Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only).
Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia & Falklands~Malvinas
Have a ‘Happy Penguin Christmas’ when Antarctica is at its liveliest. If you feel the festive season is a great time to get away from it all, join our special celebratory voyage. Combine the best of the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia on one incredible voyage. Antarctica offers spectacular frozen landscapes, lively penguin colonies, feeding whales and unsurpassed adventure activities. Cross the majestic Scotia Sea to visit the world’s largest king penguin colonies and for some, follow Shackleton’s epic walk across South Georgia on foot.
Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only).
This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day city tour.
Ushuaia, the capital city of the province of Tierra del Fuego, is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel and it is surrounded by the Martial Range, which offers a unique landscape as a result of the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forest. The city tour will visit The Mission, Brown and Solier neighbourhoods, where you can see old houses belonging to the first families in Tierra del Fuego, such as the Beban, the Pastoriza, and the Ramos. Head 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) out of town to Martial Glacier. The ride in the chair lift to the trails leading up to the glacier provides wonderful regional views and of Ushuaia town, the Beagle Channel and its islands. Afterwards, continue to the End of the World Museum with exhibitions explaining the history of Tierra del Fuego.
Transfer to the pier where our expedition team will warmly welcome you on board the Greg Mortimer at approximately 4.00 pm (final embarkation time will be provided in your final documentation). As the Greg Mortimer pulls away from the port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings.
As we commence our trip across the South Atlantic Ocean towards the Falklands~Malvinas, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about the region’s history, wildlife and environment.
Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.
Located 477 kilometres/296 miles east of southern Argentina, the Falklands~Malvinas are a unique mix of wildlife hotspot and inhabited outpost. An archipelago of over 700 islands, but consisting of two main islands, East and West, only seven of the islands are inhabited. The cold nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands makes them a prime location for marine life including seabirds and seals. Our time in the Falkland~Malvinas includes a short walk in historic Stanley town and Sealion Island located in East Falkland’s south, where you can get insight into the unique experience of Sealion Island Nature Reserve. You will discover how the raw beauty and solitude of the island makes it a haven for wildlife and visitors alike. In 2009, Sealion Island was officially declared a National Nature Reserve, with no introduced predators living on the island.
Tussac grass covers much of the island providing an ideal habitat for elephant seals and sea lions that can be found on many of the island’s spectacular beaches. A plethora of birds such as thrushes, finches, tussac birds and Magellanic penguins also inhabit the tussac. Pods of orcas, Peale’s dolphins and leopard seals are regularly seen in the waters around the island.
The island’s southern giant petrels, with a wingspan of two metres, act as a welcoming party to ships as they approach Sealion Island. Rockhopper, gentoo and Magellanic penguins come to Sealion Island to breed. Macaroni, king penguins and Striated and Crested Caracaras are also commonly seen on the island.
Between the Falklands~Malvinas and South Georgia, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our precise arrival time in South Georgia. Our lecture program will continue highlighting all of the incredible sights we have witnessed over the past few days. You will have ample time to enjoy observing the sea birds, whale-watching from the observation areas, or simply relaxing with a book.
If time and weather conditions permit, we could pass close to Shag Rocks, a fascinating group of jagged rocky islets protruding from the sea, in the proximity of South Georgia.
Over the next few days, marvel at South Georgia’s incredible scenes such as enormous and bustling king penguin colonies, fur seals jostling for space on the beach, jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and learn of Shackleton’s epic rescue journey. On Zodiac-cruises, discover bays filled with raucous and playful fur seals, and land on pebble beaches to meet curious penguins. Challenge yourself on hikes and enjoy dazzling pristine landscapes seen by few. South Georgia is a place where you can truly feel like you’ve really escaped from your normal daily life.
South Georgia is one of the world’s most amazing natural environments. Just a speck in the vastness of the South Atlantic Ocean, and lying wholly within the Antarctic Convergence, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a life-sustaining haven to some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife. The surrounding sea is one of the most productive areas on Earth and supports the life of millions of seals, whales, penguins and other seabirds. A mountain range forms the spine of this long, narrow island.
