FALKLAND ISLANDS, SOUTH GEORGIA & ANTARCTICA – MEGA COLONIES
ANTARCTICA MEGA COLONIES
18 Day Cruise from US$20,890
SANTIAGO – FALKLAND ISLANDS – ANTARCTICA
18 DAYS 31 DECEMBER 2019 - 17 JANUARY 2020

EXPERIENCE SOME OF THE LARGEST WILDLIFE COLONIES ON THE PLANET

Antarctica and remote islands of the South Atlantic are home to some of the largest wildlife colonies found anywhere on Earth. On the dark sand beaches and in the tussock covered dunes of South Georgia, king penguin colonies contain more than 100,000 adult birds and their young. To the south, in the remote Weddell Sea region of Antarctica, we find Adelie penguin rookeries of a similar size and scale. These ‘mega colonies’ are the focus of this unique voyage – a world first in polar expedition travel.

In March 2018, scientists from the esteemed Stony Brook University and their international colleagues announced the discovery of a previously unknown penguin colony, estimated to contain more than a million Adelie penguins. Studying detailed satellite imagery of the remote Danger Islands, researchers visited and confirmed the astonishing find. These islands sit at the remote and little-visited northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

While the mega fauna colonies are a highlight of this voyage, history can be found at every turn and we visit several important locations containing relics from early exploration and the whaling era. The waters are full of life and we anticipate encounters with both whales and seals. Every day we explore off the ship, in the Zodiac boats, by sea kayak and by hiking on shore – all in the company of expert guides who interpret and educate us about our fantastic surroundings. We invite you to join us on what promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime voyage.

Tour Highlights
  • Witness some of the largest wildlife colonies found anywhere on Earth
  • Outstanding wildlife observation on shore, Zodiac cruising and from the ship
  • Visits to historic sites and science stations
  • Learn about the environment, wildlife, history and ecology from polar experts

Tour Information
  • Where
    :

    SANTIAGO – FALKLAND ISLANDS – ANTARCTICA

  • When
    :

    31 DECEMBER 2019 – 17 JANUARY 2020

  • What
    :

    CRUISE, NATURE AND WILDLIFE

ON THIS TRIP
  • Zodiac excursions
  • Onshore hiking options
  • Wildlife observation
  • Photographer-in-Residence
  • Sea kayaking available
  • Whale watching
  • Educational presentations
  • Active Cruising & Wellness
Itinerary

(TUESDAY, 31 DECEMBER, 2019)

We depart Santiago this morning on our special charter flight direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. We are met on arrival and transfer from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides our first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds. Making our way to the port, we board our expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail celebrating the arrival of a new year, and cast off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.

We chart a south-easterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds join us in the Southern Ocean and follow in the updrafts created by the ship. Our educational presentations continue and are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. We will also learn about Polar conservation – a theme particularly close to the hearts of our guides and crew.

South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs, we begin our exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest. South Georgia is a thrilling location for history lovers and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us.

We hope to observe several of the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here we visit the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. For many, being in the presence of the great explorer will be a highlight of the trip. An excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the restored church built by the original Norwegian whalers provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica. Onboard experts keep us busy with fascinating presentations and lead lively discussions throughout the day. The great pelagic seabirds are sure to keep us company – and we anticipate excellent sightings of albatross and giant petrels soaring on the winds of the South Atlantic Ocean. As we edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. Excitement grows as the low-lying Danger Islands appears on the horizon. Situated at the extreme northern point of the Antarctic Peninsula, offshore from the larger Joinville Island, we cannot help but be excited about the days ahead.

Our excursions today will be dictated by the prevailing weather. Strong currents flow out of the Weddell Sea bringing variable ice conditions to the archipelago. We launch the Zodiacs to explore the waters around the island groups and plan to make shore landings at several locations. We will be struck by the immense scale of the Adelie penguin rookeries here. These are the smallest (and most comical) of Antarctica’s penguins, resplendent in their black and white plumage. They are fascinating to observe, coming and going from fishing forays, and sitting on the nest raising their precious chicks. Our guides will be keen to share their knowledge of the penguin life-cycle and tell of the recent scientific research at this location. We notice an increase in the huge, flat-topped tabular icebergs as we navigate into the Weddell Sea and always anticipate exciting ice navigation. This region of Antarctica is rich in history. The early Swedish explorer – Otto Nordenskjold and companions spent several years here in a remarkable yet little-known tale of survival. Just over a decade later, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the survival of his crew from the Imperial Trans- Antarctic Expedition (HMS Endurance), 1914-17, grabbed the imagination of the entire world. To this day, Shackleton’s journey remains one of the great tales of polar exploration and survival. Along with the Danger Islands, the region is home to a number of other sizable penguin rookeries at locations which include Paulet Island and Gourdin Island. Nearby Vega Island is home to some of the most fascinating palaeontology found in all of Antarctica. Fossils here tell the story of Gondwanaland, of giant penguins and other dinosaur species and early plant life on Earth. Brown Bluff and d’Urville Monument are other landing possibilities in the area.

