Off the map: Antarctica, The Southern Ocean and South Sandwich Islands
Next DepartureDec. 18, 2024
See all departures
See the itinerary
, Kayaking, Lectures, Photography, Zodiac
Join us on a 23-day Southern Ocean expedition voyage, where you'll discover captivating and remote places, from the rugged beauty of the Falkland Islands to the rarely seen South Sandwich Islands. This ultimate adventure is packed with endless highlights, landmarks, and attractions, making every day an unforgettable experience.
Are you ready for the ultimate adventure? Join us on a 23-day voyage of a lifetime, where you'll explore some of the most captivating and remote places on earth. Discover the rugged beauty of the Falkland Islands, where dramatic landscapes meet charismatic wildlife. Get up close and personal with the amazing nature of South Georgia, from adorable penguins to majestic albatrosses. And experience the thrill of visiting the rarely seen South Sandwich Islands, where stunning scenery and rare wildlife await.
But that's not all - this Southern Ocean expedition voyage is our most complete yet, packed with endless highlights, landmarks, and attractions. Cruise through the awe-inspiring Antarctic Sound, where towering glaciers and shimmering icebergs create a breathtaking backdrop. Marvel at the bustling penguin colonies of the Antarctic Peninsula and witness the raw power of nature at the South Shetland Islands.
This is your chance to embark on an adventure like no other, where every day brings new discoveries and unforgettable experiences. So come aboard and let us show you the wonders of the Southern Ocean - you won't regret it.
This is a once in a lifetime journey to some of the most captivating and remote places on earth. Departing from Ushuaia, Argentina, we set sail for the fascinating Falkland Islands. From quaint English architecture to pristine and sheltered beaches, we'll explore this unique destination with Zodiac landings and unforgettable wildlife encounters, and a chance to explore the islands’ unique capital city, Stanley.
Next up is South Georgia Island, one of the world's greatest natural wonders. Get ready for wildlife-packed beaches, active research camps, former whaling stations, and a visit to Shackleton's final resting place. With our cameras red hot and our memory cards full of fresh photos, we will continue to the seldom visited South Sandwich Islands, where we'll witness volcanic landscapes like no other place on earth. With only a select few people ever having visited these remote islands, you'll truly feel like an adventurer.
But that's not all - we'll then set our sights on the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. From penguin rookeries to research stations and fascinating lookouts, we'll make unforgettable Zodiac landings and immerse ourselves in the beauty of this nature photographer's paradise. Weather permitting, we'll attempt as many shore landings as possible per day, bringing you up close and personal with Antarctica's awe-inspiring beauty.
As we bid farewell to the Antarctic, we'll spend our last few days bird watching from the top deck and attending lectures, workshops, and photo re-caps in one of the ship's lounges. With memories to last a lifetime, we'll cross the mighty Drake Passage back to Ushuaia, Argentina. This is an adventure you won't want to miss - join us and experience the wonder of the Southern Ocean for yourself.
Our state-of-the-art expedition vessel Ocean Victory offers all the comfort needed for this long voyage. It is specifically designed to provide a better expedition experience than any other ship. The patented X-bow and zero speed stabilizers provide a calmer ride and reduces discomfort for passengers with a tendency to seasickness.
Facts about Off the map: Antarctica, The Southern Ocean and South Sandwich Islands
ARRIVAL AND EMBARKATION IN USHUAIA.
Arrive and embark in Ushuaia, Argentina - the world’s southernmost city. Explore bustling downtown, or the laid-back local countryside. Alternatively, consider a day trip off the beaten path into the raw, untamed nature of Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia is a hiker's paradise with rugged snow-capped mountains, glaciers, flower-filled meadows and ancient forests.
Albatros Expeditions’ modern expedition vessel Ocean Albatros awaits in port, and guests will embark the ship by mid-afternoon. Albatros Expeditions arranges transfers from the city center to the ship. After being shown to your stateroom you will be given the mandatory safety briefing, while the captain gets ready to steer out into the South Atlantic Ocean.
Our journey begins as we navigate through the tranquil Beagle Channel, the strait marking the Chile-Argentina border in the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago.
AT SEA, APPROACHING FALKLAND ISLANDS
During our time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged on board which will provide the perfect opportunity to socialize with your passionate fellow travelers. Enjoy the fascinating lectures by our onboard Expedition Team, visit our shop, or indulge in the vessel’s purpose-built leisure facilities, designed to provide a comfortable, relaxing day whatever you choose to do.
FALKLAND ISLANDS AND PORT STANLEY
As we arrive in the Falkland Islands we will deploy our Zodiacs for the first landing of our voyage, landing in the sparsely inhabited and nature-rich western part of the archipelago.