Between the mountains, shattered glaciers carve their way through tussock grass to the deeply indented coastline – a landscape that is synonymous with the epic expedition of survival by Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean. Abandoned rusting whaling stations and remnants of explorers reflect a time of long ago, while summer workers conduct scientific and regeneration projects.
As we explore South Georgia, we will have the opportunity to reflect on Shackleton’s epic journey. If conditions permit, we plan to follow in Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean’s footsteps and complete the final leg of their walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. On this expedition, we will make a special stop at King Haakon Bay to drop off our Mountaineers to start their 3-day crossing of South Georgia.
A sample of some of the places where we may land in South Georgia include:
Grytviken - originally a Norwegian sealing and whaling station, it was finally closed in 1965. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s body was laid to rest at Grytviken.
St Andrews Bay - the long black sandy beach fronts a broad valley that stretches well back from the sea. This valley shelters the largest king penguin colony on South Georgia.
Godthul - imagine indented bays lined with bleached whale bones, teeming with fur seals and penguins just ‘hanging about’. A careful descent leads us to a magnificent Macaroni penguin rookery.
Salisbury Plains - Salisbury Plain has one of the largest king penguin colonies on South Georgia. With about 100,000 pairs, the shore and beach can be completely crammed with penguins. Along the beach you will also find fur and elephant seals in the mix.
Fortuna Bay & Stromness - Fortuna Bay is surrounded by high mountains with glaciers pushing down from the high country to terminate in the open valley that is home to a small king penguin colony. This is where Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean descended from the treacherous glaciers of the interior on their way to Stromness whaling station.
Attend informative lectures to learn about Antarctica as we sail across the Scotia Sea towards the white continent. Treat yourself to a massage in the wellness centre or stay active in the gym; the choice is yours on how you want to enjoy days at sea.
Over the next few days a host of choices are open to us and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make the best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally try for two landings or Zodiac excursions each day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs; following whales that are feeding near the surface, and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul-outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home!
There are many exciting places we can choose to visit and our itinerary is deliberately flexible to allow us to pick the best spots on the day based on ice and weather conditions.
A sample of some of the types of places where we may cruise through, land, hike, photograph or view spectacular wildlife include:
Beautiful protected bays around the Antarctic Peninsula surrounded by magnificent peaks and spectacular glaciers, areas that are havens for whales as we keep our eyes open for humpbacks, orcas, minkes, and crabeater seals, as we explore bays in Zodiacs.
Wildlife-rich islands where glaciers and mountains dominate the vista and we can see large chinstrap penguin colonies tucked in between basaltic turrets coloured by yellow and orange lichens, and where often fur seals and elephant seals are hauled out on the pebble beaches.
Harbours home to gentoo penguins, and that regularly host Weddell seals. The scenery is dramatic towering peaks and calving glaciers surround the harbour. The thundering crack of the glaciers as they calve is sure to stop you in your tracks.
Lemaire Channel - If ice conditions allow, standing on the observation deck of the Greg Mortimer quietly as the ship sails along the narrow Lemaire Channel could certainly be one of the highlights of our voyage. Cliffs tower 700 metres / 2,296 feet straight out of the ocean on either side of the ship. The water can sometimes be so still that perfect reflections are mirrored on the surface and it is clear to see why this Channel is often called “Kodak Alley”. Gigantic icebergs may clog the channel, creating navigational challenges for our Captain and crew; occasionally they may even obstruct our passage.
You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture.
During the early morning, we sail along the Beagle Channel, before quietly slipping into the dock in Ushuaia, where we begin disembarking at around 8.00 am. Farewell, your expedition team and fellow travellers as we all continue our onward journeys, hopefully with a newfound sense of the immense power of nature. A transfer to either downtown Ushuaia or to the airport is included in the cost of the voyage.
Please consider that our voyages are expeditionary in nature. This means, that there are no concrete itineraries, your Captain and Expedition Leader will utilise their vast experience to chart the best course for your expedition depending on the climatic and environmental conditions. Mentioned highlights and wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
Since March 2001, Aurora Expeditions have offered the chance for a small band of adventurous souls to attempt to repeat the epic 1916 crossing of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley and Tom Crean, and trek for up to three days across South Georgia from King Haakon Bay to Stromness.
