Day 1 — Ushuaia, Argentina
Embark Silver Explorer and meet some of your fellow explorers as you become acquainted with the luxurious amenities found on board. A mandatory safety drill will take place before you set sail. During the afternoon you will be introduced to your Expedition Team and important members of the crew. At sail-away enjoy the mountain-lined shoreline of the Beagle Channel while you leave Ushuaia and bid farewell to Tierra del Fuego, the Land at the End of the World.
Day 2 — At Sea
The Expedition Team’s expert lecturers will present ornithological and historical insights into the Falkland Islands, our first destination. You might hear about the early European explorers and the different attempts at settling the Falkland Islands/Malvinas. Get introduced to the specific birdlife we expect to see during our stay by our onboard Ornithologist.
Tonight, you are invited to attend a special Welcome Aboard cocktail party hosted by the Captain, who will introduce his senior officers.
Day 3 — West Point Island and Saunders Island, Falkland Islands
Watch for Peale’s dolphins and the distinctive black and white markings of the Commerson’s dolphin as Silver Explorer approaches West Point Island in the remote Falkland Islands/Malvinas. Walk across rolling moorland to reach colonies of Black-browed Albatrosses that nest side-by-side with Rockhopper Penguins. Learn about the island’s unique vegetation. The hospitable island owners are always happy to answer your questions and share their stories.
During lunch Silver Explorer will reposition to Saunders Island, the second-largest of the offshore islands. Apart from its historical importance –this is where the first British settlement was located- Saunders’ wildlife is quite varied. Depending on the weather conditions we will attempt a landing at the Neck, to see several penguin species, as well as other seabirds and land birds. Gentoo Penguins and King Penguins reside in the open dune and sand flat area, while Rockhopper Penguins, Imperial Shags and Black-browed Albatrosses frequent Mount Richards. Other key bird species are the Black–throated Finch, Ruddy-headed Goose and Falkland Steamer Duck.
Day 4 — Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital of the remote Falkland Islands, and has a distinct British ambience.
You can join a classic ‘City Highlights’ tour which covers Stanley and surrounding environs. This excursion passes by older and newer portions of Stanley, stopping at the local harbor for small boats, both in current operations as well as half sunken hulks from 100 years ago -some of which are now being used as docks. Additional stops will be the shipwreck of the Lady Elizabeth, the peat cutting area, an outdoor whale bone display, war memorials and the museum.
Stroll through the charming streets of this colourful little town, lined with quaint cottages and a variety of traditional pubs, and visit the 19th-century Anglican cathedral. Some lingering reminders of the 1982 Falklands War between Britain and Argentina may still be seen though the island has settled back to its quiet business of raising sheep.
Days 5–6 — At Sea
Binoculars and camera in hand, head out on deck to watch for seabirds and marine mammals. Gather in The Theatre to perhaps hear about Captain Cook’s first visit to South Georgia or to learn about the region’s endemic wildlife and remarkable nature. Our knowledgeable onboard experts will present lectures and seminars in a variety of scientific fields. Other onboard diversions may include photography workshops, spa treatments, a workout in the Fitness Centre, and, of course, exquisite dining experiences.
Days 7–9 — 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 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:
-Enjoy 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 sunning on the beaches.
-Grytviken is a historic whaling station. You can still see the remains of the activity, including rusted hulls of long abandoned whaling and sealing ships, and some of the working-areas.
-In the museum guests can learn about past whaling techniques and view various exhibits on exploration and discovery.
-At the burial site of famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton we will toast the great explorer and his many accomplishments. The remains of his faithful companion Frank Wild have been brought here too.
-Salisbury Plain is a favourite breeding ground for hundreds of thousands of King Penguins. It is amazing to see how they completely cover the beaches and hills.
Days 10–11 — At Sea
Participate in onboard activities, listen to some of the lectures given, relax in one of the lounges, or peruse an array of titles and topics in the well-stocked Library. Take a stroll on deck and enjoy the solitude and splendour of the vast sea and sky. During the cruise towards the Antarctic Peninsula we might see some of the giant tabular icebergs coming from the Weddell Sea.
