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A 24-day itinerary to explore the Antarctic Peninsula & South Shetland Islands before heading to the Weddell Sea and witness a total solar eclipse that occurs only every 1-2 years!
In this voyage, the ship will also navigate to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands where you will encounter formidable wildlife such as colonies of King penguins and explore the region’s natural beauty.
Day 1: Buenos Aires
Day 2: Arrive Ushuaia
Day 3: Embark the Greg Mortimer in Ushuaia
Day 4: Drake Passage crossing
Day 5: Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands
Day 6-10: Antarctic Peninsula
Day 11: Elephant Island, Weddell Sea
Day 12: Solar Eclipse
Day 13-14: Scotia Sea
Day 15-18: South Georgia
Day 19-20: Sea crossing
Day 21: Falkland Islands
Day 22: Sea crossing
Day 23: Ushuaia - Buenos Aires
Day 24: Fly to the UK
You will fly overnight before arriving in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, and be transferred to the hotel of your choice.
Arrive at the southernmost city of the world, Ushuaia, surrounding by spectacular scenery. The city nestles on the edge of the Beagle Channel, with the majestic mountains of the Martial range to the north, and the infamous Tierra del Fuego national park to the west. You will be met by your expedition representative and transferred to your hotel to relax following your flight, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Enjoy the sights of Ushuaia in the morning or perhaps go for a walk in the nearby National Park. You will be welcomed around 4 pm aboard the Greg Mortimer, where your adventure to Antarctica begins with sailing through the Beagle channel.
Voyage the ‘Rite of Passage’ southbound to Antarctica. En-route, there is the potential to spot albatross and whales, and the first magical glimpses of icebergs coming into view
On day four, you will navigate near the tip of the South Shetland Islands and see icebergs for the very first time. Get a better look on the bridge as this memory is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. If the weather allows, the expedition team will attempt the first landing in Antarctica late afternoon.
You will arrive at the Antarctica Peninsula where you will spend the next few days exploring. Your expedition team will guide you around the breath-taking landscapes, using Zodiacs to explore penguin colonies, scientific research outposts, various historical points of interest and cruising around wonderous ice floes (where you may spot lazy seals basking) and glistening icebergs. Kayakers can navigate the maze of ice passages, discovering nature and majestic scenery at every paddle stroke. You will have the opportunity to set foot on land and hike to viewpoints for spectacular photo opportunities. The expedition guides will make the very best of your time in Antarctica, with the long hours of daylight giving flexibility for landings.
The ship will navigate towards Elephant Island, an ice-covered mountainous island off the coast of Antarctica. You will learn the story of Shackleton when his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea and how he and his men survived at sea with three open boats for 16 months! You will sail past the Cape Valentine and see where the men first put ashore over 100 years ago.
If the weather allows, the expedition team will attempt a landing on Point Wild, on the north coast of Elephant Island.
The Expedition team will take you into the Weddell Sea, the best place to experience the solar eclipse. The total eclipse takes place on Dec 04 and plunges the Great White continent into darkness. Historically, early December was not a preferred time to watch the eclipse, but conditions have been changing. It is now possible to appreciate this wonderful moment at this period. Each season lasts 34 days and repeats every 173 days.
The eclipse is visible from the following geographic regions: Antarctica, South Africa, south Atlantic, but the full eclipse will only be visible in Antarctica
Keep watch for fin and sei, and potentially blue whales as your voyage continue to South Georgia. As you retrace the rescue voyage of Shackleton crossing the Scotia Sea, your expedition team will provide fascinating talks about his voyage, as well as informative talks to prepare you for the wildlife mecca of South Georgia.
South Georgia has one of the world’s most amazing wilderness. The island reveals jaw-dropping mountain scenery and you will learn from Shackleton’s expedition. On a Zodiac, you will visit bays dotted with raucous and playful fur seals, you will land on beaches and meet curious penguins. In fact, you will able to see thousands of King penguins waddling on shores. Challenge yourself on hikes and enjoy dazzling pristine landscapes seen by few. South Georgia is a place where you can truly feel like you’ve really escaped from your normal daily life.
Many places can be visited in South Georgia such as Grytviken – originally a sealing and whaling station closed in 1965, St Andrews Bay, Godthul, Salisbury Plains, Fortuna Bay & Stromness.
The ship will navigate towards the Falkland Islands. On your way, you can go on the deck and appreciate remarkable birdlife flying over the ship and potentially whales, a great moment for taking photos! The Expedition team will give lectures and you can enjoy the facilities from the ship and relax at sea.
The Falkland Islands are filled with a unique mix of wildlife. The archipelago has over 700 islands consisting of two main islands, only 7 of them are inhabited. You will visit Stanley, the capital, and be able to walk around the historic town as well as other places like Sealion Island and visit the Sealion Island Nature Reserve. Tussac grass covers most of the archipelago and provides an ideal habitat for elephant seals and sea lions found on the Falklands’ remarkable beaches. You can spot other marine mammals like Orcas Peale’s dolphins and leopard seals. Birdlife species such as giant petrels rockhopper, Gentoo, Magellanic, Macaroni, King penguins, Striated and Crested Caracaras can be seen during your journey.
You will head back to Ushuaia. Take this moment to edit your photos, enjoy the onboard facilities, or listen to an informative lecture and celebrate these unforgettable moments with your newfound friends at a special Captain’s farewell dinner.
You will disembark in Ushuaia and bid farewell to the captain and his crew before being transferred to the airport and fly back to the UK.
The Greg Mortimer is named after the Australian polar explorer, mountaineer and Aurora founder, Greg Mortimer. Its the first ship in a series of landmark, purpose-built Polar Expedition ships for Aurora and features a state-of-the-art 'x-bow design', which has a piercing effect on smaller waves, making for a much smoother voyage.
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