• Julie Whitehead

Project Antarctica

Price:          £13,135 / $17,075 per person (Single Price £22,360 / $29,070)

Duration:    21 Days from 21 November 2021

Highlights:  Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South                             Shetlands Islands, Planned observation from South Orkney Islands 

Includes:     See below Day 21 of itinerary for full details of all inclusions

Day 1 - Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital city and the home of Tango

Arrive in Buenos Aires and transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay

Day 2 - Fly to Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world and board the MV Ushuaia Transfer to the airport and join a flight to the small souther Argentine city of Ushuaia. This afternoon we board our expedition ship, the USHUAIA. A welcome drink and then an introduction to the crew and expedition staff will follow, and we will have time to get to know our new shipmates. The ship will then set sail towards the eastern Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

Day 3 - At sea en route to the Eastern Falkland Islands (Malvenas) The open bridge policy on the USHUAIA allows us to join the officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for marine life, and enjoy the views of the open ocean. These waters are also home to an interesting group of seabirds, which often ride the currents created in the wake of the ship, such as albatrosses and petrels. Join the expedition staff and naturalists on deck whilst we are at sea as we search for seabirds and other local wildlife, such as orcas and dolphins. An interesting selection of lectures will help us to prepare for our first excursions in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).

Day 4 - Explore the quaint little town of Stanley and set sail early afternoon to South Georgia In the morning hours we will have time to explore the quaint little town of Stanley and its wonderful Museum, souvenir shops and pubs. The town was established in the early 1840´s. Isolation and the weather conditions made life hard, but progress was gradual and punctuated by the extremely eventful times of involvement in two world wars. For those who are more interested in the outstanding wildlife the Islands have to offer, you do not even have to leave town to enjoy it. Southern Giant Petrels often fly close to the shoreline. The endemic Falkland Steamer Ducks abound on the shorelines while Kelp Gulls can often be seen flying together with Dolphin Gulls. The less obvious but frequent visitors to Stanley area are Black-crowned Night Herons, Red-backed Hawks and Peregrine Falcons. Turkey Vultures are regularly seen on top of any prominent building. Many pairs of Upland Geese frequent the park and it might be nice to take a stroll around the gardens of town to see some of the singing birds as well. In the early afternoon it is time to set sail, heading for South Georgia.

Days 5 and 6 - Expert naturalists share their knowledge of the wildlife and unique ecosystems whilst heading to South Georgia An extensive lecture program will be offered during the days at sea. Expert naturalists share their knowledge of the wildlife and unique ecosystems we will encounter throughout our voyage. South Georgia is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth with more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet.

Day 7 - Today South Georgia will come into sight! South Georgia will come in sight! Though extremely isolated, it has amazing scenery ranging from high mountains and mighty glaciers to deep fjords and low-lying grassland. If the weather is favourable, we would aim to visit one of the following sites in the late afternoon: Elsehul: Situated at the north-western extremity of South Georgia on the eastern side of the knife-edged summit ridges of Parydian Peninsula, Elsehul is a beautiful little harbour. It is the only visitor site on the island, where colonies of Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses can be viewed from zodiacs within the protection of sheltered inshore waters. Right Whale Bay: Right Whale Bay is a bay 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, entered between Craigie Point and Nameless Point along the north coast of South Georgia. The name dates back to at least 1922, when South Georgia was still a centre for commercial whaling. Today we hope to encounter a small colony of King Penguins, along with Giant Petrels, gulls and breeding elephant seals on the black ashen beach.

Days 8 to 11 - Explore South Georgia Our exact itinerary will depend on local land and sea conditions but the following destinations are among those that we would like to explore: Salisbury Plain: Sometimes called the “Serengeti of the South”, Salisbury Plain is a wildlife site without parallel. Several large glaciers provide a dramatic backdrop for the tens of thousands of King Penguins that nest in the tussac grass of this remarkable ecosystem. The wide beach makes for excellent walking as we visit the colony, where we are literally surrounded and delightfully outnumbered by throngs of curious, gentle penguins. Elephant and fur seals also abound, as well as Southern Giant Petrels and the occasional wandering Gentoo Penguin. Prepare for an awe-inspiring experience, as the elephant seals are giving birth on the beaches. Grytviken: Grytviken lies within King Edward Cove, a sheltered harbor tucked between Hope Point and Hobart Rock on the western shore of Cumberland East Bay. The rusting ruins of the Grytviken whaling station are situated on a level plain at the head of the cove, backed by steep hills and mountains. Now the site of the South Georgia Museum, the station remains a focal point of interest for many visitors, as does Sir Ernest Shackleton´s grave in the nearby whaler´s cemetery and his memorial cross on Hope Point. The scenery in this area is exceptionally beautiful even by South Georgia standards: the glaciers and snow covered peaks of the Allardyce Range – Mt. Sugartop, Mt. Paget, Mt. Roots, Nordenskjöld Peak, Mt. Kling and Mt. Brooker – form a magnificent backdrop to the cove, and the views from King Edward Point in particular, must be among the finest on earth. Godthul: Situated 9km east of Cumberland East Bay on the eastern shores of Barff Peninsula, Godthul is a 3km long inlet that lies between Cape George and Long Point. Gentoo Penguins are abundant on the tussac plateau and Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses echo off the natural cliff amphitheatre that encircles the harbour. A floating factory ship serviced by two whale catchers was stationed here each summer between 1908 and 1929. A small shore depot supporting the whaling operations was established close by the stream in the southeast corner of the harbour, and the rusting barrels, wooden shed and boats are fascinating relics of the whaling era, as is the impressive collection of whale and elephant seal bones scattered along the beach. St Andrews Bay: The surf beaten coastline at St. Andrews Bay runs north-south in a 1.86 mile (3 km) long uninterrupted sweep of fine dark sand, covered in penguins and seals and bounded in the interior by the Cook, Buxton and Heaney Glaciers. The bay hosts the biggest colony of King Penguins on South Georgia. Early in the season, the beach is also carpeted with fur and elephant seals. Such a large assemblage of wildlife attracts an entourage of persistent and voracious scavengers. Sheathbills dart in and around the penguin colony. Cape Petrels nest in a small number on the cliffs north of St. Andrews Bay. Leopard seals patrol the rocks at this end of the beach too, hunting for penguins along the edge of kelp beds. A few White-chinned Petrels and Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses nest on the tussac slopes. Brown Skuas and Antarctic Terns breed on the outwash plain and scree slopes at the north end of the beach, defending their nest sites with their characteristic noise and vigor. Cooper Bay: Cooper Bay is found at the southeast extremity of South Georgia. There is a wealth of wildlife at this site, in a spectacular setting. Chinstrap, Gentoo and maybe one or two Macaroni Penguins dot the tussac slopes and there are plenty of fur seals on the beaches. Fascinating volcanic rocks tower over small fjords, giving a stunning invitation for a thrilling zodiac cruise to watch wildlife from the waterfront. Drygalski Fjord: Drygalski Fjord is also located in the far south east of the island. The glaciers found in this dramatic fjord have retreated significantly in recent decades, but they still remain one of the most striking features of this coastline, particularly the Risting and Jenkins Glaciers. With a little luck, we might see the glaciers calve and witness the birth of a new iceberg from on board the ship.

