ANTARCTICA AND FALKLAND ISLANDS  

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17 DAYS

ITINERARY SUMMARY

 

Day Place Highlights
Day 1 Buenos Aires Set sail, meet the expedition team
Days 2-3 At Sea Enjoy the facilities onboard, fine dining options, welcome cocktail party
Day 4 Puerto Madryn Explore this coastal Patagonian City
Day 5 At Sea Enjoy the facilities onboard, fine dining options, welcome cocktail party
Day 6-7 Falkland Islands New Island, West Point Island, Stanley
Day 8 At Sea Onboard lectures, photography workshops, spa treatments, exquisite dining experiences
Day 9 Elephant Island Chinstrap penguins, elephant seals, macaroni penguins, weddell seals
Day 10 Antarctic Sound Hope Bay, Paulet Island
Day 11-13 Antarctic Peninsula Iceberg sculptures, carving glaciers, marine mammals, penguins
Day 14 South Shetland Islands Explore this island seperated from Antarctica by the Bransfield Strait
Day 15-16 Drake Passage Cross the Drake Passage bound for Ushuaia
Day 17 Ushuaia Farewell your expedition team and fellow travellers
Silver Cloud Buenos Aires to Ushuaia

SHIP OFFERING THIS ITINERARY

SILVER CLOUD

Spacious yet intimate, the yacht-like Silver Cloud carries 240 guests in incomparable comfort and style combining spacious ocean-view suites and private verandas with excellent dining and entertainment options. Silver Cloud epitomizes a vision of world-class cruise accommodations, cuisine, service and amenities. The Silver Cloud is equipped with a fleet of zodiacs and expert guides to escort you on excursions from the ship.

Day 1 Buenos Aires

Ushuaia, Argentina

Glamorous and gritty, Buenos Aires is two cities in one. What makes Argentina’s capital so fascinating is its dual heritage—part European, part Latin American. Plaza de Mayo resembles a grand square in Madrid, and the ornate Teatro Colón would not be out of place in Vienna. But you’ll know you’re in South America by the leather shoes for sale on cobbled streets and impromptu parades of triumphant soccer fans. Limited-production wines, juicy steaks, and ice cream in countless flavors are among the old-world imports the city has perfected.

Days 2-3 At Sea

Taking advantage of the day at sea, the Expedition Team will present talks about the Falkland Islands (Malvinas -as the Spanish-speaking world calls them) that will prepare you for the exciting adventures ahead.  Birders out on deck want to keep an eye out for Black-browed Albatross, Southern Giant Petrels and Cape Petrels.

Day 4 Puerto Madryn

Rockhopper Penguins

Approaching from Ruta 3, it’s hard to believe that the horizon line of buildings perched just beyond the windswept dunes and badlands is the most successful of all coastal Patagonia settlements. But once you get past the outskirts of town and onto the wide coastal road known as the Rambla, the picture begins to change. Ranged along the clear and tranquil Golfo Nuevo are restaurants, cafés, dive shops, and hotels, all busy—but not yet overcrowded—with tourists from around the world. Puerto Madryn is more a base for visiting nearby wildlife-watching sites like Península Valdés and Punta Tombo than a destination in its own right.

Day 5 At Sea

Silver Cloud Owners Suite Lounge

Approaching from Ruta 3, it’s hard to believe that the horizon line of buildings perched just beyond the windswept dunes and badlands is the most successful of all coastal Patagonia settlements. But once you get past the outskirts of town and onto the wide coastal road known as the Rambla, the picture begins to change. Ranged along the clear and tranquil Golfo Nuevo are restaurants, cafés, dive shops, and hotels, all busy—but not yet overcrowded—with tourists from around the world. Puerto Madryn is more a base for visiting nearby wildlife-watching sites like Península Valdés and Punta Tombo than a destination in its own right.

Day 6 New Island and West Point Island, Falkland Islands

Rockhopper Penguins

Today you have two opportunities to enjoy the remarkable beauty of the remote Falkland Islands. During the morning we will visit New Island, a wildlife and nature reserve. The New Island Conservation Trust, a private environmental conservation group, protects its many birds and animals. Our Zodiacs will take us ashore near the island’s small settlement at Coffin Harbour. From there we will hike past the Barnard Memorial Museum crossing the island from east to west to reach the rocky cliffs and a rookery where Rockhopper Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags share the same nesting area. We will also observe Black-browed Albatross going about their daily routines and may even spot Upland Geese on our hike.

