South Georgia & Antarctica (18 days w/hotel)
With its enormous King Penguin colonies, historic sites of Antarctic exploration and dramatic glaciated scenery, there is nowhere else quite like South Georgia on Earth. While elephant seals sunbathe on volcanic beaches, albatross circle overhead and the remnants of whaling stations tell the stories of sailors past. This expedition will see the dramatic highlights of the South Georgia archipelago before turning south to explore the wildlife-abundant wilderness of the Antarctic Peninsula. Whether a history buff, wildlife enthusiast or keen photographer, this adventure – journeying from South America to the sub-Antarctic and then the vast white continent itself – is the ultimate voyage to experience it all. After a day of hiking and local cuisine in the picturesque seaside town of Ushuaia Argentina, the Ocean Endeavour will sail east. A few sea days will introduce you to the ocean ecology, rare seabirds and dramatic skies of the Southern Ocean before the horizon is interrupted by the dramatic peaks of South Georgia.
Sir Ernest Shackleton at his grave in Grytviken will set the tone for a truly exploratory voyage as we venture through the archipelago, turn south again for open seas and follow the whales to the Antarctic Peninsula for four full days of activities among ice and snow.
Length of Travel: 18 Days
Itinerary in Brief
DAY 1 & 2 – Ushuaia, argentina
DAY 3-5 – at sea
DAY 6-9 – south georgia
DAY 10 & 11 – At sea
DAY 12-15 – Antarctic peninsula
DAY 16 & 17 – At sea
DAY 18 – ushuaia, argentina
Days 1 & 2: Ushuaia, Argentina
Named after the vessel on which famous naturalist Charles Darwin sailed through the area, the rugged Beagle Channel will greet you from the plane window on the approach to Ushuaia. It’s here, in this scenic seaside village that your journey to South Georgia and the Antarctic begins. After settling into your hotel, enjoy one of the city’s many restaurants serving local seafood and Argentine cuisine or stretch the legs with a hike to the Martial Glacier taking in views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. From the wharf in Ushuaia you will board the Ocean Endeavour before setting sail to enjoy the pastel colours and fleeting wildlife of an afternoon and dusk on the Beagle Channel.
Days 3-5 At Sea
Sailing east, your time at sea can be spent learning from your on-board team of experts and guides through talks, workshops or casual conversation. Or take to the Ocean Endeavour’s esplanade deck for panoramic views of the southern skies and the rare albatross that frequent them. These wanderers of the ocean will guide us toward our next destination while lecturers in ornithology, geology, glaciology and biology will prepare you to understand this remote and unique wilderness.
Days 6-9 South Georgia
On day six of our expedition, hanging glaciers and the echoing howls of adolescent fur seals will emerge from the morning fog of South Georgia. It’s on these very shores that famed Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackelton landed his crew of the James Caird in search of help for his party stranded on Elephant Island. We will spend the next several days retracing some of Shackleton’s steps, visiting his grave at the ex-whaling station of Grytviken and wandering among hundreds of thousands of king penguins in dramatic South Georgian light.
Across the island, dark volcanic beaches are backgrounded by hanging glaciers and penguin species nest among tussock grass along hikes to
alpine lakes. For keen birders, one might even spot
the South Georgia pipit – the world’s most southerly
Days 10 & 11 - At Sea
After a thorough exploration of this remote and rugged land, we will farewell South Georgia and turn toward the Antarctic Peninsula. Sailing further south each day, it’s here that the Southern Ocean comes into a whole new realm; where icebergs appear on the horizon at Cape Petrels flank the Ocean Endeavour as we gain sight of the frozen continent on the horizon. During these two days, out onboard education program will continue with a focus on the Antarctic marine life, history and geopolitics of the area
Days 12-15 Antarctic Peninsula
Day 12 will see the Ocean Endeavour sailing among the icebergs and penguin colonies of the world’s last true wilderness – the Antarctic continent. As we approach the peninsula from the north, we’ll begin the immersive Antarctic experience with more zodiac excursions cruising among the brash ice or landing at some of the area’s most celebrated vantage points. To begin the true Antarctic wildlife experience, we will immerse ourselves within the sights and sounds of a gentoo or chinstrap penguin colony – a chance to marvel at these aquatic birds and witness their brief summer activities in this frozen land. Across the following days, the Ocean Endeavour will venture even further south, our captain seeking the most prized of pristine Antarctic wilderness and aiming to access such famous sites as Neko Harbour, Port Lockroy and the Lemaire Channel. Along the way, our experts on the vessel’s bridge will be scanning for seals and the marine leviathans that call these waters home during the austral summer. Here, among the ice, we’ll continue our exploration with snowshoeing, camping, kayaking and even take the chance for a polar plunge – a concise swim in Antarctic waters.
Days 16 & 17- At Sea
In celebration of all that South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula have given us over the previous days, we will farewell the seventh continent from the decks of the Ocean Endeavour with a toast to the Antarctic at sunset.
Day 18- Ushuaia, Argentina
The last morning of our voyage will begin with a final breakfast on board the Ocean Endeavour before we wave goodbye to the ship and its crew from Ushuaia’s mountain-backgrounded pier. Enjoy a final view of the Beagle Channel on your transfer to the airport or opt to recap your voyage while enjoying the scenic surrounds of and cosy cafes of Ushuaia