This is a truly epic adventure through the remote Falkland Islands, the wildlife paradise of South Georgia and the extraordinary landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula. Enjoy unforgettable encounters with untamed wildlife in a vast, dramatic and spectacular setting. Take a step back in time at historically significant sites and be mesmerized by the rich diversity and contrasts that make these regions so captivating and unique. Cross the Antarctic Circle, a feat that not many people have the opportunity to experience.
Watch a wild, isolated and extreme world come to life as scores of penguins dive for food, herds of elephant seals bathe in the sun, and pods of orcas pass by. You’ll be transported to your own wildlife documentary, staged in a magnificent setting of mountains, sea and ice.
|Day 1||Ushuaia, Argentina||Day at leisure|
|Day 2||Embarkation Ushuaia||Fly to Ushuaia to set sail for your adventure|
|Day 3||At Sea||Towards the Falkland Islands|
||Falkland Islands||Wildlife including: penguins, black-browed albatross, numerous bird species and dramatic Falklands scenery|
||At Sea||Towards South Georgia|
|Days 8-11||South Georgia||Millions of penguins, hundreds of thousands seals with a magnificent backdrop of snow-capped mountains|
|Days 12-13||At Sea||Towards the Antarctic Peninsula|
|Days 14-16||Antarctic Peninsula||Explore the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula|
|Days 17-18||Antarctic Circle||Toast as you cross the Antarctic Circle|
|Day 19-20||West Antarctic Peninsula||Farewell your fellow expeditioners|
|Day 21-22||Cross the Drake Passage||Keep a look out for sea birds and attend the educational programs|
|Day 23||Disembark Ushuaia||Farewell your fellow expeditioners in Ushuaia|
The Ocean Diamond is a modern and stable expedition ship. She carries a maximum of 189 passengers, and with two stabilizers and an ice-strengthened hull, this outstanding vessel is ideal for Antarctic expeditions. The Ocean Diamond has 101 elegantly designed cabins and suites, all with exterior views, and expansive common spaces, a club lounge, and a spacious restaurant. The ship offers numerous adventure options, e.g. Camping, Kayaking & Paddle-boarding. After a full day of exploration, a seat in the panoramic observation lounge offers the chance to reflect on the day’s experiences.
Your journey will begin in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia whilst preparing for your Antarctic adventure ahead. You may wish to take a hike in Patagonia or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town. There are many nice restaurants offering delicious Argentinian cuisine.
As you embark, the anticipation grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers and get acquainted with your ship. Since every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. They are on board for your comfort and safety, along with helping to make your wildlife dreams come true.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings, and also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures, a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.
Upon your arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this region. The archipelago contains two main islands—East Falkland and West Falkland—which you will explore during Zodiac excursions and daily landings.
Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore, grab a pint at the local pub or visit numerous churches and museums.
In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black- browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species—Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.
Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands.
Sailing south, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the invisible biological boundary called the Antarctic Convergence. Encircling the continent, cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating an abundance of krill and marine life that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Your Expedition Team will be sure to keep you posted when you cross this invisible yet important line.
This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you’ll still see remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, a museum, a gift shop, a church and a small research station.
Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife.
One day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach, and the next day you may visit another beach dotted with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island. This fragile and symbiotic relationship is something that your Expedition Team will explain to you during your time here.
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
If conditions allow, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, our first official stop in Antarctica.
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica.
You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, whether you are trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Curious whales, such as minkes, are often attracted to our Zodiacs, giving you a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional (extra cost) kayaking excursion or going for a swim in Antarctic waters!
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as few expeditions reach so far south. If conditions allow you to cross this famed line, you’ll be able to toast to the first explorers who ventured here and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. The Antarctic Circle is raw and untouched, home to the midnight sun and fantastic iceberg sightings.
If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to journey onto land by Zodiac as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula. Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
After more than three weeks of wildlife memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. Airport transfers will be provided for those departing on the first homeward flights. Other guests will be transferred to town.
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.