On the following day we will cast anchor and Zodiac ashore in the sheltered natural harbor of Stanley, a quaint and very British outpost in the south Atlantic. The city is walkable, with colorful houses and cozy pubs lining the streets. This tiny capital has plenty on offer to visitors, from rugged scenery, local history and culture to excellent shopping and locally brewed beers. Wildlife watchers could encounter the endemic flightless steamer duck in the harbour, as well as the delicate dolphin gull, while fur seals are often found snoozing on our landing pier.
AT SEA, APPROACHING SOUTH GEORGIA
Heading due East, expect the vessel be followed by numerous black-browed albatross and giant petrels. As we cross the Antarctic convergence the quantity of wildlife will increase; a variety of whale and dolphin species and a plethora of seabirds can be expected in these cold nutrient-rich waters. We will pass Shag Rocks on our way to South Georgia where huge flocks of seabirds feed on krill in between large packs of fur seals. Join your onboard Expedition Team to hear about the species and ecology of this unique region.
SOUTH GEORGIA, WILDLIFE PARADISE OF THE SOUTH ATLANTIC
The forbidding glacier-clad peaks of South Georgia will be the setting for the next days of our expedition. Lying in the Southern Ocean below the Antarctic convergence, these frigid seas are teeming with life. The island, often referred to as “The Galapagos of the Poles”, can only be reached by ship. There is no permanent human settlement (other than visiting scientists and conservationists), but penguins, seabirds and seals breed in the millions. The difficulty of accessing this remote outposts and the regulations in place to protect the delicate environment makes South Georgia one of the least-visited tourist destinations in the world. Once a global whaling capital, today the island has been left to recover from human over-exploitation, and intensive conservation efforts have resulted in dramatic increases in whale, and bird populations. The itinerary and activities over the next couple of days are largely dependent on the weather and the sea conditions, which dictate all aspects of life here; your onboard team will work hard to ensure you can experience the best of South Georgia’s unparalleled nature.
Potential landing sites include Salisbury Plain, home to one of the largest king penguin colonies on the island, estimated to number up to half a million birds. At this time of the year the beaches will also be crowded with plenty of young and very curious Antarctic fur seals as well as hulking southern elephant seals.
Another possible landing site is Prion Island, a reserve for the wandering albatross. The site is closed until the end of January to protect the breeding birds, and visiting late in the season allows us unique access. This is one of the few sites where one can observe these gentle giants (with the largest wingspan of any bird) up close. Gentoo penguins, giant petrels and Antarctic prions also breed on the island.
The British administration at Grytviken is also a popular stop. Once a Norwegian whaling station specializing in industrialized slaughter, Grytviken now serves as the hub of island conservation, and the preserved ruins of the whaling station and the excellent South Georgia Museum offer a unique glimpse into the island’s industrial past. Legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton (whose heroism is synonymous with the island) is buried in the small graveyard – a fence keeps out the ever-present penguins and seals. The endemic South Georgia pipit and South Georgia pintail may be seen around the buildings; once almost eradicated, these birds have benefitted hugely from the eradication of rats on the island, and these endemic birds are now once again a common sight.
AT SEA, APPROACHING SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS
Leaving the jagged peaks of South Georgie behind, we venture further East towards the South Sandwich Islands, the least visited part of the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia. While these remote seas can be rough, the unique backward sloping bow of Ocean Albatros and her efficient stabilizers reduces vibration and wave action, ensuring a comfortable crossing. En route to the next set of remote islands, you will have plenty of time to edit your photos of the wildlife and stunning landscapes from the first half of the voyage. Our onboard photographer will offer you help, tips and tricks to improve your picture taking and editing skills. Guests can attend high quality lectures on geology, meteorology, ornithology, marine mammals as well as the exploration history of the Southern Ocean. From the upper decks you can study the albatrosses, petrels and shearwaters taking advantage of the ship to hunt for food in the vast emptiness of the South Atlantic.
SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS
Arriving at the South Sandwich Islands, we are now truly off the edge of the map. This string of active volcanoes is one of the most remote and seldom visited parts of the South Atlantic, some islands going years between visits by ships of any type. The South Sandwich Islands are exposed to the raw fury of the Southern Ocean, and wind, sea and ice conditions will dictate the exact itinerary of our time in these islands.
The South Sandwich Islands exist at the edge of the tectonic plate underlying the Drake Passage; here, Earth’s surface crumples, producing this string of active volcanos, punching out of the ocean in an arc. Plumes of ash and smoke are commonly seen from these boiling rocks, and the ash-striated glaciers and tortured rocks of the volcanoes form the backdrop to our days exploring.
Conditions on the islands are frequently challenging, but your skilled Captain and Expedition Leader will work hard to maximise your opportunities to explore these isolated outposts. Exploration possibilities include witnessing the largest penguin colony outside Antarctica on the shores of Zavodovski Island, seeing ice boulders and ash-marbles glaciers on Saunders Island, or watching vast seal colonies cavort in the ruins of the wartime Argentine station on Thule Island. Everywhere on the South Sandwich Islands, wildlife abounds; the islands hold the majority of the world’s chinstrap penguins, vast numbers of other bird species and huge seal colonies. From the southern end of the island chain, we will strike out southwest towards the Antarctic continent.