Day 12 — Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands
Awesome glaciers greet us as we approach Elephant Island – so named for its former abundance of elephant seals. In 1916, when Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, the crew was stranded here for 137 days. Elephant Island is home to several Chinstrap Penguin rookeries, as well as old moss colonies. Weddell seals and Macaroni Penguins can also be found on the spit of land Shackleton’s men named Point Wild. A solitary statue can be seen there, honouring the Chilean pilot Luis Pardo, who took the cutter Yelcho across the Drake Passage to rescue Shackleton’s men.
Days 13–16 — Antarctic Peninsula
While sailing along the Antarctic Peninsula’ white wilderness, every turn can reveal a new and breathtaking adventure. Remote and otherworldly, Antarctica is irresistible for its spectacular icebergs and calving glaciers, and for the possibility of up-close encounters with marine mammals. Watch for seals sunbathing on slow-moving ice floes and for humpback, Minke, and orca whales to surface from below the frigid waters. Each day we will attempt Zodiac departures, and, if conditions permit, we will cruise amidst colourful icebergs or step ashore to visit a variety of penguin rookeries and perhaps scientific research stations led by our team of natural history experts.
Having spent Christmas in South Georgia, we will have New Year’s Eve and New Year in this spectacular wilderness- surely events that you will not forget. A flexible itinerary allows 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 (mainland Antarctica)
-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 this as a breeding area.
-As you explore the area, a Weddell seal may be seen basking in the sunlight.
-Wait long enough and you might see the Adelie Penguins standing along the shore, finally making their way into the surf.
Cuverville Island, Errera Channel
-Large, bare rock areas provide nesting sites for Gentoo Penguins.
-Snow Petrels and Cape Petrels may be seen, and Wilson’s Storm Petrels nest in the higher scree of the island.
-During Zodiac tours, we hope to see hauled-out Weddell and leopard seals
-Conditions permitting, we will attempt to hike to the top of the island for some spectacular panoramic views
Paradise Bay (Antarctic Peninsula)
-The bay is well named for its spectacular scenery of mountains, glaciers and icebergs.
-From the ship, observe Argentina’s “Base Almirante Brown”, one of many Antarctic research stations.
-View the wildlife from sea level while cruising in our Zodiacs. There is a good chance you will come across a crabeater seal relaxing on a nearby ice floe. Blue-eyed Shags nest in the cliffs close to Almirante Brown, while Brown Skuas like to be around the Base. Minke whales frequent the area.
Port Lockroy, Goudier Island
-The British built a listening station here during WWII, which was then used as a research station in the 1950s and since 1996 as a museum and gift shop.
-Snowy Sheathbills and Gentoo Penguins nest and roam outside the museum.
-Because of the penguin colony leopard seals are quite often found in the vicinity.
-The island is home to 80-90 thousand Adelies that come here to breed.
-Kelp Gulls and Snowy Sheathbills are amongst the birds that breed on Paulet Island as well as a massive colony of Blue-eyed Shags.
-The crew of Otto Nordenskjold’s relief ship Antarctica had to over-winter on the island in 1903. Remnants of their hut still remain.
Port Foster, Whalers Bay (Deception Island)
-Deception Island is an excellent example of a caldera where it is believed that the volcano’s summit collapsed with one section sinking far enough to allow the sea to flood the interior. We plan to sail inside this breached wall through a narrow entrance called Neptune’s Bellows.
-Our resident Geologist will take the opportunity to explain the unique volcanic features of the area, while our Historian might introduce you to the whaling history of Deception Island.
-The British base’s Biscoe House was destroyed by a mudflow after a volcanic eruption in the late 1960s but can still clearly be seen.
-Depending on weather conditions several hikes to viewpoints might be offered.
Days 17–18 — Drake Passage
The Drake Passage has a notorious reputation for its turbulent seas due to strong westerly winds and the currents pushed through the ‘narrow’ gap between South American and the Antarctic Peninsula. 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 Black-browed Albatross, Sooty Shearwaters, and White-chinned Petrels. Take this opportunity to attend additional presentations offered by the Expedition Team lecturers and to swap photos with new friends as we travel towards Ushuaia.
Day 19 — Ushuaia, Argentina
After breakfast, disembark Silver Explorer.
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.
Not sure what to wear while onboard? Visit our shop and gear up. We've got layers to keep you dry and warm, breezy wear to keep you covered and cool, and accessories to keep everything packed up and ready to go. So, no matter the weather, you'll be better prepared for your expedition.
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