Approaching the South Shetland Islands as we navigate south, we may aim for a shore landing at Half Moon Island – home to a boisterous colony of nesting chin strap penguins. A short hike brings us to elephant seal haul out. These are fascinating animals to observe as the naturalist guides explain the unique family dynamics and behaviour. There are several other nearby locations, including Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point which we may choose as alternative landing sites. A thrill for many will be sailing the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. At Whalers Bay, the remains of a rusting old whaling station provide a glimpse into history. There are a couple of excellent hiking routes here – one up to a high point overlooking the entire bay. Another to the far end of the black sand beach where an old aircraft hangar can be viewed. It’s from here, the very first flight in Antarctica took to the air.

Places such as Cierva Cove or Mikkelson Harbour allow for some great excursions on shore and in the Zodiacs and it’s a good place to look for leopard seals on the icefloes. The remote Spert Islands provide a fascinating lesson in geology. The island group is criss-crossed by narrow channels and coves and cruising in the Zodiacs or sea kayaking here is a real thrill. Seabirds nest on the cliffs above, while seals can be found resting along the shoreline. We enter the maze of islands and waterways along the Antarctic Peninsula and enjoying shore landings, Zodiac cruises and kayak excursions several times per day. Ship cruising into the Errera Channel, we have a couple of great landing sites to consider including Cuverville Island – with its sizeable gentoo penguin rookery. Neko Harbour is another possibility for a landing. A very active glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and it is common to observe large slabs of ice calving from the glacier face into the dark waters.

As we make our way back to South America, the educational presentations continue, and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.

(FRIDAY, 17 JANUARY, 2020)

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.

Pricing and Inclusions
Pricing and inclusions

    << EARLYBIRD PRICES >> Buy by 15 November 2018*

     

    CABIN TYPEPER PERSON
    Triple Share$20,890
    Twin Private$25,290
    Superior$26,690
    Superior Plus$27,090
    Shackleton Suite$28,490
    One Ocean Suite$29,690

    * USD$800 discount included in the price.

    • Everyone who has travel with One Ocean Expeditions is a One Club Member, and entitled to this program and all its benefits
      (Up to 30% discount + Cabin upgrade)
    • Single travellers can choose to share with another traveller (matched based on gender and age) and pay the above prices.
      Sole use of a cabin has a 50% surcharge, and 100% for Suites.

    INCLUSIONS

    • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
    • Transfers to the ship on embarkation day and from the ship to the airport on disembarkation
    • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
    • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge plus in-cabin tea and coffee making facilities
    • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
    • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
    • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
    • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty and science stations
    • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (i.e. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc). Onboard or on shore
    • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads, fi le back up and management
    • An emergency trained medical physician onboard every voyage
    • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
    • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness centre including massage options (charge applies for massage and treatments)
    • Sea Kayaking programme available (additional charge of US$795pp) – must be reserved at the time of booking your voyage and you must have some prior paddling experience
    • Access to well-stocked library full of polar reference books
    • End of voyage video, photos and take-home USB
    • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas

     

    NOT INCLUDED

    • Any international or local airfare unless otherwise specifi ed in the voyage itinerary
    • Visa and passport expenses
    • Pre or post-cruise hotel accommodation unless otherwise specifi ed in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
    • Pre or post-cruise transfers unless otherwise specifi ed in the itinerary (or pre-arranged)
    • Personal expenses on board such as alcoholic beverages, bar charges or laundry expenses
    • Telecommunication charges (i.e. email, satellite phone)
    • Baggage, cancellation or medical travel insurance related expenses (travel insurance is mandatory on all voyages)
    • A voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and ship crew (suggested amount – US$15-20 per day)
TRAVELLER’S TALES
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