Antarctica  Falkland Islands – South Georgia – Antarctic Peninsula OTL21-16

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Tripcode: OTL21-16 | Duration: 19 Nights / 20 Days

Description:
All (sub-)Antarctic highlights in one voyage. Meet at least six penguin species during this Antarctic and South Atlantic expedition voyage

Day 1: In the afternoon we embark our vessel m/v Ortelius in Puerto Madryn
In the afternoon, we embark in Puerto Madryn and sail towards the Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo is world renowned for their visiting Southern Right whales and we have a good chance to see them as we head towards Open Ocean.

Day 2 – 3:
At sea, en-route to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
At Sea, the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.

Day 4: Arrival at the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). we plan a landing on the rarely visited Steeple Jason Island
We spend this day in the Western parts of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas). 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. In the afternoon, if the weather conditions are good, we plan a landing on the rarely visited Steeple Jason Island on which the largest Black-browed albatross colony in the world is located (app. 113.000). A true expedition landing. As an alternative, we would take a walk along the Coast of Carcass Island. Here we may encounter breeding Magellanic and Gentoo penguins, but also numerous waders and passerine birds are present.

Day 5: Port Stanley, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). Here we can see quite a number of stranded clippers from a century ago
In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm. In Stanley and the surrounding area we can see quite an important number of stranded clippers from a century ago. All passengers are free to wander around on their own. We recommend a visit to the local church and museum (admission fees not included).

Day 6 – 7: At sea on our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence
On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature may drop significantly in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence we will see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship; several species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Prions and Skuas.

Day 8 – 11: South Georgia! We might visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach
In the afternoon of day 8 we arrive at our first landing site in South Georgia. We may visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to possible landings at Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay and Drygalski Fjord to give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the Elephant seals, Fur seals, and King Penguins. One of the highlights might be our visit to Prion Island, where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their almost fledging chicks test their wings. Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour do not only house the three largest King penguin colonies in South Georgia but are also three of the largest breeding beaches for Southern Elephant seals in the world. Only at this time of the year they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the incredible spectacle of large 4 ton bull’s keep a constant vigil and occasionally fight over territories of dozens of females who have just given birth or are just about to deliver. The beaches are packed with Elephant seals! 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’ll see an abandoned whaling village, where King Penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. 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 11.

Day 12: At sea where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel
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.

Day 13: South Orkney Islands, where we plan a visit to Orcadas station
We are planning on a visit to Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.

Day 14: At sea towards Antarctica
At sea towards Antarctica

Day 15 – 17: Antarctic Peninsula! We plan to visit Brown Bluff where we may set foot on the Continent
If the ice permits 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 may visit Cierva Cove were we find ourselves in a world of icebergs well suited for an exploratory Zodiac cruise in search of fantastic photo opportunities. Crabeater seals and Leopard seals are often seen here and a small rookery of Chinstraps are found on a small island in the bay. The landscape is typical Antarctica with huge glaciated mountains all around. Mikkelson Harbour on the southern side of Trinity Island was discovered by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-04. Gentoo penguins nest on the island and Weddell seals often haul out on shore. We also find remains of the early 20th Century Whaling period and an Argentinean refuge hut. In Deception Island our ship braves into the entrance of the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring 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 Kelp 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. We leave from here and sail through the Shetland Islands attempting to land at Half Moon Island with a large Chinstrap penguin rookery and the usually non-occupied Argentinean Camara station. From here we head to the open sea with direction Ushuaia.

Day 18 – 19: At sea en-route to Ushuaia
On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.

Day 20: The end of our voyage. We disembark m/v Ortelius in the morning in Ushuaia
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark after breakfast