South Georgia offers a spectacular yet extreme mountain environment, which must be approached with great caution. Although the crossing does not involve any actual technical climbing, there is a steep ground crossing from the Tridents down to the Crean Glacier, as well as potential risks with crevasses.
For the more experienced hiker or climber, our South Georgia Alpine Crossing offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience and the chance to delve deep into some of the world’s most rugged and remote terrain.
Greg Mortimer - Discover the underwater world of Antarctica and the Arctic!
Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you'll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautifully sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs!
Greg Mortimer - Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes and across Antarctica’s soft, powdery snow a breeze, allowing you to explore places others struggle to reach in boots alone. Armed with your very own set of snowshoes and ski poles, you’ll be led by our expert guides who will provide all the instruction you need. Snowshoeing is an excellent way to ascend to some of Antarctica’s best vantage points, stretch the legs and take in the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Snowshoeing is the perfect activity for everyone, with no previous experience required. Join in on the fun and discover a different slice of Antarctica!
Greg Mortimer - One of the most unique ways to experience Antarctica and the Arctic. The experience of sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica or the European Arctic is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.
For aspiring photographers, the best time to shoot the Antarctic landscape is definitely October, November and March. At these times the sun is much lower in the sky and thus creates beautiful twilight hues and shadows, which contrast the landscape magnificently.
Of course, if it is wildlife and Antarctica’s babies you are hoping to shoot, then January and February are the best times. Alternatively, consider an early season South Georgia & Antarctica expedition for the best of wildlife and photo opportunities in Antarctica.
Walk amidst tens of thousands of king penguins on a single beach. Hike in the footsteps of ‘the Boss’, Sir Ernest Shackleton and hear his tale of survival.
The South Shetland Islands are the undisputed capital of Antarctica, with some 12 different nations having research bases on the islands. Located on the very northern reaches of the Antarctic, the islands comprise of some of the Antarctic Peninsula prized sited, including; Elephant Island, Deception Island and Penguin Island. As the islands are further north, they are more temperate and thus home to large numbers of wildlife, the islands offer a great diversity of Antarctic landscape, geology and sights of interest including the King George Island airport and Russian Orthodox Church. For most cruises the islands will almost always be the first glimpse of Antarctica you will have from the decks of your expedition vessel.
On board you will be provided with expedition boots and a highquality wind and waterproof expedition jacket
Catering to both amateurs and the more experienced photographers, our onboard team of photography guides deliver photography workshops and one-on-one instruction from the deck or Zodiacs and during landings.
The Greg Mortimer, named after the Australian adventurer and Polar tourism pioneer (Greg Mortimer OAM), this unique vessel utilises some of the latest advancements in naval design & technology to revolutionise the small ship expedition cruising experience. The X-BOW makes sailing smoother and faster while protecting the vulnerable environments visited using a virtual anchoring system. Shore excursions are made easier, with four sea-level Zodiac loading decks & a specially-crafted activity platform, designed in close consultation with our world-renowned expedition & activity leaders. Unlike many new ships, the Greg Mortimer is not striving for absolute luxury. It will of course, be brand new, modern and comfortable in every way, but will stay true to a relaxed, comfortable and homely style of travel, purely focused on the expedition and destination. Ship Features: - Highly qualified and experienced expedition team and international crew - X-BOW® hull, designed to offer faster and more comfortable travel enabling the ship to pierce through waves and maintain speed of travel, lower fuel consumption and reduced air pollution emissions - All cabins feature twin or king bedding configuration and private bathroom. 80% of cabins include a private balcony. 60% of cabins can accommodate a third person - Purpose-built activities preparation areas including four Zodiac launching platforms for fast and safe transition off the ship as you embark on multiple daily excursions - Observation lounge and viewing platforms offer spectacular panoramic views of scenery and wildlife. - State-of-the-art lecture theatre, two hot tubs/plunge pools, art room, library, gym, wellness centre and more!
|Luxury star rating:||4|
|Elec Outlets:||220V 2 Round plug|