VENTflash #232 January 30, 2018

Posted by Victor Emanuel

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Victor Emanuel

Victor Emanuel started birding in Texas 70 years ago at the age of eight. His travels have taken him to all the continents, with his areas of concentration being Texas, Ari...

Dear friends:

Yesterday morning I had an excellent conversation with VENT tour leader Andrew Whittaker, who has recently returned home from leading our annual cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands.

Andrew reported having a wonderful trip, and that his tour group went home extremely happy. Among the many highlights were mixed colonies of albatross, penguins, and shags in the Falkland Islands, tens of thousands of King Penguins on majestic South Georgia Island, and many more penguins, whales, and incredible scenic beauty at the Antarctic Peninsula. Add to this list good views of Magellanic Woodpecker outside of Ushuaia before embarking the ship, superb seabirding throughout the voyage, and close encounters with Humpback Whales in a stunning ice-filled bay, and it is obvious why Andrew was so enthralled with the trip.

Adorable Adelie Penguins on fast-ice on the Antarctica Peninsula

Adelie Penguins on fast-ice, Antarctica — Photo: Andrew Whittaker

Antarctica never disappoints, and Andrew’s account reminded me again of how exceptional a destination it is. On the heels of this highly successful voyage, I am already looking forward to the end of the year when VENT will offer not one, but two opportunities to experience the wonders of the Southern Ocean.

Our next cruise to Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands will operate December 30, 2018–January 20, 2019. Equally exciting, this fall we will operate our first-ever Circumnavigation of the Falkland Islands cruise, October 27–November 8, 2018. Discount opportunities are available for both trips. Please continue reading to learn more about these special offers!

In this issue:

ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLANDS: $1,000 DISCOUNT OFFER!
CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS: 5% DISCOUNT OFFER!

ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLANDS: $1,000 DISOUNT OFFER!

Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins on an iceberg, Antarctica

Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins on an iceberg, Antarctica — Photo: Andrew Whittaker

Our next Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands cruise will operate December 30, 2018-January 20, 2019. For this departure, we are partnered with expert polar exploration company, Polar Latitudes, for the complete “Southern Ocean sweep.” The timing of this trip is perfect, occurring at the start of summer when penguin colonies and seal rookeries will be at peak activity.

Because our right to hold spaces on the voyage will expire in March, we are offering a final registration incentive: Register by March 12 and receive a $1,000 discount per person in double occupancy. Clearly, time to take advantage of this opportunity is limited!

I have made around ten voyages to Antarctica, and I consider this trip one of the single greatest travel experiences that a person could have. The wildlife spectacles alone are truly incredible, featuring colonies of penguins numbering into the tens of thousands, six species of penguins, six species of albatross and an array of other marvelous seabirds, several species of whales and dolphins, and beaches teeming with Antarctic Fur Seals and Southern Elephant Seals. The landscapes of South Georgia and Antarctica are grandiose and unforgettable. Giant glaciers, ice-clogged waterways, snow-veiled mountains, and wave-sculpted icebergs present scenes of overpowering beauty.

Travel will be aboard the Hebridean Sky, a beautiful all-suite vessel featuring excellent accommodations and food. Her sister ship, Island Sky, served as the vessel for this year’s trip, to excellent reviews. The Hebridean Sky promises the same level of quality. This departure will be led by VENT tour leader Andrew Whittaker, who has guided several previous trips to Antarctica, including our 2018 voyage. Andrew will join an experienced and talented Polar Latitudes staff to deliver a first-rate cruise.

 

A colony of thousands of King Penguins, Saint Andrews Bay, South Georgia

A colony of thousands of King Penguins, Saint Andrews Bay, South Georgia — Photo: Andrew Whittaker

Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands aboard the Hebridean Sky, December 30, 2018-January 20, 2019 with Andrew Whittaker; cabins start at $22,995 in double occupancy from Ushuaia. Register by March 12 and receive a $1,000 discount per person.

