This extended expedition encompasses the wildlife paradise of South Georgia, the remote Falkland Islands as well as the extraordinary beauty of the Antarctic Peninsula. You'll experience a great diversity of environments and landscapes, which will provide unprecedented wildlife viewing opportunities. Join us for the quintessential Antarctic experience for polar travellers.
Day 1 - Buenos Aires, Argentina
You may arrive in Buenos Aires at any time during Day 1 of the itinerary. Upon your arrival in Buenos Aires, you will independently transfer to the group hotel (pre-night hotel included).
Day 2 - Fly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, Argentina and Embarkation
After breakfast at the hotel, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, we'll take a short city tour of this quaint port town before heading to the pier.
Day 3 - At Sea There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for your Zodiac cruises and shore landings.
Days 4 and 5 - Falkland Islands
Upon arrival in this archipelago your cameras will get their first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and the rugged feel of the Falklands.
The archipelago contains two main islands-East and West, which we will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings. Port Stanley is often a favoured landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with a bit of an eclectic charm.
You'll be free to explore the town, grab a pint at the local pub, or visit numerous churches and museums. In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If you're lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross and two endemic bird species; Cobb's wren and the Falkland's flightless steamer duck.
Days 6 and 7 - At Sea
Sailing south, you'll officially enter Antarctic waters by crossing the invisible biological boundary called the Antarctic Convergence. Encircling the continent, cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating an abundance of krill and marine life that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Expedition staff will be sure to keep you posted when you cross this invisible, yet important line.
Days 8 to 11 - South Georgia
This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, South Georgia Island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you'll still see remnants of those old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, a museum, gift shop, church and a small research station.
While South Georgia's history is an important attraction to the islands, it is the wildlife on South Georgia that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Often referred to as the 'Galapagos of the Poles,' each landing you make on South Georgia will open your eyes to a new wonder of wildlife.
Days 12 and 13 - At Sea
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures and workshops from your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will be greeting you upon your arrival in Antarctica. In between presentations, spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
If conditions allow, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, our first official stop in Antarctica. Days 14 to 17 - South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
The most common reaction to arriving at the white continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, as few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you'll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, at the next moment you'll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into the brilliant blue sea or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.
Days 18 and 19 - Crossing the Drake Passage
After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake Passage is your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure.
Enjoy some final moments mingling with your fellow travellers. The noisy, busy, populated world awaits your return, so savour the silence of the sea as long as you can.
Day 20 - Disembarkation in Ushuaia for your charter flight back to Buenos Aires
After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team.
After disembarkation, you will have a little time to explore Ushuaia before we transfer to the airport for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires.
Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy - and excitement - of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
Contact us for sailing dates and a quotation
Images Courtesy Quark Expeditions