EXPLORER’S ANTARCTICA 

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19 DAYS

ITINERARY SUMMARY

 

Day Place Highlights
Day 1 Ushuaia Set sail, meet the expedition team
Day 2 At Sea Sea birds, onboard lectures
Day 3-4 Falkland Islands West Point Island, Saunders Island, penguins, seabirds, albatross
Day 5-6 At Sea Onboard lectures, photography workshops, spa treatments, exquisite dining experiences
Day 7-9 South Georgia Snow covered mountains, glaciers, fur seals, elephant seals, penguins, albatross
Day 10-11 At Sea Onboard activities
Day 12 Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands Chinstrap penguins, elephant seals, macaroni penguins, weddell seals
Day 13-15 Antarctic Peninsula Iceberg sculptures, carving glaciers, marine mammals, penguins
Day 16 South Shetland Islands
Chinstrap, Adelie, Gentoo, Macaroni Penguins
Day 17-18 Drake Passage Sea birds, onboard presentations
 Day 19 Ushuaia Arrive in Ushuaia 
Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctic Map World Explorer

SHIP OFFERING THIS ITINERARY

SILVER EXPLORER
silver-explorer

The Silver Explorer was built in Finland in 1989 and was designed specifically for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote destinations including Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia. The vessel was acquired by Silversea in late 2007 and has been fully refurbished in 2017 as an elegant luxury expedition cruise ship. Its ice-strengthened hull enables the ship to safely push through ice floes with ease, while a fleet of Zodiac boats allows guests to visit even the most incredible locations accompanied by the expert Expedition Team. Accommodation aboard comprises 72 spacious suites located across 4 decks, all with ocean views and some with private balconies. Passengers will also find an excellent range of facilities aboard including two lounges, restaurant, presentation theatre, library/Internet, spa, fitness centre, two jacuzzis, and outdoor viewing areas.

Day 1 Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia, Argentina
Overview:

Embark on your luxurious ship in the afternoon. Settle in and attend a mandatory safety drill before leaving port. During the afternoon you will be introduced to some of the important crew members and your Expedition Team. At sail-away bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the ‘Land at the End of the World’.

Days 2 At Sea

The Expedition Team’s expert lecturers will present ornithological and historical insights into the Falkland Islands, our first destination. You might hear about the early European explorers and the different attempts at settling the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. Get introduced to the specific birdlife we expect to see during our stay by our on-board Ornithologist. Tonight, you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party hosted by the Captain, who will introduce his senior officers.

Days 3 West Point Island and Saunders Island, Falkland Islands

Today’s adventure introduces you to the remarkable beauty of the remote Falkland Islands. In the morning, watch for Peale’s dolphins and the distinctive black and white markings of the Commerson’s dolphin as your ship (either the Silver Explorer or Silver Cloud) approaches West Point Island. Upon arrival, photographic opportunities are everywhere as you walk across rolling moorland and admire colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses that nest side-by-side with feisty Rockhopper Penguins. Learn about the island’s unique vegetation. The hospitable island owners are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.

During lunch Silver Explorer will reposition to Saunders Island, the second-largest of the offshore islands. Apart from its historical importance –this is where the first British settlement was located- Saunders’ wildlife is quite varied. Depending on the weather conditions we will attempt a landing at the Neck, to see several penguin species, as well as other seabirds and land birds. Gentoo Penguins and King Penguins reside in the open dune and sand flat area, while Rockhopper Penguins (with the odd pair of Macaroni Penguins in between them), Imperial Shags and Black-browed Albatrosses frequent Mount Richards. Other key bird species are the Black–throated Finch, Ruddy-headed Goose and Falkland Steamer Duck.

