Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula - 23d
|PLA29||Falkland Islands - South Georgia - South Sandwich Islands - Antarctic Peninsula - 13 Feb - 6 Mar (23 d)||Plancius|
Day 1: Ushuaia - In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.
Day 2: at sea - At sea, in the Westerly’s the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.
Day 3: Falkland Islands - In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) we plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago.
On Carcass Island we may encounter breeding Magellanic and Gentoo penguins, but also numerous waders and passerine birds are present. On Saunders Island, we can see the majestic Black-browed albatross and their sometimes-clumsy landings near their nesting site along with breeding Imperial shags and Rock hopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and Gentoo penguins are also present here.
Day 4: Falkland Islands - In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm, colourful houses, well-tended gardens, and English style pubs. In Stanley and the surrounding area, we can see quite a number of stranded clippers from a century ago. They bear witness to the hardships of sailors in the 19th Century. The small, but very interesting museum is well worth a visit featuring an exhibition covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War of 1982.
Approximately 1300 people live in the small capital in which all passengers are free to wander around on their own.
Admission fees to local attractions are not included.
Days 5 & 6:
- On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic currents, the temperature will drop considerably in the time span of only a few hours. Nutritious water is brought to the surface by the colliding water columns, which brings a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship: several species of albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, prions and skuas.
Days 7 – 10: South Georgia - During day 7 we arrive at our first landing site in South Georgia. We might visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay to give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the introduced reindeer, Elephant seals, Fur seals, King and Macaroni penguins.
One of many highlights may be our visit to Prion Island (the island is closed for visitors during breeding season from 20 November – 07 January), where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their displays. At Fortuna Bay we might try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stromness Bay. There and at Grytviken we will see an abandoned whaling station, where King penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken residency. At Grytviken we’ll also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton´s grave nearby. We will depart from South Georgia in the afternoon of day 10.
Day 11: At sea - Where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick skua and Snow petrel.
Days 12 – 13: South Sandwich Islands. At the rarely visited and uninhabited South Sandwich Islands (British Territory) we will try to land on Zavodovski Island, home to over a million pairs of breeding Chinstrap Penguins, making it one of the world's largest penguin colonies. Other landings will be pursued on the steep-sided Candlemas Island and on Saunders Island. These volcanic islands, discovered by James Cook in 1775, with an ice cap on the top, are windswept and often shrouded in mist and fog, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins and Southern Giant petrels. Elephant seals and Fur seals also haul out at the beaches. This is the area where we meet the remains of the huge table ice bergs from the Weddell Sea of which those deep blue ice bergs remain. Southern Thule is a huge crater with a natural harbour like Deception Island. German explorer Wilhelm Filchner visited the South Shetland Islands in November 1911 on board the ´Deutschland´ prior to exploring the unknown Weddell Sea.
Day 14: At sea - Sailing along the ice edge to the west the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At the edge of the pack-ice which extends far to the north we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick skua and Snow petrel. The ice edge is a prime feeding area for the great whales such as Humpback whales and Fin whales. The very rare Southern Blue whale may also be spotted.
Day 15: South Orkney Islands - We will attempt a visit to the Argentinean Orcadas station – the oldest permanently manned Antarctic station. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.
Day 16: At sea
Days 17 – 20: Antarctic Peninsula – If the ice conditions allow we will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to visit Brown Bluff where we may set foot on the Continent. In good sailing conditions we may decide to extend our time in the Weddell Sea.
We aim at Half Moon Island in the South Shetland Island for a visit to a Chinstrap penguin rookery. Often Weddell seals haul out on the beaches here. At Deception Island our ship braves into the entrance of the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellows into the caldera of Deception Island. Deception itself is a sub ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape petrels and many Dominican gulls, Brown and South Polar skuas, and Antarctic terns. Wilson’s Storm petrels and Black-bellied Storm petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.
On our last landing day before we venture into the Drake Passage we sail towards the northern parts of Gerlache Strait. One option is Charlotte Bay on the west coast of Graham Land was discovered by Adrien de Gerlache during the 1897–99 Belgica expedition and named after the fiancée of Georges Lecointe, Gerlache's executive officer, hydrographer and second-in-command of the expedition. The topography of the surrounding area is mountainous, with nunataks rising through the ice. Charlotte Bay is often filled with icebergs. Mostly we see seals on floes in Charlotte Bay, and occasional, kelp gulls, skuas, shags, or penguins. In Cierva Cove we will admire the rugged ice coated mountains of the Davis Coast and Mikkelsen Harbour offers a Gentoo penguin rookery and some great scenic cruising.
Days 21 – 22: At sea - On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.
Day 23: Ushuaia - We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.
Prices in Euro:
|PLA29||Falkland Islands - South Georgia - South Sandwich Islands - Antarctic Peninsula - 13 Feb - 6 Mar (23 d)||11.950||13.350||14.350||14.950||15.700||17.400