Day 1: Sandy Argentine Beaches — You embark from Puerto Madryn in the afternoon, your prow aimed for the Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo is renowned for its visiting southern right whales, so you have a good chance of spotting one as you sail toward the open ocean.
Day 2 – 3: Sea Life, Sea Birds — Though you’re now at sea, there’s rarely a lonesome moment here: Several species of bird follow the vessel southeast, such as albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.
Day 4 – 8: Finding the Falklands — The Falkland (Malvinas) Islands offer an abundance of wildlife that is easily approachable, though caution is always advised. These islands are largely unknown gems, the site of a 1982 war between the UK and Argentina. Not only do various species of bird live here, but chances are great you’ll see both Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins in the surrounding waters.
During this segment of the voyage, you may visit the following sites:
Steeple Jason – Home to the world’s largest black-browed albatross colony (roughly 113,000), Steeple Jason is a wild and rarely visited island buffeted by wind and waves. Weather and swell conditions dictate the journey here.
Carcass Island – Despite its name, this island is pleasantly rodent-free and hence bounteous with birdlife. Anything from breeding Magellanic penguins and gentoos to numerous waders and passerine birds (including Cobb’s wrens and tussock-birds) live here.
Saunders Island – On Saunders Island you can see the black-browed albatross and its sometimes-clumsy landings, along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins, and gentoos are also found here.
West Point Island – This beautiful island likewise hosts a bounty of birdlife, from shore birds near the landing site to black-browed albatrosses on the nest. Among them is a rookery of rockhopper penguins who have to undertake an incredible climb from the sea to get to their nests among the albatrosses.
Grave Cove – Nesting gentoo penguins and excellent hiking opportunities abound here.
Volunteer Point – A large white-sand beach, Volunteer Point is somewhat exposed but has a large king penguin rookery as well as other birdlife.
Port Stanley – The capital of the Falklands and the seat of its culture, Port Stanley has some Victorian-era charm: colorful houses, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs are all to be found here. You can also see several century-old clipper ships nearby, silent witnesses to the hardships of 19th century sailors. The small but interesting museum is also worth a visit, covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War. Approximately 2,100 people live in Port Stanley. Feel free to wander at will, though be aware that admission fees to local attractions are not included in the voyage.
Sandy Bay – The nearby Big Pond offers excellent wildlife opportunities, featuring dark-faced ground-tyrants and Magellanic snipes. There’s also an easy walk to see gentoo penguins, Magellanic penguins, rockhoppers, and king cormorants.
Sea Lion Island – This is a very exposed location, so you may need some luck to stop here. If a landing is possible, it’s well worth the trip: The island is home to the largest breeding colony of southern elephant seals in the archipelago, with approximately 2,000 individuals on the northern beaches. A moderate walk will also take you to a southern sea lion haul-out.
Coffin’s Harbour – This area is a relatively short walk from the landing site at the New Island South Wildlife Reserve, providing views of nesting black-browed albatrosses and rockhopper penguins. A more strenuous hike to Landsend Bluff may also show you some South American fur seals. The site of the only land-based whaling station on the Falkland Islands is south of this landing beach.
New Island North – Landing at this nature reserve requires a special permit. If received, you can make a farewell visit to the black-browed albatrosses (among other birds) and South American fur seals that call the Falklands home.
Day 9: Sailing toward the sunset — As you sail westward, seabirds trail you all the way to South America.
Day 10: Earth’s southernmost city — You arrive and disembark in Ushuaia, commonly held to be the world’s most southern city. It is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, nicknamed the “End of the World.” But despite this stopping point, the wealth of memories you’ve made on your Antarctic expedition will travel with you wherever your next adventure lies.
PLEASE NOTE: All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.