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CIRCUMNAVIGATION OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS: 5% DISCOUNT OFFER!

Male Rufous-chested Dotterel, Falklands

Male Rufous-chested Dotterel, Falklands — Photo: Andrew Whittaker

This fall, we will operate our first-ever Circumnavigation of the Falkland Islands, October 27-November 8. This trip will be unlike any previous VENT tour to this amazing destination. Teaming with Oceanwide Expeditions, we will spend five full days in the Falklands, performing a full circumnavigation of the archipelago from west to east and back again. Our itinerary includes seven islands, with visits to some of the most wildlife-rich locations in the entire archipelago. I am pleased to be able to announce a new discount opportunity: Register by March 1 and receive a 5% discount per person in double occupancy.

For decades VENT has operated birding and natural history cruises to Antarctica. Our itineraries always include the full “Southern Ocean sweep,” in which we also visit South Georgia Island and the Falkland Islands. This trip is one of the finest trips a person could make. However, I have always felt it would be wonderful to have more time to enjoy the Falklands, rather than the usual one or two days (at most) that we spend there. Now, my dream of offering a Falklands-only program is a reality.
 
During this cruise you will see colonies of four species of penguins including Magellanic, Gentoo, Southern Rockhopper, and King penguins, and colonies of Black-browed Albatross and Imperial Cormorant, as well as South American Sea Lion and Southern Elephant Seal. Additionally, while on land we’ll seek alluring, range-restricted species such as Falkland Steamer-Duck, Ruddy-headed Goose, Rufous-chested Dotterel, Striated Caracara, Cobb’s Wren, Blackish Cinclodes, and White-bridled Finch among many others. Adding to the excitement, we will spend two days at sea at the beginning of the trip, cruising to the Falklands from the Argentine mainland, and an additional day at sea while en route to Ushuaia at the end of the voyage. These waters are some of the richest in the world for pelagic birding, and we could see up to six species of albatross and a marvelous array of other seabirds, and several species of whales and dolphins.
 

Black-browed Albatross courting in the Falklands

Black-browed Albatross courting in the Falklands — Photo: Andrew Whittaker

Leading this trip is an all-star cast of VENT leaders including Michael O’Brien, Louise Zemaitis, and Barry Zimmer. Joining the Oceanwide staff as presenters are seabird expert Brian Patteson and geologist and naturalist extraordinaire, Kitty Coley. I cannot think of a stronger or more charismatic team of tour leaders with whom to travel.

I also point out that the cost of a trip to Antarctica and South Georgia is prohibitively expensive for many people. Our first-ever Circumnavigation of the Falkland Islands cruise offers an opportunity to see most of the wildlife of the Southern Ocean at less cost. Cabin prices start at $7,995 in double occupancy.

Finally, for those who would like to extend their time in South America with opportunities for birding on the mainland, we offer pre- and post-trip options to Buenos Aires & Northern Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego, respectively.

Circumnavigation of the Falkland Islands Aboard M/V Ortelius, October 27-November 8, 2018 with Michael O’Brien, Louise Zemaitis, and Barry Zimmer; cabin prices start at $7,995 per person in double occupancy from Puerto Madryn (ends in Ushuaia). Register by March 1 and receive a 5% discount (cabin prices start at $7,595).

Buenos Aires & Northern Patagonia Pre-trip, October 23-28, 2018 with Héctor Slongo and Michael O’Brien; $3,195 in double occupancy from Buenos Aires.

Tierra del Fuego Extension, November 7-10, 2018 with Marcelo de Cruz and Michael O’Brien; $1,495 in double occupancy from Ushuaia.

I hope you will consider joining one of these extraordinary journeys.

For more information or to register, please contact Greg Lopez or Patrick Swaggerty by phone (800-328-8368) or email (greg@ventbird.com; patrick@ventbird.com).

Best wishes,

Victor Emanuel