Days 4 Stanley, Falkland Islands

stanley-falkland-islands

Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and has a distinct British ambience. Two tours of Stanley and the surrounding area will be offered this morning. The ‘Bluff Cove’ tour will start with busses to transport guests outside of town to be transferred to 4-wheel drive vehicles for the balance of the journey. At the Bluff Cove settlement there are opportunities to observe and hike past both Gentoo and King Penguin colonies. At the cove itself you will have a chance to walk along the beautiful white sand shoreline sighting shore birds before enjoying coffee, tea and cakes at the small café.

The other tour is a classic ‘City Highlights’ which covers Stanley and surrounding environs. This excursion passes by older and newer portions of Stanley, stopping at the local harbour for small boats, both in current operations as well as half sunken hulks from 100 years ago -some of which are now being used as docks. Additional stops will be the shipwreck of the Lady Elizabeth, the peat cutting area, an outdoor whale bone display, war memorials and the museum.

Stroll through the charming streets of this colourful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs, and visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral. Some lingering reminders of the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina may still be seen though the island has settled back to its quiet business of raising sheep.

Days 5-6 At Sea

Wandering Albatross at Sea

Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Gather in The Theatre to perhaps hear about Captain Cook’s first visit to South Georgia or to learn about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Our knowledgeable on-board experts will present lectures and seminars in a variety of scientific fields. Other on-board diversions may include photography workshops, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.

Days 7-9 South Georgia

This breath-taking destination of towering snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and low-lying grasslands attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife: Southern fur seals, southern elephant seals and a variety of albatross species including Black-browed, Light-mantled Sooty, Grey-headed and the spectacular Wandering Albatross, plus thousands of King and Macaroni Penguins.

South Georgia is also linked to the early Antarctic explorers. Captain James Cook first stepped ashore in 1775, but perhaps more famous is Ernest Shackleton’s arrival in 1916 following the sinking of his ship Endurance. Visit the graves of Shackleton and Frank Wild, and the whaling museum at Grytviken.

Some of the places you may visit include:

Cooper’s Bay

An unforgettable view of a huge tabular iceberg can sometimes been seen at Cooper’s Bay as we approach.  Enjoy a Zodiac cruise to see Macaroni and Chinstrap Penguins on the rocks and in the water.

Gold Harbour

A large King Penguin colony can be found near Bertrab Glacier.   Seals can be seen sunning on the beaches.

Grytviken

Grytviken is a historic whaling station. You can still see the remains of the activity, including rusted hulls of long abandoned whaling and sealing ships, and some of the working-areas.  In the museum guests can learn about past whaling techniques and view various exhibits on exploration and discovery.

At the burial site of famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton we will toast the great explorer and his many accomplishments. The remains of his faithful companion Frank Wild have been brought here too.

Salisbury Plain

Salisbury Plain is a favourite breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of King Penguins. It is amazing to see how they completely cover the beaches and hills.

Days 10-11 At Sea

Participate in on-board activities, listen to some of the lectures given, relax in one of the lounges, or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library. Take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendour of the vast sea and sky. During the cruise towards the Antarctic Peninsula we might see some of the giant tabular icebergs coming from the Weddell Sea.

Days 12 Elephant Island

Chinstrap-penguins-Antarctic-Peninsula-Alex-Burridge

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.

Days 13-15 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.

Day 16 South Shetland Islands

Some 770 kilometers (478 miles) 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.

Days 17-18 Drake Passage Return

The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to strong westerly winds and the currents pushed through the ‘narrow’ gap between South American and the Antarctic Peninsula. The Antarctic Convergence is a natural boundary where cold polar water flows northward and warmer equatorial water moves southward. When these currents meet, nutrients are pushed to the surface, often attracting a multitude of seabirds and whales. Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that glide in the air currents of our ship’s wake such as the Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters, and White-chinned Petrels. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to swap photos with new friends as we travel towards Ushuaia.

Day 19 Ushuaia, Argentina

Your ship will arrive at Ushuaia in the morning. Following breakfast, you will disembark.

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 cruise call 1300 668 112 or email contact@antarcticatravelcentre.com.au

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.