Home » Akademik Ioffe: Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica ex. Punta Arenas via North Falklands
Come on board on this far-reaching polar voyage stopping over three stunning locations. First stop is the sub-antarctic region of the Falkland Islands which house numerous species of birds where you'll witness southern rockhopper and magellanic penguins. Following along we'll head to South Georgia which features fascinating history, stunning scenery and home to a proliferation of unique wildlife and birdlife. Our final stop takes us to the south lies Antarctica - the frozen continent. Here we'll cruise in our zodiac boat accompanied by expert guides and explore this fascinating region.
Duration: 19 Days
Our journey begins in the morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at the airport and fly on the scheduled service to Stanley in the Falkland Islands (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). After a short 90-minute flight we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980’s, is a sobering reminder of recent history. There is time to explore the town before we make our way to the ship for embarkation. After settling in to our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off for the adventure of a lifetime.
Overnight we have navigated across the north of the Falkland Island archipelago and today offers an incredible introduction to the wildlife of the Sub-Antarctic. Our plan is to explore the island of West Point and nearby Saunders Island. West Point is known for its rockhopper penguin rookeries and substantial nesting black-browed albatross colony. The opportunity to observe these spectacular birds in close proximity, and on the nest is an immense privilege and an experience not easily forgotten. Re-positioning the ship, a visit to the wildlife-rich Saunders Island beckons. Along the white sand beaches and in the surrounding tussock grass we hope to encounter no less than four penguin species living in close quarters including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper the impressive king penguin, with their colourful orange, gold and grey plumage. We depart the Falkland Islands tonight bound for South Georgia.
We chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. The great pelagic seabirds are constant companions on our way to South Georgia. Our educational presentations and on-board discussions are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our on board photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. We also learn about polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of our One Ocean Expeditions’ guides and crew.
South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’. As we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs we begin our exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross and they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest.
The scenery is spectacular and the snowy peaks of the island make us pause to consider the incredible feat of mountaineering when Shackleton and his exhausted companions traversed the island from the wild south coast in 1916. They arrived into Stromness whaling station having crossed from King Haakon Bay, to raise the alarm that eventuated in the rescue of his men on Elephant Island, in Antarctica – 100 years ago.
South Georgia is a thrilling location for history buffs and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us. We hope to observe several of the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here we visit the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. For many, being in the presence of the great explorer will be a highlight of the trip. There is an excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust, and the restored Lutheran church, built by the original Norwegian whalers, provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica, leading us perhaps to the South Orkney Islands or Elephant Island. As with all of our itinerary planning, our expedition Leader and Captain will make a decision based on the conditions at the time. The South Orkney Islands represent the peaks of a submarine mountain range called the Scotia Arc, connecting South Georgia to the South Shetland Islands. Often shrouded in fog and surrounded by ice much of the year, a chance to visit these islands doesn’t come often.
As we edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. If conditions allow, we will hope to see the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. Shackleton and his men were encamped here for many months, having lost HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. From the tiny beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and six companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing is considered one of the greatest in history. If conditions allow, we will attempt a landing at Point Wild on Elephant Island.
Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland we find the South Shetland Island chain. Possible anding sites could include King George Island, Half Moon Island, Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point. Weather conditions permitting, we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. There are some outstanding hikes at these locations and the old whaling station and aircraft hangar at Deception Island beg for further exploration.
After so much anticipation, we enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in the vicinity of Mikkelson Harbour or Cierva Cove. Snow covered mountains soar from the dark waters. Along the shoreline in the bays and harbours of the Peninsula lives an incredible abundance of wildlife. Large rookeries are home to chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins. Seals live on the ice floes, including the powerful leopard seal that we hope to encounter. Gulls, skuas and cormorants are also found nesting and feeding at many sites along the Antarctic Peninsula.
We explore by Zodiac cruise and ashore where a range of wonderful activities await. Locations we hope to visit include Wilhelmina Bay, Orne Harbour, Cuverville Island and the Errera Channel. Join the photographic guide and take close up photos of the penguins, or of the impossibly blue ice. Or enjoy a hike to the top of a snowy mountain saddle with one of our adventure guides. If the opportunity presents itself, visit a science base or an old historic hut. The sea kayakers may range up to several miles from the ship, for a truly memorable experience. Each and every day, you have a range of great choices.
After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula, it’s time to return to South America. The educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition to some of the most remote corners of the planet. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
|15 Feb 2020 - 04 Mar 2020||$29069 NZD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Main Deck Triple Cabin||$29069 NZD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Twin Semi-Private Cabin||$34300 NZD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Twin Private Cabin||$37685 NZD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Superior Cabin||$39838 NZD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Shackleton Suite||$42300 NZD||US$800 travel credit!|
|One Ocean Suite||$44146 NZD||US$800 travel credit!|
On deck 3, an upper and two lower beds (one of the lower beds can be converted to a sofa), shared facilities, washbasin, writing desk/chair, storage, two portholes (one openable), bathrobes
On deck 4, two lower berths (one which can convert to a sofa during the day), a writing desk, storage, wardrobes with internal shelving, semi-private facilities (one bathroom between two cabins), one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, bathrobes
On decks 4 and 5, two lower berths, a writing desk/chair, wardrobes with internal shelving, storage, private facilities, one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, bathrobes
On deck 6, two lower berths, a sofa, a writing desk/chair, wardrobes with internal shelving, ample storage, private facilities, one openable window, toiletry kit, hairdryer, coffee/tea maker, vanity kit, bathrobes, upgraded bed linen and duvets.
On deck 4 and 5, 1 queen bed, double berth in separate sleeping quarters, a sofa in the main section (can be converted to a bed), a writing desk/chair, a comfortable armchair, fully stocked mini bar, iPad with polar literature, documentaries, movies and webmail access, private facilities, large openable windows.
On deck 5, a double berth in separate sleeping quarters, fully stocked mini bar, sofa ( can be converted to a single bed), large writing desk/chair, several armchairs, iPad with polar literature, documentaries, movies, private facilities, shower and bathtub, large openable windows.
*Expedition gear package
Included in the expedition, you will have free use of essential gears needed for the trip. This package includes quality waterproof/windproof jacket, insulated rubber boots, and a set of binoculars.
Camping in Antarctica is included in the price of your voyage (subject to weather conditions and availability). Please contact us for more information.
Sea Kayaking is available at an additional cost of US$795 per person.
Please note, polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to our itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change.