Towards the latter part of this period, the chicks get more curious and mobile, often hanging around in ‘creche’ groups as their parents head out to sea. The added penguin activity also means that some of our landing sites become muddy and slushy in the height of the Antarctic Summer. Sea ice starts to break up in earnest, which allows vessels to venture further south, enjoying improved opportunities for whale and seal watching. Longer sunsets and shorter evenings return towards the end of February as the brief Antarctic Summer gives way to Autumn.
As we enter March/April the season starts to wind down. Whilst the whales are at their highest number, ferociously feeding to get ready for their long northward migrations, the penguin colonies start to thin out as the adorable chicks shed their bay feathers to begin adult life out in the fury of the Southern Ocean. This attracts leopard seals, which are often seen actively hunting in the clear waters just offshore. Spectacular sunsets and less snow make this a great time for photo opportunities and longer walks onshore. During this time of year the weather begins to get colder and there is an increased risk of storms, but the wild rugged beauty of Antarctica approaching Winter is unparalleled throughout the year.
Seasonal changes in South Georgia:
As springtime arrives on South Georgia, visitors can expect to witness the landscape transform as the snow and ice begin to melt, and the flora and fauna come to life. November is an excellent time for birdwatching, as many seabirds begin to return to the island to begin their nesting season. Keep an eye out for gentoo, king, and macaroni penguins as they make their way ashore to raise the next generation while bulky Antarctic fur seals come ashore to stake out their mating season territories.
As the temperatures continue to rise, the island becomes even more vibrant. December on South Georgia represents the start of the brief Antarctic summer, and offers a terrific time to explore the beaches and experience this island’s extraordinary biodiversity. From a distance you can witness the elephant seals as they begin to mate and give birth, and watch as the king penguins hatch their chicks. Meanwhile, female fur seals come ashore to give birth to their tiny pups; despite being only days old, these adorable creatures must fight daily to ensure their survival in the harsh and crowded environment of South Georgia.
As the peak of summer arrives in January and February, wildlife activity increases even more under almost perpetual daylight. January usually offers the best weather and is a great time to explore the incredible coastline and witness the jaw-dropping mountain scenery of South Georgia. As always when visiting South Georgia, we expect to see a wide range of wildlife, including fur seals, albatross, and vast penguin colonies. Many species are actively raising their young during this time, making for a fascinating spectacle as parents come and go from the sea to feed their growing offspring. The summer weather means that the beaches are generally dry and free of snow, making them somewhat easier to access. As the summer starts to wind down in late February (although the weather is generally still warm and sunny), the island's wildlife remains active and numerous. Summertime is an excellent period to explore the South Georgia’s historic sites, including the former whaling station of Grytviken, the final resting place of legendary polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. The calmer weather of midsummer also often provides better conditions for other activities such as kayaking and Zodiac cruising.
As Autumn sets in during March and April, visitors to South Georgia Island can expect to see the landscape change once again as snow returns to the mountains. Many species are preparing for migration, and beaches burst into frenetic activity as they try to fatten up in preparation for the brutal southern Winter. Other species prepare by coming ashore for their annual moult, while this year’s young shed their baby fur/feathers in preparation for a life at sea. March an excellent time to see whales such as the humpbacks and other whales which pass through the area in pursuit of krill, and offers superior birding as fledglings begin to leave their nests. Visitors can also witness the spectacular colour-changing Autumn foliage and enjoy the cooler weather. As the season winds down, the number of visitors also decreases, making excursions more intimate and allowing preferential access to the most popular sites.
Temperatures in Antarctica/South Georgia:
Whilst the weather in Antarctica is constantly changing, the summer months can be surprisingly mild, and generally have temperatures ranging from -2°C (28°F) to 6°C (46°F). In South Georgia, which lies to the northeast of the Antarctic Peninsula, temperatures typically range between 0°C (32°F) to 10°C (50°F); sub-zero summer temperatures are very rare.
The extended daylight during the summer warms up more sheltered areas and on calm windless days even this far south, and a t-shirt can even be of more use than a parka! Bearing that in mind, the weather can harbor storms, snow fall, rain or fog, which can occur at a moment’s notice. Bigger storms are rare but can lead to further rapid drops in temperature, and glacially-generated katabatic winds can blow out of nowhere. On South Georgia, ocean swells can roll in from the sea without warning, which can make landing/disembarkation conditions extremely challenging. In other words, we would remind our guests that it is crucial to be ready for any weather conditions! Waterproof layers are an essential for any venture off the ship in this part of the world, and we advise guests to dress in several warm layers (including hats, gloves, scarfs and sun protection) to adjust as the weather dictates. Even in calm warm weather, we advise to bring extra clothing in a backpack, as weather conditions can deteriorate rapidly.
Travelling with Albatros Expeditions
Albatros Expedition strives to employ the very best Expedition Team in the whole industry. We travel in some of the planet’s most remote regions, where planning and on-location experience is key. Our routes and itineraries are subject to the prevailing sea, ice and wind conditions, which are closely monitored by the Bridge Team and Expedition Leader. Drawing on their vast experience, they find the best alternatives in the rare instances where our planned itinerary needs to be changed. Each cruise is a completely unique combination of locations, where the highlights can often be the totally unexpected. Most of our cruises provide the opportunity to spot a variety of unique wildlife, although this is subject to the whims of Mother Nature and can of course not be guaranteed. As you will no doubt experience, the joy from our Expedition Team when spotting different species on land or at sea is as genuine as your own.
This means that you as our guest are part of an adventure, a true expedition, where plans change, wildlife is encountered on their terms and your team consists of the very best experts within their fields. We strive to maintain a mix of specialists within relevant polar subjects including marine biology, ornithology, earth science, history and others. Albatros Expeditions boast a large number of Expedition Staff onboard, allowing us to maintain a high quota of staff-to-guests at 1:8, amongst the highest ratios in expedition cruising. Some of our staff have decades of experience on ships or research stations, whilst others may be performing their first season. One thing they all have in common is the wish to make each and every journey a special and memorable experience for our guests. Knowledge, skill, and passion are the trademarks of all Albatros Expedition Staff.
To ensure the safety and quality of experience of our guests, please keep in mind that the itinerary and outdoor activities during each voyage are solely dependent on weather and sea conditions. Your safety is our highest priority. The route and shore landings will be determined by the Captain and Expedition Leader and communicated to guests through regularly scheduled briefings. Albatros Expeditions reserves the right to modify the landings and locations visited during a voyage based on local weather conditions and climate to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all our guests. Our voyages are expeditionary in nature, and thus changes to timings are commonplace due to the environment we operate in, as well as wildlife opportunities and locations.