Launch your adventure to the "last continent" with a flight straight into King George Island in Antarctica and board your expedition ship. Explore spectacular bays and coves of the Antarctic Peninsula by Zodiac boat en route to the Weddell Sea. Adelie penguins, Weddell and elephant seals, and skuas grace the waters, while huge tabular icebergs are the stunning backdrop. Finish this incredible voyage by making landfall on historic Elephant Island and exploring the Falkland Islands, home to many penguin species and an incredible colony of black-browed albatross.
Meet with your trip mates and transfer to the airport for a two-hour flight across the Drake Passage. Arrive at the Antarctic base Frei Station on King George Island, then set off on Zodiac to the expedition ship. Settle into your cabins, explore the ship, and meet the expedition leaders. Cap off day one with dinner and a cocktail.
Awaken to the towering peaks of the Antarctic continent as the real adventure begins. The next three days include a varied itinerary based on ever-changing Antarctic conditions. Explore the area with guided walks on shore, visits to penguin colonies, and Zodiac cruising among the ice with expert guides providing insight and interpretation. Visits to Paradise Harbour, Andvord Bay, or the Errera Channel are among many amazing opportunities. Wilhelmina Bay is another favorite location and one frequented by pods of humpback whales.
Continue exploring the scenic coastline with the ship as your basecamp and the Zodiacs as your transportation to get ashore. Diverse possibilities include a cruise through the Lemaire Channel, visits to Pleneau Island, the Penola Strait, and Petermann Island, where Adelie and Gentoo penguins nest. Cultural possibilities include visits to an active climate-change research base and an old British Antarctic Survey hut.
Returning north, pass the massive granite sentinels of Mount Scott and Mount Shackleton. Marvel at a landscape of heavily glaciated mountains permanently covered in ice and snow.
Weather permitting, have the opportunity to explore Deception Island. Sail into the middle of this dramatic volcanic caldera, where penguins gather on black sand beaches. Fur seals seek protection from the elements among the rusted relics and structures of an old whaling station. See the old aircraft hangar where an Australian explorer landed the very first flight into Antarctica. Take an active hike to 'Neptune's Window' - high up onto the rim of the crater. If the conditions are right, partake in the "polar plunge" in the thermal waters along the shore.
Journey towards the Antarctic Sound and into the icy Weddell Sea. For the first time, take in the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. Notice the significant increase in the number of awe-inspiring 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 earlier locations.
Watch the Weddell Sea unfurl with its Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering size, some containing more than 100,000 birds. Such colonies dwarf the rookeries of earlier excursions. Weather permitting, visit sites like Hope Bay, Paulet Island and Brown Bluff. Keep an eye on the ice floes as the ship navigates through them, and watch for majestic emperor penguins. Those spotted in previous years are believed to be residents of the nearby colony.
Discover the incredibly rich history of exploration in this area. Remnants of Nordenskjöld's Swedish expedition of 1901-1904 are found in several locations, and 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 ice months earlier. Enjoy gorgeous sunset views while musing on the bravery of these adventurers.
Approach Elephant Island from the south, spotting more species of penguins and fur seals hauled out on the beaches. Shore landings at Point Wild on the north coast are notoriously difficult due to surging ocean currents and pounding surf on the rocky beach. But if conditions allow, land at this thrilling location where Shackleton and his men were encamped under their upturned lifeboats. This site is a major highlight for history buffs.
While resting up on the comfortable expedition ship, take advantage of the onboard spa services and watch for wildlife from the deck of the ship. Enjoy interactive presentations and lectures from onboard polar experts who will recap the Weddell Sea adventures and will give insights into the days ahead.
As the journey continues, scan the horizon in search of whales and other marine mammals. Spectacular seabirds, including several albatross and petrel species, are constant companions as they soar above the ship. Attend a lecture by the onboard historian and take time to review your photographs with the onboard photography expert.
Arrive at the Falkland Islands overnight, then explore West Point and Saunders. West Point Island is known for its sizeable rookeries of rockhopper penguins and nesting black browed albatross. Nearby Saunders Island's white sand beaches hosts no less than four penguin species. Look for gentoo, magellanic, rockhopper, and the ultimate goal for the Falkland Island visit - the impressive king penguin.
Travel through the narrows in the early morning, then anchor in Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands. Transfer to the airport for a flight to Punta Arenas (flight is included in the trip cost). Continue on to Santiago the same evening or other Chilean cities. Otherwise, enjoy a night in this delightful city, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
MT Sobek's Polar Value Promise means that we offer in-house services to help plan and execute your polar adventure for no added cost.
We include emergency medical insurance and emergency evacuation coverage as a value-added benefit at no additional cost to you.
Over 30 years offering polar voyages we have built strong relationships with polar outfitters and ships that cruise the 7th continent.
Our expert guides and trip leaders are truly the key to our trips' success. Many are locals who live in-country year-round; others have made it their second home—all are passionate, enthusiastic and endlessly knowledgeable. Meet a few of the guides that might be on your trip.
Expert polar interpretation and presentations, professional navigation through Antarctic waters, and up-close wildlife experiences on shore and by Zodiac. Optional kayaking for a fee.
Stylish and well-appointed polar expedition ships offer a luxurious way to explore Antarctica.
Antarctica is unpredictable. There may be days of warm sunshine, but be prepared for wind, rain, and snow. Daytime temperatures are 20-32F.
You need to arrive in Punta Arenas on the day before the start of the trip. Hotel accommodation is not included that night, but we can help make necessary reservations.
The group flight arrives from Falkland Islands in the late afternoon of the final day. Plan your outbound flight from Punta Arenas in the evening or for the next day. Hotel not included.
The charter flight to King George Island is included in the trip cost. The flight from Falkland Islands to Punta Arenas is a commercial flight and also included.
Days 9 & 10 may have rough sea conditions while crossing the Drake Passage. Crossings can be rough, but usually tolerable. We recommend consulting your doctor or bringing seasickness medication.
Large variety of options at buffet breakfasts and lunches. Dinners include plated entrée choices (including vegetarian) appetizers, and desserts. Full-bar onboard payable with onboard account.
Yes, each guest will have use of a complimentary rental package including a quality waterproof/windproof jacket, bib-pants, and insulated rubber boots. Includes a pair of binoculars and a waterproof backpack.
Make any of our trips a custom adventure or start from scratch. Take two itineraries and match them up to create a unique third. Add extras and extensions and more...if you can imagine it, we can make it happen!
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