MV Ortelius - Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula

MV Ortelius – Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula

This is a “once in a lifetime” opportunity, a spectacular voyage offering the best wildlife of (Sub)-Antarctica. Embark our comfortable, ice-strengthened 116-passenger vessel “Ortelius” for a 20 day true discovery voyage to the Falkland Islands (with superb wildlife opportunities, including rockhopper penguins and black-browed albatrosses), followed by South Georgia (with historic landing sites and excellent encounters with wandering albatrosses and colonies of thousands of king penguins including chicks) and the Antarctic Peninsula, including the Weddell Sea and the South Shetland Islands. This itinerary is also available for 19 days on certain dates.

Accommodation: Cabin on ship

Inclusions: All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
Free use of rubber boots aboard Ortelius.
Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Difficulty Rating: 2 (light adventure)

Single surcharge: Available upon request

Notes: Itinerary is subject to change depending on weather and ice conditions.

Price Dependent upon: Season and availability

Trip Code: ACTSFIGA

Price: AUD $18860

Departure: 03 December 2018 , 22 December 2018 , 09 January 2019 , 16 February 2019

Duration: 20 days

Location: Antarctica

DAY 1: We embark in Ushuaia

In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening.

At sea, in the westerlies the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.

In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) we plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. A hike along the Shore of Carcass Island will give us views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl and Night herons and passerines. On Saunders we will be able to observe four species of breeding penguins (Gentoo, King, Magellanic and Rockhopper), Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.

In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm. In Stanley and the surrounding area we can see quite an important number of stranded clippers from a century ago. All passengers are free to wander around on their own. We recommend a visit to the local church and museum (admission fees not included).

On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature may drop significantly in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence we will see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship; several species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Prions and Skuas.

In the early afternoon of day 7 we arrive at our first landing site in South Georgia. We might visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay and Drygalski Fjord to give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the Elephant seals, Fur seals, King and Macaroni Penguins.

One of the highlights might be our visit to Prion Island, where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their displays (the island is closed for visitors during breeding season from 20 Nov – 07 January). At Fortuna Bay we might try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stromness Bay. There and at Grytviken we’ll see an abandoned whaling village, where King Penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. At Grytviken we’ll also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton´s grave nearby. We will depart from South Georgia in the afternoon of day 10.

Where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the South Polar Skua and Snow Petrel.

We are planning on a visit to Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located on Laurie Island in the South Orkney Island archipelago. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers. Alternatively we may attempt a landing in Shingle Cove on Signy Island.

We will pass large icebergs and have a good chance of Fin whales on the way south. Also we have the best chances on the trip to see Antarctic Petrels around the ship.

If the ice permits we will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to visit Paulet Island with a huge number of Adélie penguins and Brown Bluff where we may set foot on the Continent.
In good sailing conditions we may decide to extend our time in the Weddell Sea.

The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often shrouded in mist, but do offer subtle pleasures. There is a nice variety of flora (mosses, lichens and flowering grasses) and fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins and Southern Giant Petrels. On Half Moon Island we will find Chinstrap Penguins and Weddell Seals often haul out on the beach near the Argentinean station Camara.

In Deception Island our ship braves into the entrance of the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellows. Deception itself is a sub-ducted crater which opens into the sea creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Petrels and many Kelp Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay.

On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.

We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.

Please note that the above itinerary is just a guide. Antarctica cruises are subject to weather, ice and other local conditions, as such, the actual itinerary is determined as the cruise progresses.

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