Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands: Dec 30, 2018—Jan 20, 2019
Aboard the Hebridean Sky
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An unforgettable voyage of a lifetime visiting the “White Continent," an untouched wilderness unsurpassed in all its majesty—the ultimate birding and wildlife experience on our planet, combined with the world’s most spectacular scenery.
To many, a trip to Antarctica represents the ultimate travel destination. Here the visitor—a stranger in an ice-locked world of breathtaking beauty—comes face to face with some of the world’s most sensational wildlife spectacles, replete with vast penguin colonies, giant albatrosses, seals, and whales galore. Soaring mountains, sculpted icebergs, immense glacier, and ice-clogged waterways present landscapes of unsurpassed grandeur.
VENT is proud to present an opportunity for interested travelers, natural history enthusiasts, and birders to venture to the White Continent, a place that has enticed explorers into its waters for more than a century. For this remarkable voyage, we’ve assembled an itinerary that offers maximum opportunities for viewing the birds and mammals of the Antarctic Peninsula AND South Georgia and the Falkland Islands; for birders and natural history enthusiasts this is essential, as most of the wildlife is found on these two South Atlantic island outposts. This comprehensive expedition to the Southern Ocean is truly the trip of a lifetime.
Over the course of this expedition we will witness some of the finest scenery on the planet, enjoy intimate encounters with wildlife that is totally unafraid, and experience the thrill of treading in places where comparatively few have gone before. Partnering with Polar Latitudes, we will travel aboard the 100-passenger Hebridean Sky, a beautiful expedition vessel perfect for exploring rugged Antarctic environments. Once aboard, we will cruise in total comfort, enjoying immaculate accommodations and excellent cuisine.
In the Falkland Islands we’ll visit colonies of Southern Rockhopper, Gentoo, and Magellanic penguins, as well as colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses and Imperial Cormorants.
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 albatrosses, petrels, diving-petrels, Antarctic Fur Seals, and Southern Elephant Seals roam the island’s beaches and grassy slopes.
VIDEO: Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands 2015, by Polar Latitudes, aboard Hebridean Sky (formerly Sea Explorer)
We will have four full days to explore the Antarctic Peninsula, cruising protected waterways, landing on remote islands aboard Zodiac landing craft, experiencing close wildlife encounters, and visiting scientific research bases. Our itinerary will be flexible, but a representation of places we hope to visit includes picturesque Neko Harbor; sheltered Paradise Bay, where Gentoo Penguins share space with Weddell and Leopard seals, and where calving glaciers and icy waters present scenes of overpowering beauty; Wilhelmina Bay, favored by Humpback Whales; and Deception Island, known for its volcanically-heated hot springs. We will navigate the magnificent Lemaire and Neumeyer channels, whose narrow waterways are lined with soaring 9,000-foot mountains and encrusted with massive glaciers and snow fields. On every horizon we’ll be surrounded by one dramatic mountain range after another, and all of it buried under timeless snow and ice.
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 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 explore the nearby national park for the majestic Magellanic Woodpecker and more, and cruise the Beagle Channel, enjoying spectacular vistas of rugged mountains and rocky headlands.
All travel, accommodations, and meals aboard ship; conditions aboard ship excellent in spacious cabins; several daily excursions in Zodiac landing craft; walking conditions vary from sandy beaches to loose rock but are easy; temperatures range from the 30s (F) to 40s; some agility required, but travelers in good health will have no problems.