AT SEA, APPROACHING ANTARCTICA
Leaving the South Sandwich Islands behind we will cross the 60th parallel south, signaling our departure from British Overseas Territories and into the jurisdiction of the Antarctic Treaty. While we have been in the Antarctic region for several days, we now enter true Antarctic waters. Expect to see brutal steel-grey seas, soaring giant petrels, and vast icebergs studding the sea on our journey to the Antarctic Peninsula. During our time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged on board, providing the perfect opportunity to socialize with fellow travelers. As the white shimmer of Antarctica looms on our horizon, the volume of wildlife will increase tenfold with lively penguins, inquisitive seals, and the plumes of whales inviting us on towards the ice.
ANTARCTIC SOUND, ANTARCTIC PENINSULA AND SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS
Over the coming days, we will begin our exciting Antarctic experience at the very tip of the Continent. The itinerary and activities over the next few days will 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. Wildlife abounds on the Antarctic Peninsula: leopard, fur, crabeater and Weddell seals are common throughout the peninsula; humpback whales come to feed in the rich waters of the Gerlache Strait; penguin colonies cling to rocky outcrops warmed by the sun, and orcas hunt for prey in the frigid depths. Our program in Antarctica will aim to include a mixture of sites to give guests the best possible range of experiences; these may include historical sites, wildlife colonies, or areas with particularly spectacular scenery.
AT SEA, APPROACHING USHUAIA
Today, we depart Antarctica and spend two days at sea on our way back to the calmer waters of the Beagle Channel and Ushuaia, Argentina. En route, we will cross the Drake Passage and cruise past Cape Horn, a legendary maritime landmark and the southern tip of South America. During our time at sea, a variety of activities will be arranged on board providing the perfect opportunity to dwell on some of the fantastic moments we have witnessed during this exceptional voyage.
ARRIVAL IN USHUAIA AND DISEMBARKATION
After a hearty farewell to the vessel and crew, we disembark Ocean Victory in Ushuaia, departing with memories of the voyage of a lifetime across the Southern Ocean.
- 23-day/22-night cruise with accommodation in a shared double stateroom featuring ensuite facilities
- Embarkation shuttle transfer to the vessel from Ushuaia city centre
- Shuttle transfer after disembarkation from the ship to Ushuaia 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'
After crossing the Southern Ocean, your vessel will arrive in the Falklands Islands, 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.
Seasonal changes in the Falkland Islands:
In October and November, the windswept shores of the Falkland Islands begin to come to life as seabirds come ashore for the Spring breeding season after spending the long winter months in the fury of the Southern Ocean. The shoreline crawls with rockhopper penguins emerging from the depths, while albatross circle overhead, hunting for the best spot to construct their cylindrical nests. During this time of year, female elephant seals come ashore to give birth to their wide-eyed pups, which remain ashore for two months or so before heading out to sea. The islands burst into activity on land as well, as geese and other terrestrial birds begin to nest. The Falkland Islanders themselves frequently take advantage of the warmer weather to begin shearing the islands’ sheep, collecting the wool for which the islands are famed.
December represents the start of summer in the Falklands; while the weather can be warm and sunny, frequent windstorms can bring squally weather at any time. By this time of year, the birds of the islands are almost all incubating their eggs, while some early arrivals may already have chicks. Meanwhile, South American sealions are vigorously defending their territories during the busy breeding season, attempting to attract females while fending off other males.
By January and February, most eggs have hatched, and you can expect to see a variety of hatchlings beginning to find their way in the world. Penguin chicks huddle together in creches against predation from skuas, giant petrels and caracaras, while large fluffy albatross chicks sit on top of their cylindrical nests. Bird colonies at this time of year are full of activity, with parents coming and going from the open ocean to feed their chicks, and Magellanic penguins and their chicks begin to emerge from their breeding burrows.
The Falklands’ brief summer comes to an end in March, and much of the island’s wildlife begins to prepare to head out to sea for Winter. Around this time of year, penguins and seals begin their moult, spending a few weeks on land while they grow a new coat of winter-ready feathers. One can also see albatross, cormorant and penguin chicks beginning to shed their downy baby feathers in favour of their adult plumage. Watch out for broad-winged albatross flapping into the wind on their nests as they exercise their flight muscles ready for adult life. Although the weather can be less predictable this time of year, fewer vessels in the region allows us to seek out the most sheltered landing spots.
Temperatures in Antarctica/South Georgia:
Whilst the weather in Antarcrtica 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. In the more temperate Falkland Islands (which lied outside the Antarctic convergence zone), the weather is milder, with summer days averaging between 11°C (52°F) to1 6°C (61°F).
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. The Falkland Islands, while warmer, can experience extremes of rain, wind and sun (often all within the same hour). 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.