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Falklands & South Georgia

Solar Eclipse in Antarctica

22 days, from $23,700pp
Occurring only once every seventy five years, witnessing a total solar eclipse in Antarctica is without doubt a privileged experience.
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Overview

On this unique voyage, you will visit Antarctica and experience the incredible white continent in late spring, with glistening icebergs and thriving wildlife. Moving to a favourable position, we hope for clear skies and good weather conditions to witness a full solar eclipse, only visible from a small area on Earth. 

 

Experiences

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Spend 10 full days exploring: 5 in Antarctica, 4 in South Georgia & 1 in the Falkland Islands

Shutterstock 258826640 Full Total Solar Eclipse2

Take the unique opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse in Antarctica

Shackleton Walk (30 Of 39)

Re-trace Shackleton’s legendary mountain crossing on foot (additional cost)

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Encounter South Georgia's diverse and captivating wildlife

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Glide past glittering bergs on kayaking adventures

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Ushuaia:

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be transferred to your downtown hotel.

Day 2 - Embark in Ushuaia:

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day city tour.

Capital city of the province of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel and it is surrounded by the Martial Range. It has a unique landscape; a combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forest. The city tour will visit The Mission, Brown and Solier neighbourhoods, where you can see old houses belonging to the first families to settle in Tierra del Fuego.

You will then head 11km (7 miles) out of town to Martial Glacier. Riding the chair lift to the trails leading up to the glacier provides wonderful regional views and of Ushuaia town, the Beagle Channel and its islands. Continue afterwards to the End of the World Museum to learn the history of Tierra del Fuego.

Transfer to the pier where our expedition team will warmly welcome you on board the vessel. As we pull away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll then have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings.

Day 3 – Crossing the Drake Passage:

As we begin our crossing of the Drake Passage, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment and prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures.

We already begin to enjoy the wildlife, watching and photographing many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in the ship’s wake.

Day 4 – The Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands:

The excitement becomes palpable as we near the tip of the South Shetland Islands on day four, with everyone converging on the bridge watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and the memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon.

Days 5 to 9 - Antarctic Peninsula:

Over the next few days, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the whole of the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Having visited this area countless times and using their expertise, our expedition team will design our voyage from day to day to allow us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

With 18-20 hours of daylight, the days can be as busy as you wish. We will usually attempt two landings or zodiac excursions each day: cruising along spectacular ice cliffs, following feeding whales, landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit seal haul outs, penguin rookeries and historic huts, and stopping by a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. Our itinerary is deliberately flexible to allow us to pick the best spots on the day based on ice and weather conditions.

A sample of some of the places where we may cruise, hike, land, photograph or view spectacular wildlife include:

  • We’ll keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas, minkes, and crabeater seals as we head out on zodiacs into the beautiful protected bays around the Antarctic Peninsula surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers.
  • We can see large chinstrap penguin colonies and fur and elephant seals hauled out on the pebble beaches of wildlife-rich islands, where glaciers and mountains dominate the vista.
  • If ice conditions allow, standing on the ship’s observation deck as the ship sails quietly along the narrow Lemaire Channel could certainly be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 700m/2296ft straight out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can sometimes be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface, or gigantic icebergs may clog the channel or occasionally even obstruct our passage, creating navigational challenges for our Captain and crew.

Day 10 - Elephant Island:

If weather permits, we set course for the half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetlands that is Elephant Island. We’ll learn Shackleton’s story, hearing how his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, before he and his men climbed into three open boats, and made landfall on this tiny stretch of rock and ice after spending 16 months in the vastness of the Southern Ocean.

We plan to sail past Cape Valentine, to see the beach where the men first put ashore over 100 years ago. If the weather permits, we also hope to follow the coastline six miles west to Point Wild, where the men eventually set up camp using two of their upturned open boats and some old tents and if possible, we’ll attempt to make a landing on historic Point Wild.

Day 11 – Solar Eclipse:

We will travel well into the Weddell Sea which is where according to NASA, we will find the optimum position to experience the solar eclipse. It will be visible from the following geographic regions: Antarctica, South Africa, and the south Atlantic, but the full eclipse will only be visible in Antarctica.

The instant of greatest eclipse takes place on Dec 04 at 07:34:38 TD (Terrestrial Dynamical Time) or (07:33:28 UT1).

Ice conditions have been changing every year and it may be possible to get into the South Orkneys on the day of the eclipse: 04 December, 2021. Typically, early December would be considered too early to visit South Orkney Islands because of extensive sea ice, so the unknown part of the trip will make the experience even more thrilling.

NASA Astronomer, Dr Michelle Thaller and NASA Engineer, Dr Andrew Booth will be onboard offering lectures and sharing their expertise and knowledge of this special event.

Days 12 to 13 – Scotia Sea:

En route to South Georgia we will cross the Scotia Sea, following the route that Ernest Shackleton and five of his men took, in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On 24 April, 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their remaining boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 1290km (802 miles) away. On arrival, Shackleton enlisted the help of local whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue his men who had been left behind. As the excitement builds for our arrival South Georgia, you will have time to catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian.

