- See snow-covered mountains and mighty glaciers
- Encounter Magellanic, Rockhopper, Gentoo, Macaroni, King, and African Penguins
- Watch for sea lions, seals, dolphins, and whales
- Identify seabirds including rare albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels and look for South Georgia Pipits and Pintail Ducks
- Visit the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world
Silver Cloud will have kayaks onboard that will allow small groups to explore South Georgia in a unique way –accompanied and supervised by certified kayak instructors. These kayak excursions have limited space; they require a certain level of fitness and will also depend on local conditions for safe operation.
Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
Embark Silver Cloud and meet some of your fellow travellers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. After settling in a mandatory safety drill will have to be attended. Later your Expedition Leader will introduce some of the important crew members and your Expedition Team. While we sail out of Ushuaia you will be able to see the many snow-covered mountains lining the Beagle Channel and bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego. Enjoy the spectacular scenery while we have our sail away cocktail on the open decks.
Day 2 — At Sea
Gather in the Theatre Lounge to hear fascinating tales of adventure and to learn about the Falkland Islands’ endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Our knowledgeable Lecture Staff members are experts in a variety of scientific fields. Other onboard diversions include Spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
Day 3 — Steeple Jason Island, Falkland Islands
West Point Island, Falkland Islands
Steeple Jason was used for sheep-grazing until the 1980s, but never properly inhabited; therefore birdlife has been less disturbed and includes Southern Rockhopper, Magellanic, and Gentoo Penguins, Slender-billed Prions, caracaras and Blackish Cinclodes (known locally as Tussac-Birds), as well as Black-browed Albatrosses. Roughly 70% of the world’s population of Black-browed Albatrosses is said the breed on the Falkland Islands and Steeple Jason has the largest colony. Sea lions and fur seals can be seen along the shore.
In the afternoon, watch for Peale’s dolphins and the distinctive black and white markings of the Commerson’s dolphin as the Silver Cloud approaches West Point Island. Upon arrival, photographic opportunities are everywhere as you walk across rolling moorland and admire a colony of Black-browed Albatrosses nesting side-by-side with Rockhopper Penguins.
The hospitable island owners are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.
Day 4 — Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley has a distinct British ambience and we begin our day in the capital city of the remote Falkland Islands by boarding a local bus for a ‘city tour’ with a local guide. You can also stroll through the charming streets of this colourful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs. Visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral (the southernmost Anglican cathedral in the world) and wander through the Falkland Islands Dockyard Museum. For stamp collectors a visit to the Philatelic Bureau is a must. Walking along Ross Road you will come to a monument to honour the victims of the 1982 Falklands conflict between Britain and Argentina.
Days 5–6 — At Sea
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and whales. Attend informative lectures that will prepare you for the upcoming visits in South Georgia and the adventures that lie ahead. Peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library, enjoy the finest cigars and cognacs at the Connoisseur’s Corner or indulge in any of the other special amenities offered aboard Silver Cloud.
Days 6–10 — South Georgia
This breathtaking destination of towering snow-covered mountains, mighty glaciers, and low-lying grasslands attracts an astounding concentration of wildlife: Southern fur seals, Southern elephant seals and a variety of albatross species including Black-browed, Light-mantled Sooty, Grey-headed and the spectacular Wandering Albatross, plus thousands of King and hundreds of Macaroni Penguins.
South Georgia is also linked to the early Antarctic explorers. Captain James Cook first stepped ashore in 1775, but perhaps more famous is Ernest Shackleton’s arrival in 1916 following the sinking of his ship Endurance. Visit the graves of Shackleton and Frank Wild and the whaling museum at Grytviken.
Here are some of the places we may visit:
- Go on a Zodiac cruise to see Macaroni and Chinstrap Penguins on the rocks and in the water.
- A large King Penguin colony can be found near Bertrab Glacier.
- Seals can be seen resting and sunning on the beaches.
- A historic whaling station, all that remains today are the rusted hulls of long abandoned sealing and whaling ships and working sheds.
- At the South Georgia Museum guests can learn about past whaling techniques and view various exhibits on exploration and discovery.
