Designed for eclipse chasers, this itinerary offers you the rare opportunity to witness the total eclipse of the sun while also setting foot in Antarctica, as well as a chance to explore the rarely visited sub-Antarctic Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia. During your voyage you will have the opportunity to participate in talks led by Fred Espenak, known as “Mr. Eclipse,” who has participated in 29 eclipse expeditions around the world, while also learn about the region, its wildlife and history, during onboard presentations by our team of polar experts. On December 4, the day of the Total Solar Eclipse, you will receive a pair of eclipse glasses, and an invitation to a special celebratory toast, where you can relive your eclipse experience with fellow passengers. The excitement of the voyage continues as your ship then departs for South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, where you will explore regions rich in wildlife and polar history.
|1||Ushuaia||Explore this unique city, the gateway to the white continent|
|2||Embarkation||Embark on the Ocean Diamond and on your incredible adventure|
|3 & 4||At Sea||Crossing the Drake Passage|
|5 - 7||South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula||Penguins galore along with incredible landscapes|
|8 - 9||At Sea||Towards your position for the Solar Eclipse|
|10||Solar Eclipse||Prepare to witness a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event in the sky|
|11 - 14||South Georgia||Visit historical landmarks on the island along with witness beaches blanketed with penguins|
|15 & 16||At Sea||Towards the Falklands|
|17 & 18||Falkland Islands||An incredible adundance of birds and wildlife are awaiting|
|19||At Sea||Towards South America|
|20||Ushuaia||Disembark where your adventure began|
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.
You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port at the tip of South America. It’s the ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart!
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.
Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crab-eater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for Antarctic whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight 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 paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or cast reason aside and jump into Antarctic waters for the Polar Plunge!
Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula, as your next destination is the Scotia Sea, between the South Orkney Islands and South Georgia, where you’ll witness a rare natural phenomenon: an eclipse of the sun in Antarctica! Your Expedition Team will prepare you in advance with expert presentations and workshops on astronomy, meteorology and other related topics to help prepare you for that once-in-a-lifetime event: total solar eclipse in Antarctica. Joining you for the eclipse is world-renowned eclipse expert Fred Espenak. Known as “Mr. Eclipse,” Fred is a retired NASA scientist and has participated in 29 eclipse expeditions around the world.
Early this morning, you will be summoned on deck to witness an extraordinary, much-awaited moment: a solar eclipse, the very brief period (1 minute, 40 seconds) when the moon blocks the sun’s light, plunging the polar regions into darkness. Every guest will be provided with a pair of eclipse glasses before the momentous event. You’ll savor the stillness of this magical moment with your fellow umbraphiles (eclipse chasers), knowing you’re among the few to have witnessed this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. As with all eclipse sightings, visibility is influenced by the weather and cloud conditions. Unique to this experience will be its location at sea, and the more extreme latitude which places the eclipse low on the horizon, making a successful sighting that much more difficult, and more rewarding should all the stars align for the eclipse to be visible. After the eclipse concludes around breakfast time, feel free to celebrate the unforgettable moment or return to your bed. In addition to the eclipse glasses, guests will also receive an invitation to a special celebratory toast to commemorate their special total eclipse voyage.
South Georgia is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins. It won’t take you long to realize that you are in a bird paradise, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance. You’ll find that South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now. One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement is one of the first whaling stations established in sub-Antarctic waters. Many travelers find that this place has a special appeal, as it is home to the remains of Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.
After more than two weeks of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your incredible experiences.
Upon your arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), your camera will get a real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this sub-Antarctic region. The archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore during daily Zodiac excursions and landings. Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favoured 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 southern 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—the flightless Falkland steamer duck and possibly the elusive Cobb’s wren. 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.
After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
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.
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.
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.