Antarctic Explorer: Weddell Sea & the Falkland Islands | Mountain Travel Sobek

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Antarctic Explorer: Weddell Sea & the Falkland Islands

Trip Length 12 days

From $12,095

  • Get the best of both worlds as you fly to Antarctica and cruise back via the Weddell Sea and the Falkland Islands
  • Encounter incredibly diverse wildlife, including elephant seals, skuas, albatrosses, whales, and five penguin species!
  • Follow in the footsteps of Nordenskjöld and Shackleton and see the remains of century-old refuge huts from the days of the great explorers

Get a head start on your Antarctic adventure by flying from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island in Antarctica! From there, this adventurous itinerary explores the bays and coves of the Antarctic Peninsula before rounding the northern tip to journey south into the iceberg filled Weddell Sea. Here you’ll encounter amazing wildlife, including Adelie penguins, Weddell and elephant seals, and skuas, and see huge tabular icebergs that make for spectacular photographs. Weather permitting, the ship will venture as far south as Snow Hill Island, home to a known emperor penguin colony and century-old refuge huts built during the time of the Swedish Nordenskjöld expedition of 1901–1904. The history of exploration in this region also includes the epic story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance, and you'll have the opportunity to visit Elephant Island, where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats. Charting a northerly course to the Falkland Islands, you'll spend a final day exploring the stunning western archipelago. The wildlife-rich Saunders Island and West Point Island are home to many penguin species and an incredible colony of black browed albatross. This remarkable Antarctic adventure has it all!

Press Play—View Our Antarctica Fly-in Video

Day 1: Fly from Punta Arenas to King George Island

NOTE: You must arrive in Punta Arenas on the day prior to Day 1.

Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central meeting point and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica! (This charter flight is included in the price of your voyage.) Upon arrival at Frei Station, a Chilean Antarctic base on King George Island, we embark our polar expedition ship via Zodiac boat. After settling in to our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner. Everyone on board will be looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Days 2-3: Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula

Overnight we have navigated across the Bransfield Strait and we awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before us. For the next three days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, we cruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. To the south lies Petermann Island, home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and Gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an active research base nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change science occurring in Antarctica. There’s a fantastic walk on a nearby island and we can make a full traverse across a snowy knoll from one side of the island to the other. The old British Antarctic Survey hut of Wordie House, begs for further investigation.

Returning north, we pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton and may attempt a second transit of the Lemaire Channel. The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline feature heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Our activity program is in full swing by now, and each day we enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and Zodiac cruising among the ice with our expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favourite location and one where we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Day 4: South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

We are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope to make a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditions permit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures. Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ - high up onto the rim of the crater. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Days 5-7: Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea

At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, the Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As we sail into the sound we witness, for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. It is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far.

The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries we have visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. We have enjoyed successful sightings of emperor penguins in this area in recent years. Based on the size and plumage, our naturalists believe them to be juveniles out exploring and fishing – and possible residents of the known emperor colony on the southern side of Snow Hill Island.

The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after their ship had been lost in the ice months earlier. As we head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship will make some of us pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years before us.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Day 8: Elephant Island

We approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive macaroni penguin colony. Gentoo penguins are also known to nest here and there are often sizeable numbers of Antarctic fur seals hauled out on the beaches. Shore landings at the fabled Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island, where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, are notoriously difficult due to the surging ocean currents and pounding surf on the rocky beach. If conditions are right, we will attempt a landing. This is a thrilling location and a major highlight for history buffs.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Days 9-10: At Sea

While sailing across to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap our Weddell Sea adventures and prepare us for the days ahead. Much of our time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Our onboard educational program continues and our experts entertain us with interactive presentations.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Day 11: West Point & Saunders, Falkland Islands

Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falklands archipelago. West Point is known for its sizeable rookeries of rockhopper penguins and nesting black browed albatross. While nearby Saunders Island, with its white sand beaches, features no less than four penguin species including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper - and our ultimate goal for the Falkland Island visit, the impressive king penguin.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Day 12: Depart from Port Stanley and fly to Punta Arenas

