|1||Ushuaia, Argentina||Day at leisure, overnight in Ushuaia|
|2||Embarkation Ushuaia||Embark and sail the Beagle Channel|
|3 & 4||Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands||Crossing the Drake Passage, first landing site|
|5 - 10||Antarctic Peninsula||Gentoo, Adelie & chinstrap penguins, seals and dramatic scenery, cross the Antarctic Circle|
|11 & 12||At Sea||Crossing the Scotia Sea|
|13 - 17||South Georgia||Penguins, seals and seabirds with a magnificent backdrop of snow-capped mountains|
|18 - 20||At Sea||Relax and enjoy the many on board facilities or observe the many seabirds and whales from the bridge|
|21||Falkland Islands||Four species of penguins, black-browed albatross, numerous bird species and dramatic Falklands scenery|
|22||At Sea||Relax,enjoy the many on board facilities and reflect on your amazing trip|
|23||Ushuaia, Argentina||After breakfast, disembark the Sylvia Earle for your onward journey|
The 2nd purpose built expedition vessel by Aurora Expeditions honours the highly accomplished marine biologist, oceanographer and explorer, Sylvia Earle. As the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet in 1998 this vessel pays tribute to Sylvia’s long standing conservation efforts for marine protected areas and ocean wildlife.
Besides the same revolutionary Ulstein X BOW hull design like the Greg Mortimer, the Sylvia Earle features a distinctive Glass Atrium Lounge at the bow of the ship with a stunning panoramic view on both port and starboard side, Lecture theatre and lounge, a swimming pool and jacuzzi where you can admire impressive scenery while watching the world go by.
Please Note: The Sylvia Earle is currently under construction so all images are renders.
Arrive in Ushuaia, the Southernmost city in the world, where you’ll be met by an expedition representative and transferred to your downtown hotel. Enjoy rugged mountain scenery, lively cafes, restaurants and bars. You have the day at leisure to explore this interesting place.
This morning, prepare your luggage with your bag tags before checking out of your hotel. You will have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby to commence a tour of Ushuaia. Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests.
On this half day introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4:00pm. After embarkation, you’ll have time to settle into your cabin before your important mandatory briefings. As the ship pulls away from port, gather on the deck to commence your adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners and friendly expedition team and crew at a welcome dinner to celebrate the start of a thrilling adventure to Antarctica.
The Drake Passage offers excellent bird watching from the outer decks or the bridge. Your expedition team presents safety and environmental briefings, and enlightening talks on Antarctica. Keep your eyes peeled for icebergs, penguins, seals and cormorants as we approach our first landing in the South Shetland Islands.
It’s almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever. Once you arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are yours to explore, and you have a host of choices available to you. Because you are so far south, you will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities. You will generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You’ll want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some favourite spots along the peninsula. While ashore aim to stretch your legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters – conditions permitting!
In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, you may ship cruise some of the narrow, dramatic straits separating offshore islands from the mainland, or linger in scenic bays to watch whales travelling or feeding. This is a great time to enjoy the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge for uninterrupted views of Antarctica in all its splendour. Keep an ear out for the creak and deep rumble of glaciers as they carve their way from summit to sea, and take a quiet moment to experience the wonder of this incredible white continent. On this voyage, the plan is to cross the Antarctic Circle, an imaginary line located at the Antarctic Circle at latitude 66°33′ South (approximately). This is certainly a special highlight for everyone, and the moment will be celebrated with a toast on the deck. You’ve earned some boasting privileges, joining a small group of lucky adventurers who’ve made it to this part of the world. As you approach and cross the circle, you will notice subtle changes in the landscape, icescape, and also in the distribution of wildlife. The waters at this time of year are rich with krill and we hope to see plenty of whales – particularly humpbacks and minkes, and enjoy the spectacle of penguins feeding their ravenous chicks.
En route for South Georgia you’ll head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that 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 open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 1290km distant. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside the naturalists from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from the historian.
“Nearly always there were gales. So small was our boat and so great were the seas that often our sail flapped idly in the calm between the crests of two waves. Then we would climb the next slope and catch the full fury of the gale where the wool-like whiteness of the breaking water surged around us.” – Ernest Shackleton.
As you near the rugged island of South Georgia, spare a thought for Captain James Cook, who arrived here in 1775 and believed it to be the northern tip of a great southern continent! In fact, it is a small island only 176km long, but with a 3,000m snow-capped mountain range, some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife and a truly fascinating human history, South Georgia is an island of incredible riches. On approach, jagged mountain peaks rise steeply, while seabirds are often spotted soaring around the ship. You’ll sail down the east coast, taking in the spectacular glaciated scenery and enjoying a little shelter from the prevailing westerly winds. This enchanting coastline is yours to explore! Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their local knowledge to plan your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, sea state and wildlife opportunities. We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day.
Make sure you layer up before joining Zodiac cruises around craggy coves and along the rocky coastline in search of nesting penguins, seal haul-outs and bird cliffs. Remember to keep an eye out for South Georgia’s kelp forests as well – these remarkable underwater ecosystems are quite mesmerising as their fronds sway back and forth on the water’s surface. Zodiacs will also transport you from ship to shore, where you can visit some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth, take a guided walk among fur seals and elephant seals (making sure you listen to your guides and keep your distance!) and wander along pebbled streams and grassy glacial outwash plains. We also hope to visit the remnants of South Georgia’s thriving whaling stations and pay our respects to Sir Ernest Shackleton, whose incredible voyage of survival is synonymous with this island. If you have chosen an optional activity, you’ll have the option to do that whenever conditions allow. In addition to Zodiac cruises and shore excursions, we may ship cruise through fjords with towering cliffs of ancient stone, or into deeply indented bays towards dramatic glacier fronts. This is a great time to find a comfy spot in the observation lounge or make your way to the bridge to enjoy uninterrupted views of South Georgia’s majestic coast.
Between South Georgia and the Falklands, 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. The onboard lecture program will continue and highlight all of the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days. You will have ample time to enjoy the rest of our time observing the sea birds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing in the bar with a book.
Located 477 kilometres east of southern Argentina, the Falkland Islands is a unique mix of being a wildlife hotspot and inhabited outpost. An archipelago of over 700 islands, but consisting of two main islands, East and West, only seven of the islands are inhabited. The cold nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands makes them a prime location for marine life, including seabirds and seals. Your time in the Falkland Islands includes a short walk in historic Stanley town. The experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design the voyage, this allows you to make best use of the prevailing weather and wildlife opportunities.
You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture. Celebrate the end of an unforgettable voyage with newfound friends at a special Captain’s farewell dinner.
After breakfast disembark the Sylvia Earle and transfer to downtown Ushuaia or airport to continue on your onward journey, or perhaps stay for a bit longer to explore Patagonia. Our consultants will be able to organise any additional arrangements you need.
To make the most of your time in South America we can tailor a holiday to Patagonia to suit your voyage dates. If you have a bit more time we can create a tailor-made itinerary to some of the highlights of South America. Take a look at the Patagonia sample itineraries below and contact us to begin creating your perfect holiday.