Days 14 to 17 – South Georgia:

The next few days give us a chance to marvel at South Georgia’s incredible wildlife scenes, to view enormous and bustling king penguin colonies, fur seals jostling for space on the beach, jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and absorb the details of Shackleton’s epic rescue journey. We will take zodiac trips to discover bays filled with raucous and playful fur seals, and land on pebble beaches to meet curious penguins. You can challenge yourself on hikes and enjoy dazzling pristine landscapes seen by few.

South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a haven for some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife. The surrounding sea is one of the most productive areas on Earth and supports millions of seals, whales, penguins and other seabirds.

This long, narrow island has a spine of mountains and between them, shattered glaciers carve their way through tussock grass to the deeply indented coastline. It is a landscape that is synonymous with Shackleton’s epic survival, with abandoned whaling stations and the remnants of explorers past. It also now supports scientific workers conducting experiments, research and regeneration projects.

We plan to complete the final leg by following in Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean’s footsteps: walking walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness (if conditions permit). In order to this, we will make a special stop at King Haakon Bay to drop off our mountaineers so that they can start their 3-day crossing of South Georgia.

Some of the places where we may land in South Georgia include:

Grytviken – originally a Norwegian sealing and whaling station. It was finally closed in 1965. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s body was laid to rest at Grytviken.

St Andrews Bay – the long black sandy beach fronts a broad valley that stretches well back from the sea; this valley shelters the largest king penguin colony on South Georgia.

Godthul – indented bays lined with bleached whale bones, teeming with fur seals and penguins. A careful descent leads us to a magnificent Macaroni penguin rookery.

Salisbury Plains – Salisbury Plain has one of the largest king penguin colonies on South Georgia. With about 100,000 pairs, the shore and beach can be completely crammed with penguins. Along the beach you will also find fur and elephant seals in the mix.

Fortuna Bay & Stromness – This is where Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean descended from the treacherous glaciers of the interior on their way to Stromness whaling station. Fortuna Bay is surrounded by high mountains with glaciers pushing down from the high country to terminate in the open valley that is home to a small king penguin colony.

Days 18 and 19 – Sea Crossing:

You will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum, as we head towards the Falklands (Las Malvinas). Our lecture program continues, highlighting all of the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days and there will be ample time to watch for wildlife, or simply relax with a book.

Day 20 – The Falklands (Las Malvinas):

Located 477km (296 miles) east of Argentina, the Falklands are a unique mix of inhabited outpost and wildlife hotspot. An archipelago of over 700 islands, only seven of the islands are inhabited and only two of those are the main islands: East and West. The cold nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands makes them a prime location for marine life, including seabirds and seals.

Our time here includes a short walk around the historic town of Stanley, and a visit to Sea Lion Island located in the south of East Falkland. The raw beauty and solitude of the island makes it a haven for visitors and wildlife alike. In 2009, Sea Lion Island was officially declared a National Nature Reserve, and no introduced predators live on the island.

It is ideal habitat for elephant seals and sea lions and a plethora of birds such as thrushes, finches, tussac birds and Magellanic penguins. Pods of orcas, Peale’s dolphins and leopard seals are regularly seen in the waters surrounding the island. You’ll also see southern giant petrels, with a wingspan of two metres, rockhopper, gentoo and Magellanic penguins breeding there and Macaroni, king penguins and striated and crested caracaras are also regular visitors.

Days 21 - At Sea:

As we return to Ushuaia, you may choose to spend the remaining days browsing and editing your photos, treating yourself to a massage or listening to an informative lecture.

Day 22 - Disembark in Ushuaia:

We will sail along the Beagle Channel in the early morning, before quietly slipping into dock in Ushuaia, and begin disembarking at around 8am. Say farewell to your expedition team and fellow travellers as we all continue on our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to the airport or downtown Ushuaia is included in the cost of the voyage.

Please note:

This itinerary is for guidance only; each voyage will vary depending on ice and weather conditions. Flexibility is key and part of the adventure of an expeditionary cruise.

All excursions are included in price unless stated as 'optional'


What's Included?

Includes:

  • Complimentary parka jacket
  • Voyage aboard the vessel as indicated in the itinerary
  • Accommodation during the voyage on full board basis
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • All shore excursions and zodiac activities
  • Educational lectures by expert onboard polar guides
  • Access to an onboard doctor and basic medical services
  • Loan of rubber boots for the voyage's duration
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • Port taxes and any entry fees to historic landing sites
  • A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage

Excludes:

  • Flights to and from points of embarkation/disembarkation
  • Any additional services before and after your voyage
  • Transfers not specific to the itinerary
  • Travel insurance
  • Optional adventure activities
  • Any visa, passport and vaccination expenses
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Items of a personal nature: laundry, beverages, etc
  • Customary staff gratuity at the end of the voyage
  • Additional onboard purchases (i.e. gift shop)

100 Capacity Classic Vessel (USD)

Trip start and end date Triple Twin Balcony Stateroom Balcony Suite Junior Suite Captain's Suite Notes
Nov 24 2021 - Dec 15 2021 $23,700pp $26,300pp $28,100pp $36,300pp $43,800pp $51,200pp

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