Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
Embark Silver Cloud, settle in and attend a mandatory safety drill before leaving port. During the afternoon you will be introduced to some of the important crew members and your Expedition Team. At sail away bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego and take the famous Beagle Channel heading for the South Atlantic.
Day 2 — At Sea
As we set sail on our initial transit, familiarise yourself with the elegant Silver Cloud and the Expedition Team members. Attend wildlife, geography and history discussions hosted by our expert naturalists and guest lecturers preparing you for the exciting adventures that lie ahead.
Day 3 — New Island and West Point Island, Falkland Islands/Malvinas
During the morning we will visit New Island, a wildlife and nature reserve. Our Zodiacs will take us ashore near the island’s small settlement at Coffin Harbour. From there we will hike across the island to reach the rocky cliffs and a rookery where Rockhopper Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags share the same nesting area. We will also observe Black-browed Albatross going about their daily routines and may even spot Upland Geese on our hike. During lunch, Silver Cloud will sail in a north-easterly direction to West Point Island. Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins with their distinctive markings can often be spotted as Silver Cloud approaches the island. Walking across rolling moorland and past gorse for slightly less than 2 miles, we will be observed by Grass Wrens, Long-tailed Meadowlarks, Falkland Thrushes, Striated Caracaras and Turkey Vultures, but our goal is to reach Devil’s Nose and colonies of Black-browed Albatross that nest side-by-side with Rockhopper Penguins. The winds at Devil’s Nose are usually so strong that the albatross only have to spread their wings to take off. Once back at the farm, the hospitable island owners will invite you to have tea, coffee and home-made cakes and cookies and are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.
Day 4 — Stanley, Falkland Islands/Malvinas
Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and –although Argentine authorities have repeatedly claimed the islands as part of their country- has a distinct British ambience. A reminder of the 1982 Falkland Conflict between Britain and Argentina is the War Memorial.
Opt to take a ‘city tour’ by bus with a local guide or 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.
Day 5 — Bleaker Island and Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands/Malvinas
Bleaker Island is privately owned, with sheep and Hereford cattle grazing on its extensive greens, yet it is also an excellent site for birding. The Bleaker Island Group is recognized as an Important Bird Area and its northern part is a National Nature Reserve. Landing at Sandy Bay, not too far from Ghost Island, you will see Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins. Several colonies of Southern Rockhopper Penguins breed at Long Gulch, and on the walk watch out for Crested and Striated Caracaras, Ruddy-headed Geese, Silvery and White-tufted Grebes, as well as Speckled and Silver Teal. While Rock Cormorants prefer Long Gulch, the Imperial Cormorant has its main colony in the centre of the island.
During lunch Silver Cloud will sail to Sea Lion Island. As the name suggests Sea Lion island was and is home to southern sea lions, but it also holds some 95% of the Falklands southern elephant seal population. Although the breeding season ends in November, yearlings and non-breeders come ashore in late November and can be seen until April. Because of the penguins and the seal populations and the deeply shelving coastline, this island is one of the best places in the Falkland Islands to see orcas (killer whales) –there are two resident pods. While riding a Zodiac ashore or back to the Silver Cloud, Commerson’s dolphins are likely to be seen. While ashore, Cobb’s Wren and Tussacbirds are easily found.
Day 6 — Drake Passage
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to the westerly winds and the funnelling effect of the passage. With modern navigational aids and stabilizers Silver Cloud will bring you safely across these southern waters.
Spend some time on deck watching the horizon and the variety of seabirds that glide in the air currents of our ship’s wake -such as the Wandering Albatross, Cape Petrels, White-chinned Petrels and Sooty Shearwaters.
Days 7–13 — Antarctic Peninsula
While sailing in Antarctica’s vast white wilderness, a flexible itinerary will allow us to take advantage of favourable sea and weather conditions. In the true spirit of expedition cruising, each day the Expedition Leader and Captain will determine our best course depending on weather, ice conditions and wildlife we may encounter. Here are some of the places we may visit:
-Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula (a 2,200-foot bluff on the Antarctic mainland)
Brown Bluff is an ice-capped, 745-metre-high, flat-topped mountain with a prominent cliff of reddish-brown volcanic rock. Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Kelp Gulls, and Cape Petrels use the base of Brown Bluff as a breeding area. Birds such as the all-white Snow Petrel and skuas may be seen from a distance. Weddell seals may be seen basking in the sunlight near the base of a glacier.
The sight of Adelie Penguins covering the entire island is quite amazing. The island is home to 80-90 thousand Adelies that come here to breed. On a nearby hill is a massive colony of Blue-eyed Shags. Kelp Gulls and Snowy Sheathbills are amongst the birds that also breed on Paulet Island, and Wilson’s Storm-petrels are regularly seen.
Members of a Swedish Antarctic expedition had to over-winter on the island in 1912 after their ship was ship-wrecked. Remnants of their hut still remain and you will have to walk past the hut on your way to the islands lake.
-Cuverville Island, Errera Channel
The island was discovered by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic expedition of 1897–99, and was named for a vice admiral in the French navy.
Large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins. Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels also may be seen, whilst Wilson’s Storm-petrels nest in the higher scree of the island.
The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs. The Silver Cloud will reach Argentina’s “Base Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations. Here, you will actually set foot on the mainland of Antarctica.
You can also view the wildlife from sea level while cruising in our Zodiacs. Apart from observing nesting shags in the cliffs there is a good chance to see crabeater seals relaxing on ice floes, and you might even locate Minke whales. -
Neko Harbour offers a visit to small penguin rookeries, a nice Zodiac cruise in search of whales and the possibility to hike onto a glacier for spectacular views of the glaciers, the bay and the ship. The common breeding birds are Gentoo Penguins, but Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls and skuas can be seen too. Seals are often hauled-out close to the landing site.
-Lemaire Channel (Between Booth Island and the Peninsula)
The Lemaire Channel (named by Adrien de Gerlache after a Belgian explorer who never came to Antarctica) was first crossed in 1898. The spectacular scenery of the steep snow-covered mountains and the tranquil waters in conjunction with the probability to see whales and seals will make this one of the most memorable places during the voyage.
-Port Lockroy, Goudier Island
The British built a listening station here during WWII, which was later used as a research station in the 1950s and since 1996 as a museum and gift shop and Post Office. While you are inside sending a postcard from this lonely outpost, Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins roam outside the museum.
-Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island)
Deception Island is an excellent example of a caldera that can be reached from the sea. We plan to sail inside the caldera through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows.
Our Geologist might take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area, while our Historian will introduce you to Deception Island’s interesting history -from whaling to scientific studies. Still visible on the island are the boilers used to make whale oil in the early 1900s.
Days 14–15 — Drake Passage Return
Navigating our return through the Drake Passage, we will watch for seabirds and wildlife we may have missed on the first leg down. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to edit the many photos taken as we travel towards Ushuaia.
Day 16 — Ushuaia, Argentina
After breakfast, disembark Silver Cloud.
Kayaking -Weather depending, Silver Cloud offers the opportunity to kayak in a small group under the guidance of certified kayak instructors. These special excursions are a chance to appreciate the wilds of Antarctica in peaceful silence.
Expedition highlights and wildlife listed here are possible experiences only and cannot be guaranteed. Your Expedition Leader and Captain will work together to ensure opportunities for adventure and exploration are the best possible, taking into account the prevailing weather, wildlife activity and ice conditions. Expedition Team members scheduled for this voyage are subject to change or cancellation.
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