Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands: Dec 14, 2017—Jan 04, 2018
Onboard the M/V Ortelius
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Starting price per person based on double occupancy; internal air fare not included. Singles are available at 1.7 times the double rate.
Tour Limit: 15
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (4.8 MB)
Brian PattesonBrian Patteson grew up near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, but has a keen interest in...
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A holiday voyage to the “White Continent,” South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands offers what many consider the world’s greatest travel experience, featuring the fantastic birds and mammals of the Southern Ocean and superlative scenic wonders.
For the first time in years, we present a holiday voyage to Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands for an unforgettable “grand sweep” of the Southern Ocean. As with all of our Antarctic voyages, we offer an itinerary that provides maximum opportunities for viewing the special birds and mammals of the region against backdrops of arresting scenic beauty. While the “White Continent” itself takes center stage, the inclusion of South Georgia and the Falkland Islands makes for a comprehensive expedition. For birders and natural history enthusiasts this is essential, as most of the wildlife is found on these two South Atlantic island outposts.
During our travels we’ll receive exposure to some of the finest scenery on the planet, enjoy close encounters with wildlife that is totally unafraid, and experience the thrill of visiting places where comparatively few will ever go. Partnering with Oceanwide Expeditions, we will travel aboard the 116-passenger M/V Ortelius, a solid and practical expedition vessel perfect for exploring rugged Antarctic environments. Once aboard, we will enjoy the ship’s comfortable hotel quality accommodations and spacious viewing decks and public areas.
In the Falkland Islands we’ll visit colonies of Rockhopper, Gentoo, and Magellanic penguins, as well as colonies of Black-browed Albatross. We’ll also spend a day in Port Stanley, capital of the archipelago and gateway to fascinating history and good local birding.
Incredible South Georgia rises from the Southern Ocean like a great alpine citadel. Lofty, snow-covered peaks, windswept moorlands, and a magnificent coastline scalloped with inlets and deepwater fjords provide beautiful scenery in staggering proportions. This outpost hosts some of the world’s most stupendous wildlife spectacles, with hundreds of thousands of King Penguins its most obvious inhabitants. Thousands more albatross, petrels, diving-petrels, Antarctic Fur Seals, and Southern Elephant Seals roam the island’s beaches and grassy slopes.
M/V Ortelius— Photo: Rolf Stange/Oceanwide Expeditions
We will have five full days to explore the region of the Antarctic Peninsula, Weddell Sea, and South Orkney Islands, cruising protected waterways, landing on remote islands aboard Zodiac landing craft, experiencing intimate wildlife encounters, and visiting scientific research bases. We plan to land at such places as Paulet Island, home to a colony of Adelie Penguins; Half Moon Island, where Gentoo Penguins share space with Weddell and Leopard seals; Deception Island, known for its volcanically-heated hot springs; and Brown Bluff, where we’ll actually set foot on the Antarctic mainland. On inter-island transits we’ll be treated to scenes of overpowering beauty, including calving glaciers, icy waterways, and dramatically sculpted icebergs.
The Southern Ocean is home to some of the finest pelagic birding in the world. Watching from the ship’s decks, we should see five species of albatross, including the huge Wandering and Royal albatrosses; the gorgeous Snow Petrel; and thousands of other prions, shearwaters, petrels, and storm-petrels. We’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence where the cold waters of the Southern Ocean override the warmer waters to the north. Outside Ushuaia we’ll cruise the Beagle Channel, enjoying spectacular vistas of rugged mountains and rocky headlands.
All travel, accommodations, and meals aboard ship; conditions aboard ship good; many excursions in Zodiac landing craft; walking conditions vary from sandy beaches to loose rock; temperatures range from the 30s (F) to 40s; some agility required, but travelers in good health will have no problems.