South Georgia in Depth
Travel to South Georgia and visit hundred of thousands of king penguins on this unrivalled itinerary to explore South Georgia and its staggering wildlife. South Georgia hosts the most wildlife per square meter in the world. On this expedition cruise, you can see 100,000 king penguins, fur seals, whales and albatross. Spend seven days in South Georgia, more than ever before to immerse into the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’.
Day 1: Punta Arenas, Chile — Our journey commences this morning in Punta Arenas. Here we board our scheduled flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal Britain. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town before embarkation. Excitement is in the air as we cast off, bound for Antarctica and the adventure of a lifetime.
Days 2 – 3: Southern Ocean — We chart a course bound for South Georgia. This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of astonishing wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as we make our way south. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days.
Days 4 – 7: South Georgia — Majestic snow-covered mountains greet us on arrival in South Georgia. We hope to navigate the ship into the historic location of King Haakon Bay. It was here that, 100 years ago, Shackleton and his men made landfall in their small lifeboat, the James Caird, after completing the perilous ocean crossing from Elephant Island. This dramatic location is visited by just a handful of ships each season. One of the most anticipated sites in South Georgia is Salisbury Plain. The black sand beaches and tussock covered dunes are home to a staggering 100,000 ing penguin adults and their young. This is just one of several such king penguin rookeries on South Georgia. History comes into sharp focus as we visit Stromness and Grytviken. Today, the rusted and ghostly remnants seem out of place in such a pristine environment. At the head of the bay lies Grytviken – the largest of the old whaling stations on South Georgia. A highlight of our landing here is a visit to the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his loyal right hand man, Frank Wild.
Days 8 – 10: South Georgia — Our next few days will take us to St Andrew’s Bay and Gold Harbor – places that are teeming with wildlife including fur seals, elephant seals and massive colonies of the colorful king penguins. We will explore as much as you desire on foot. Gold Harbor is so called because the sun’s rays make the cliffs yellow with their light in the morning and evening. It’s an exhilarating location. Drygalski Fjord at the far eastern extremity of the island is another spectacular site in South Georgia.
Days 11 – 13: Southern Ocean — Our final days are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the multi-media room with our photography expert. A highlight of our return journey will be frequent sightings of the majestic albatross, petrels and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Southern Ocean.
Day 14: Falkland Islands — Approaching Sea Lion Island close to the Falkland Islands, we launch the Zodiacs and go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife found at this location. Three species of penguin including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper, as well as southern elephant seals and South American sea lions are known to inhabit the area. King cormorants and striated caracaras are just some of the bird species we expect to see.
Day 15: Stanley, Falkland Islands and Punta Arenas, Chile — In the early morning, we navigate into the harbour of Port Stanley. A transfer will take us to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your voyage).
Days 14 -16: Drake Passage — Our final days are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the multi-media lab with our photography expert. The wonderful lounge and bar on our ship provides fantastic panoramas and is a great place to sit with a book and a hot drink. A particular highlight of our return journey will be frequent sightings of the majestic albatross, petrels and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Southern Ocean.
Day 17 : Ushuaia, Argentina — In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise, enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
Please note: Specific sites visited will depend on ice and weather conditions, the planned itinerary will be updated at the time of final preparations as well as throughout the voyage in order to take advantage of favourable conditions.