In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into the harbor of Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland islands. 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). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise enjoy a night in this delightful city, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

  • Breakfast

Jan 09 - 20, 2018 waitlist only

Jan 23, 2018 - Feb 03, 2018 waitlist only

Jan 30, 2018 - Feb 10, 2018 waitlist only

Jan 22, 2019 - Feb 02, 2019

pricing

December 2017 - February 2018 voyages are sold out
Call for waitlist, or availability due to last minute cancellations

December 2018 - February 2019 Pricing   (per person, in US$)
PROMOTIONAL DISCOUNT of $1,000 pp when reserved by Dec 31!

$12,095 - Triple Cabin, Shared Bathroom
$14,295 - Twin Cabin, Semi-Private Bathroom
$15,995 - Twin Cabin, Private Bathroom
$16,895 - Superior Cabin |  $18,695 - Shackleton Suite |  $20,295 - One Ocean Suite
__________________________________

• A 20% non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your space at the time of booking

• Sea Kayaking Option is $795 pp (space is limited -- must be reserved at time of booking)

• Single supplement is 1.5 times the Twin cabin prices or 2 times the Suite prices. (Singles cannot take over a Triple cabin.) If you are willing to share with a roommate of the same gender, we will waive the single supplement fee.

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Polar Expedition Ship

The sister ships Akademik Sergey Vavilov (92 passengers) and Akademik Ioffe (96 passengers) are modern and comfortable. Scandinavian-built for the Russian Academy of Science, these sister ships were designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. The ships are maneuverable and yet exceptionally stable, due to external stabilizers and a built-in trimming system. They feature an ice-strengthened hull (Lloyds Register 1A, Canadian Type B), and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. These expedition ships are designed for polar adventure trips in Antarctica and the Arctic.

From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, the public spaces are ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library, provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.

The ship’s bridge is open to passengers virtually 24-hours a day. The chart room is a fascinating place to visit and expedition staff or ship’s crew are often available to answer questions about the equipment and instruments found on the bridge. In addition, the bridge is an excellent place to view wildlife from. Binoculars and wildlife identification guidebooks are available.

Amenities

One dining room with unreserved seating. 
Theatre-style presentation room. 
Lounge and bar, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits. 
Library with a collection of polar-themed books. 
Ship-to-shore communications via satellite. 
Clinic with licensed doctor. 
Gym, sauna and swimming pool. 
Elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level.

  • Get the best of both worlds as you fly to Antarctica and cruise back via the Weddell Sea and the Falkland Islands
  • Encounter incredibly diverse wildlife, including elephant seals, skuas, albatrosses, whales, and five penguin species!
  • Follow in the footsteps of Nordenskjöld and Shackleton and see the remains of century-old refuge huts from the days of the great explorers

Get a head start on your Antarctic adventure by flying from Punta Arenas, Chile to King George Island in Antarctica! From there, this adventurous itinerary explores the bays and coves of the Antarctic Peninsula before rounding the northern tip to journey south into the iceberg filled Weddell Sea. Here you’ll encounter amazing wildlife, including Adelie penguins, Weddell and elephant seals, and skuas, and see huge tabular icebergs that make for spectacular photographs. Weather permitting, the ship will venture as far south as Snow Hill Island, home to a known emperor penguin colony and century-old refuge huts built during the time of the Swedish Nordenskjöld expedition of 1901–1904. The history of exploration in this region also includes the epic story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance, and you'll have the opportunity to visit Elephant Island, where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats. Charting a northerly course to the Falkland Islands, you'll spend a final day exploring the stunning western archipelago. The wildlife-rich Saunders Island and West Point Island are home to many penguin species and an incredible colony of black browed albatross. This remarkable Antarctic adventure has it all!

Press Play—View Our Antarctica Fly-in Video

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Fly from Punta Arenas to King George Island

NOTE: You must arrive in Punta Arenas on the day prior to Day 1.

Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean port city of Punta Arenas. We gather at a central meeting point and transfer to the airport for the two-hour flight across the Drake Passage to Antarctica! (This charter flight is included in the price of your voyage.) Upon arrival at Frei Station, a Chilean Antarctic base on King George Island, we embark our polar expedition ship via Zodiac boat. After settling in to our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail and dinner. Everyone on board will be looking forward to the incredible adventure ahead.

  • Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Days 2-3: Gerlache Strait and Antarctic Peninsula

Overnight we have navigated across the Bransfield Strait and we awake to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent laid out before us. For the next three days we have a varied itinerary exploring the Gerlache coastline. If ice conditions allow, we cruise through the Lemaire Channel and visit sites which may include Pleneau Island and the Penola Strait. To the south lies Petermann Island, home to a sizeable penguin rookery where both Adelie and Gentoo penguins nest side by side. A visit to an active research base nearby provides a fascinating insight into the important climate change science occurring in Antarctica. There’s a fantastic walk on a nearby island and we can make a full traverse across a snowy knoll from one side of the island to the other. The old British Antarctic Survey hut of Wordie House, begs for further investigation.

Returning north, we pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton and may attempt a second transit of the Lemaire Channel. The landscape all along this section of the Antarctic coastline feature heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow. Our activity program is in full swing by now, and each day we enjoy guided walks on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and Zodiac cruising among the ice with our expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Planned visits could include Paradise Harbour, Orne Harbour or Andvord Bay, or a cruise through the Errera Channel to visit the penguin rookeries at Cuverville Island. Wilhelmina Bay is another favourite location and one where we frequently encounter pods of humpback whales.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Day 4: South Shetland Islands, Antarctica

We are now heading north towards Antarctic Sound – the gateway into the icy Weddell Sea. Along the way we hope to make a planned visit at Deception Island. If weather conditions permit, we sail the ship right into the middle of a volcanic caldera. This is a very dramatic place and home to several penguin rookeries along the black sand beaches. History is all around us as we explore the old whaling station, with the rusted relics and dilapidated wooden structures. Fur seals gather among the old structures seeking protection from the elements. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928. There is an outstanding hike here to a location known as ‘Neptune’s Window’ - high up onto the rim of the crater. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Days 5-7: Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea

At about 25 nautical miles long and about 10 nautical miles wide, the Antarctic Sound separates Joinville Island from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. As we sail into the sound we witness, for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. It is an awe-inspiring sight. Heading into the Weddell Sea we notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs and the presence of sea ice. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south and drift north on the currents. This always makes for exciting navigation – and stunning photographic opportunities in the soft Antarctic twilight. This is wild and remote Antarctica and has a distinctly different feel from locations visited thus far.

The Weddell Sea region is home to Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries we have visited so far. Weather permitting, excursions may include Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. All eyes will be trained on the ice floes through which we navigate the ship. We have enjoyed successful sightings of emperor penguins in this area in recent years. Based on the size and plumage, our naturalists believe them to be juveniles out exploring and fishing – and possible residents of the known emperor colony on the southern side of Snow Hill Island.

The history of exploration in this region is incredibly rich. Remnants of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations in this area. The epic century-old story of Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition has strong links to the region. It was here that he and his men drifted north on the ice after their ship had been lost in the ice months earlier. As we head north and out of the Weddell Sea, the lavender pink sunset off the port quarter of the ship will make some of us pause to consider the bravery (or foolhardiness) of those early explorers who traveled these waters a hundred years before us.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Day 8: Elephant Island

We approach Elephant Island from the south. Point Lookout, on the southern tip of the island, is home to an impressive macaroni penguin colony. Gentoo penguins are also known to nest here and there are often sizeable numbers of Antarctic fur seals hauled out on the beaches. Shore landings at the fabled Point Wild on the north coast of Elephant Island, where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned life boats, are notoriously difficult due to the surging ocean currents and pounding surf on the rocky beach. If conditions are right, we will attempt a landing. This is a thrilling location and a major highlight for history buffs.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Days 9-10: At Sea