- See the burial site of the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
- A favourite breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of King Penguins; it is amazing to see how they completely cover the beaches and hills.
- In early March, the seal pups will be quite active and aggressive.
Days 11–13 — At Sea
As we cross the South Atlantic, leisurely days at sea are yours to enjoy. Participate in discussions and onboard activities led by the Expedition Team, relax in one of the lounges with that book you have been meaning to read, and meet up with new friends for cocktails. Before turning in for the night, take a stroll on deck to take in the solitude of the vast sea and sky.
Day 14 — Gough Island, UK (Subject to government approval)
A dependency of Tristan da Cunha and part of the British overseas territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, Gough Island was originally known as Gonçalo Álvares (the captain of Vasco da Gama’s flagship). The volcanic island covers an area of 91 km² and is uninhabited except for the personnel of a South African weather station on its southeastern side. It is one of the most remote places with a constant human presence.
Gough Island is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Gough and Inaccessible Islands, a protected wildlife reserve and an “Important Bird Area”. If conditions allow we will offer a Zodiac cruise and look for Tristan Albatross, Atlantic Petrel, Gough Moorhen, Gough Bunting, and Northern Rockhopper Penguins -some of the many birds using this mid-Atlantic island as their nesting ground.
Day 15 — Tristan da Cunha, UK
Recognised as the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, its closest neighbouring landmass is the island of St. Helena some 2,430 km away. The main island is home to 301 hardy residents (census March 2016).
Weather and landing depending, we hope to enjoy guided walks with the local inhabitants of Edinburgh of the Seven Seas, the main village on the island’s north coast, while our onboard Geologist will lead a walk to the 1961 volcanic cone and lava flow. Learn how the islanders were evacuated and how it affected their lives. Once at the top, we will have a beautiful scenic view of the whole settlement – a photo opportunity not to be missed. We will meet with some of the island children and hear what Tristan life is like through their eyes during our visit to St Mary’s School. Our onboard Ornithologist will point out birdlife, hopefully including the Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, Sooty Albatross, Tristan Thrush, and Tristan Wandering Albatross – a critically endangered species with fewer than 1,500 breeding pairs left in the world. The archipelago is also where 90% of the world’s Northern Rockhopper Penguins come to breed.
Day 16 — Nightingale Island, UK
Weather permitting; we hope to land on uninhabited Nightingale Island, a protected wildlife reserve and World Heritage Site. You will see the most magnificent wildlife, flora and fauna all unspoilt by people. All guests will receive a certificate verifying that they have indeed visited this extremely remote world destination.
Days 17–20 — At Sea
Enjoy a variety of onboard activities. The days at sea will be filled with educational lectures and interesting entertainment options. All accommodations feature an interactive television system allowing you to watch your choice of movies or documentary films and even recorded broadcasts from the Theatre Lounge in the comfort and privacy of your suite.
On the last day your onboard Videographer will screen the Voyage-DVD, letting you remember all those special moments during your voyage from cape to cape.
The Captain will invite you to his (your) Farewell Cocktail Party and the Chef and Restaurant Manager want to surprise you with the special Farewell Dinner.
Days 21–22 — Cape Town, South Africa
Arriving in the morning of Day 21 (27 March) you will be able to explore the natural wonders of Cape Town. You can choose to ascend Table Mountain by cable car and hike in the protected area, having a look at the many endemic plants and animals. Later you will travel by bus to Signal Hill for dramatic views over Table Bay and Cape Town. Or you can go on an excursion to see an African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach. The scenic drive to Boulders Beach will go along the Atlantic seaboard and later will continue through the prestigious suburbs of Bishopscourt and Constantia into the region where South Africa’s wine industry began over 3 centuries ago. At one of the local wine estates you will enjoy a formal wine tasting (paired with canapés).
In the evening you are free to enjoy the unique opportunity to explore the vibrant V & A Waterfront in Cape Town Harbour on your own.
Day 22 — Cape Town, South Africa
After breakfast on Thursday, 28 March, disembark Silver Cloud.