Our on-board historian might tell us about ‘Barnard’s barn’ — a stone structure once belonging to an early settler and now a museum, as well as the wreck of Protector III — an old minesweeper used for seal hunting, now grounded just off the shore not too far from our landing site.

During lunch Silver Cloud will sail in a northeasterly direction to West Point Island.  Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins with their distinctive black and white markings can often be spotted as one approaches West Point Island. Our Zodiacs will take us to a jetty from where we will walk slightly less than 2 miles to Devil’s Nose. Walking across rolling moorland and past gorse we will be observed by Grass Wrens, Long-tailed Meadowlarks, Falkland Thrushes, Striated Caracaras and Turkey Vultures, but our goal is to reach colonies of Black-browed Albatross that nest side-by-side with Rockhopper Penguins. The winds at Devil’s Nose are usually so strong that the albatross only have to spread their wings to take off, while the penguins (as their name implies) have to hop from rock to rock to reach either the shore or their nests. Once back at the farm, the hospitable island owners will invite you to have tea, coffee and home-made cakes and cookies and are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.

Day 7 Stanley, Falkland Islands

stanley-falkland-islands

Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and –although Argentine authorities have repeatedly claimed the islands as part of their country- has a distinct British ambiance. A reminder of the 1982 Falkland War between Britain and Argentina is the War Memorial.

Opt to take a ‘city tour’ by bus with a local guide or stroll through the charming streets of this colourful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs. Visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral (the southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world) and wander through the Falkland Islands Dockyard Museum. For stamp collectors a visit to the Philatelic Bureau is a must. Depending on local conditions there might be the chance to see Gentoo, Magellanic or King Penguins at Bluff Cove or Volunteer Point.

Day 8 At Sea

Albatross at Sea

Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and –although Argentine authorities have repeatedly claimed the islands as part of their country- has a distinct British ambiance. A reminder of the 1982 Falkland War between Britain and Argentina is the War Memorial.

Opt to take a ‘city tour’ by bus with a local guide or stroll through the charming streets of this colourful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs. Visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral (the southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world) and wander through the Falkland Islands Dockyard Museum. For stamp collectors a visit to the Philatelic Bureau is a must. Depending on local conditions there might be the chance to see Gentoo, Magellanic or King Penguins at Bluff Cove or Volunteer Point.

Day 9 Elephant Island

Point Wild Elephant Island

Awesome glaciers greet us as we approach Elephant Island – so named for its former abundance of elephant seals. In 1916, when Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, the crew was stranded here for 105 days. Elephant Island is home to several Chinstrap Penguin rookeries, as well as old moss colonies. Weddell seals and Macaroni Penguins can also be found on the spit of land Shackleton’s men named Point Wild. A solitary statue can be seen there, honouring the Chilean pilot Luis Pardo, who took the cutter Yelcho across the Drake Passage to rescue Shackleton’s men.

Day 10 Antarctic Sound

Zodiac and iceberg Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Sound is a stretch of water named after the first ship to have passed through this body of water from the Bransfield Strait to the Weddell Sea in 1902. The Antarctic eventually sank and crew and scientists had to spend quite some time in this area before they could be rescued. Sites that have to do with this story – like Hope Bay or Paulet Island – are sometimes visited. At Paulet, Hope Bay and Brown Bluff Adelie and Gentoo Penguins breed, as do Kelp Gulls and Cape Petrels, Snow Petrels and Skuas. The Sound’s main attractions are the spectacular tabular icebergs that come from the Larsen Ice Shelf further south.

Days 11-13 Antarctic Peninsula

While sailing along the Antarctic Peninsula, every turn can reveal a new and breath-taking adventure. As the pack ice becomes thicker, it’s apparent to everyone that we are moving closer into Antarctica’s vast white wilderness. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular iceberg sculptures and calving glaciers, and for the possibility of up-close encounters with marine mammals. Watch for seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and for humpback, Minke, and orca whales to surface from below the frigid waters. Each day we will attempt Zodiac departures, and, if conditions permit, we will cruise amidst colourful icebergs or step ashore to visit a variety of penguin rookeries and perhaps scientific research stations on complimentary excursions led by our team of natural history experts.

A flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife we may encounter.