Days 12 to 16 - Cross the Scotia Sea to the Antarctic Peninsula, with eclipse viewing en route (planned for the South Orkney Islands) We spend the next two days crossing the Scotia Sea towards the Antarctic Peninsula. The eclipse will occur in the early hours of the 4th December and the time of our departure will be adjusted to enable us to be in position on the track with a reasonable prospect of a clear sky. The ideal location will be on the South Orkney Islands, otherwise we will omit the landing on the islands and intersect the eclipse track at the clearest location with observation from the sea. After the eclipse the vessel will then proceed directly to the next point on the itinerary.

Days 17 - Experience the South Shetland Islands Our expedition team will prepare you for our experience in the South Shetland Islands. Deception Island: We plan to sail through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island - the largest of three recent volcanic centers in the South Shetlands- which is truly amazing. Once inside, the rising slope of the black, cinder-covered volcanic rim can be walked uphill to a rather spectacular vantage point. Half Moon Island: This crescent-shaped island, in the entrance of Moon Bay between Greenwich and Livingston Islands, is home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings.

Days 18 and 19 - Leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage We leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck as we search for seabirds and whales. We will also enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures we have had over the past days.

Days 20 - Arrive back into Ushuaia, disembark and return to Buenos Aires We arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the USHUAIA after breakfast. This afternoon we join the return flight to Buenos Aires for a final night at a hotel in the city.

Day 21 - Join your return flight Today is the last day of the tour. Join your return flight.

WHATS INCLUDED IN MY TOUR? Tour Price £13,135 / $17,075 per person

  • The price is for the tour from arrival on Day 1 to your departure on Day 21

  • Bed and breakfast accommodation is provided in hotels throughout the tour and all transfers, transportation and local excursions as outlined in the itinerary are included. Breakfast is included in Buenos Aires and all meals are included on the cruise.

  • Accommodation is provided in twin or double bed hotel rooms with a private bathroom. We are usually able to arrange shared accommodation with a person of the same gender - this is known as 'twin share' accommodation.

  • A limited number of rooms for sole occupancy are available at the single tour price of £22,360 / $29,070 (this includes a single cabin on the MV Ushuaia cruise)

  • MV Ushuaia Cabin Upgrades - the tour price is based on a standard two berth cabin with shared facilities on the lowest deck. Upgrades to superior cabins or suites are available at an additional cost of £2,610 to £7,485 per person. Deck plan and upgrade prices can be seen by clicking on this link

  • What to expect from Life onboard the Ushuaia can be seen here

  • Flight packages from London and the US will be offered by our flight partner about 11 months in advance of the tour departure (when all fares and schedules are available) or you can arrange your own International flights if you prefer.

  • Current return air fares from London are between about £800 and £1,000 and from the US about $800 to $1,200

  • Airport transfers and assistance are included on arrival and departure days if you take advantage of the International flight package offered by our flight partner. If you choose to arrange your own International flights then the meet point is the hotel on Day 1 and the tour ends at the hotel on the final day.

  • Provisional Reservations - We are now accepting reservations for this tour. A deposit of 15% of the tour price wiill be due within one month of making your provisional reservation. Due to the nature of this project special Terms and Conditions will apply, incorporating the terms of the vessel operators - see here for details Payment Schedule 15% due within one month of confirming your provisional reservation 35% by 1st November 2020 25% by 1st May 2021 25% by 1st August 2021 Please note: The Antarctic cruise itinerary is a guide only. The exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather, ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions. There will be a priority to position the vessel with the best prospect for a clear sky at the time of the eclipse, however it is not possible to guarantee observation of either specific wildlife or the eclipse. A daily program sheet will be issued on board.


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