While sailing across to the Falkland Islands our onboard polar experts will recap our Weddell Sea adventures and prepare us for the days ahead. Much of our time is spent scanning the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. The spectacular seabirds including several albatross and petrel species are our constant companions as they soar above the ship. Our onboard educational program continues and our experts entertain us with interactive presentations.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Day 11: West Point & Saunders, Falkland Islands

Arriving into the Falkland Islands overnight, we explore the islands of West Point and Saunders, both in the West Falklands archipelago. West Point is known for its sizeable rookeries of rockhopper penguins and nesting black browed albatross. While nearby Saunders Island, with its white sand beaches, features no less than four penguin species including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper - and our ultimate goal for the Falkland Island visit, the impressive king penguin.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodation:Polar Expedition Ship

Day 12: Depart from Port Stanley and fly to Punta Arenas

In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into the harbor of Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland islands. 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). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise enjoy a night in this delightful city, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.

  • Breakfast
lodgings

Polar Expedition Ship

The sister ships Akademik Sergey Vavilov (92 passengers) and Akademik Ioffe (96 passengers) are modern and comfortable. Scandinavian-built for the Russian Academy of Science, these sister ships were designed to travel quietly during hydro-acoustic research. The ships are maneuverable and yet exceptionally stable, due to external stabilizers and a built-in trimming system. They feature an ice-strengthened hull (Lloyds Register 1A, Canadian Type B), and a cruising speed in open water of 14.5 knots. These expedition ships are designed for polar adventure trips in Antarctica and the Arctic.

From small group sessions to briefings for all passengers, the public spaces are ideally suited for each and every need. A separate bar and lounge, as well as a library, provide ideal places to relax or catch up on some reading. A selection of movies and documentaries can also be watched in the lounge.

The ship’s bridge is open to passengers virtually 24-hours a day. The chart room is a fascinating place to visit and expedition staff or ship’s crew are often available to answer questions about the equipment and instruments found on the bridge. In addition, the bridge is an excellent place to view wildlife from. Binoculars and wildlife identification guidebooks are available.

Amenities

One dining room with unreserved seating. 
Theatre-style presentation room. 
Lounge and bar, open late afternoon and evening with a wide selection of wines and spirits. 
Library with a collection of polar-themed books. 
Ship-to-shore communications via satellite. 
Clinic with licensed doctor. 
Gym, sauna and swimming pool. 
Elevator between passenger deck levels and to the Bridge level.

Dates and Pricing

Jan 09 - 20, 2018 waitlist only

Jan 23, 2018 - Feb 03, 2018 waitlist only

Jan 30, 2018 - Feb 10, 2018 waitlist only

Jan 22, 2019 - Feb 02, 2019

pricing

December 2017 - February 2018 voyages are sold out
Call for waitlist, or availability due to last minute cancellations

December 2018 - February 2019 Pricing   (per person, in US$)
PROMOTIONAL DISCOUNT of $1,000 pp when reserved by Dec 31!

$12,095 - Triple Cabin, Shared Bathroom
$14,295 - Twin Cabin, Semi-Private Bathroom
$15,995 - Twin Cabin, Private Bathroom
$16,895 - Superior Cabin |  $18,695 - Shackleton Suite |  $20,295 - One Ocean Suite
__________________________________

• A 20% non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your space at the time of booking

• Sea Kayaking Option is $795 pp (space is limited -- must be reserved at time of booking)

• Single supplement is 1.5 times the Twin cabin prices or 2 times the Suite prices. (Singles cannot take over a Triple cabin.) If you are willing to share with a roommate of the same gender, we will waive the single supplement fee.

Activity Level Easy
Trip Length 12 days

From $12,095

Interested in this adventure? Take the next step and book it!

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Call us at 1-888-831-7526
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