Here are some of the places we may visit:

Antarctic Sound

Named after Nordenskjöld’s ship, this 30 miles long stretch of water at the north end of the Antarctic Peninsula offers some of the best tabular iceberg observations.

Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula

Brown Bluff is an ice-capped, 745-metre-high, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock. Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels use this as a breeding area. Birds such as the all-white Snow Petrel and skuas may be seen from a distance.

As you explore the area, Weddell seals may be seen basking in the sunlight. If conditions permit, a hike onto a nearby glacier might be possible.

Cuverville Island, Errera Channel

The island was discovered during de Gerlache’s Belgica expedition of 1897–99, and was named for a vice-admiral in the French navy. The large, bare rock areas near the shore provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins, but the penguins also look for exposed rocks on the slopes. Snow Petrels and Pintado Petrels may be seen, and Wilson’s Storm Petrels nest in the higher scree of the island.

Depending on conditions a hike towards the top of the island for stunning panoramic views might be offered. During Zodiac tours, we hope to see hauled-out Weddell seals.

Paradise Bay (on the Antarctic Peninsula)

The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. From the ship, observe Argentina’s “Base Almirante Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations. Here, you can actually set foot on the continent of Antarctica. Close to the station Gentoo Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags, Antarctic Terns, Kelp Gulls and skuas have all been seen nesting.

Depending on the conditions we can view the wildlife from sea level while cruising in our Zodiacs or cruise the bay with Silver Cloud. There’s a good chance you’ll come across a crabeater seal relaxing on a nearby ice floe, or, if you’re very lucky, your Zodiac driver may locate a Minke whale.

Gentoo Penguins
Seal

Neko Harbor

The site is named after a whale factory ship, which often used this bay –and Neko Harbor still today offers good chances to see whales. A landing will provide an opportunity to see Gentoo Penguin rookeries and quite possibly Weddell seals and crabeater seals hauled out on the cobble beach. A hike to a lookout point will be a good exercise and will be rewarded with panoramic views of the glacier, Andvord Bay and the Gerlache Strait.

Port Lockroy, Goudier Island

The British built a listening station on Goudier Island during WWII, which was then used as a research station in the 1950s. Bransfield House was restored in 1996 and since then has acted as a museum and gift shop. The Antarctic Heritage Trust operates a post-office at the station, which is open during summer.

Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins roam outside the museum and leopard seals often patrol the sea.

Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island)

Deception Island is an excellent example of a caldera where it is believed that the volcano’s summit collapsed with one section sinking far enough to allow the sea to flood the interior. We plan to sail into the caldera through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows and anchor in sight of the former whaling station and the former British Antarctic Survey station.

Our resident geologist will take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area and their importance for science, while our historian might introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island. Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s.

Conditions permitting, we might hike to Neptune’s Window for spectacular panoramic views.

Day 14 South Shetland Islands

Gentoo Penguins

Some 770 kilometers south of Cape Horn, the South Shetland Islands are usually the first land seen in Antarctica. Separated from the Antarctic Peninsula by the Bransfield Strait, nine major islands make up the group. The region was the first to be exploited by sealers in the early 19th century, and because of its proximity to South America, it still is the most visited by scientists and tourists. Chinstrap, Adelie, Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins all breed here. In addition, because it is the warmest part of the continent, large moss beds as well as orange, black, grey and green lichens grow –even hair grass and pearlwort manage to survive. Leopard seals, Weddell seals, crabeater seals, Southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals can be seen in the water and on the beaches.

Days 15-16 Drake Passage

Beagle Channel Shutterstock

The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the westerly winds and the funneling effect of the passage. The Antarctic Convergence, a natural boundary where cold polar water flows northward and warmer equatorial water moves southward, is within the Drake Passage. When these two currents meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters and White-chinned Petrels glide in the air currents alongside and in the wake of the ship.

Day 17 Ushuaia, Argentina

At 55 degrees latitude south, Ushuaia (pronounced oo-swy-ah) is closer to the South Pole than to Argentina’s northern border with Bolivia. It is the capital and tourism base for Tierra del Fuego, the island at the southernmost tip of Argentina. Although its stark physical beauty is striking, Tierra del Fuego’s historical allure is based more on its mythical past than on rugged reality.

Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.

A flexible itinerary allows us to take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife we may encounter.

To book this voyage call 1300 668 112 or email contact@antarcticatravelcentre.com.au

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.