You will board your ship in the late afternoon and sail out from Ushuaia along the famous Beagle Channel towards the open sea. Onboard it’s an excellent opportunity to meet some of your fellow passengers and enjoy your first delicious meal. A glass or two of the complimentary sparkling wine should help you settle in!
The first day of this cruise is spent cruising to the Falkland Islands and there will be a whole host of facilities to enjoy. Will it be a spa treatment, a lecture from one of the onboard expedition team or just relaxing in one of the comfy chairs in the observation lounge, looking out for birds and wildlife.
Over the next 3 days, you will be exploring the Falklands Islands in-depth. These fascinating islands offer rolling landscapes, dramatic coastlines, unique wildlife and an interesting history. On your first day of exploring you will visit New Island and West Point Islands where there are rookeries that Rockhopper Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags share as well as the Devil’s Nose, a cliffside colony of Black-browed Albatrosses.
The next couple of days will see you visit the capital of the islands, Stanley followed by Bleaker Island, an excellent area of birding and Sea Lion Island, a unique area to see sea lions! However, as with all expedition cruising the programme is flexible to react to the local conditions including wildlife, sea conditions and weather. Your captain and expedition leader will take care of all the logistics and advise of any required changes to the plan.
Today you will sail across the infamous Drake Passage towards Elephant Island. The seas are the meeting point for the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and can be known for being turbulent. However, you can relax in the knowledge that you are on a ship with an ice-strengthened hull, state-of-the-art technology, and you’ll soon be enjoying the sights that lie ahead in Antarctica.
As you approach Elephant Island, you will start to see some impressive glaciers flecked with pink algae. The island was given its name because of its elephant-like appearance, and it is also a place where sightings of elephant seals are very common too. The Islands biggest significance is that in 1916, when Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, his crew managed to navigate here before becoming stranded for more than 4 months sheltering under two upturned lifeboats on a dramatic spit of land.
Today you will get your first experiences of Antarctica as your ship moves into Antarctic Sound and its magnificent array of tabular icebergs, historical sites and Adelie and Gentoo Penguin rookeries. Depending on weather and ice conditions your ship may go on to visit Brown Bluff and Hope Bay before moving towards the Antarctic Peninsula overnight.
As well as enjoying an in-depth look at the Falklands, you will also enjoy 4 days cruising the Antarctic Peninsula with its irresistible mix of spectacular iceberg sculptures, calving glaciers and possibilities for up-close encounters with marine mammals and penguins. There are so many sites that you may visit during your time here, including Paradise Bay, named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. Cuverville Island, home to nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Pleneau Bay, located at the southern end of the beautiful Lemaire Channel (nicknamed Kodak Valley) which was first explored during Charcot’s French Antarctic Expedition in 1903. Petermann Island, a great place to observe Adelie Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. Your captain and expedition leader will keep you informed of the plan as it develops.
Your last visits to Antarctica will be made in the area of Deception Island which is a huge sunken caldera (volcano) which can be reached from the sea. From whaling to scientific studies, the Island’s history is very interesting, and you can discover more of the unique volcanic features during a hike.
The time has come for you to return towards the mainland and the next 2 days will be spent cruising the Drake Passage back to South America. There will be additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and time to begin editing the many photos you’ll have taken. During the last afternoon, the onboard photographer will show the Voyage DVD.
After breakfast, its time to disembark the ship.
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