This epic expedition takes you through the isolated Falkland Islands and stunning South Georgia before experiencing the great continent of Antarctica. We look forward to taking you on the expedition of a lifetime, exploring the endless white scenery and hearing nothing but nature’s silence in the surreal and haunting landscape of Antarctica.
Pristine, remote and truly awesome
When embarking on one of our most ambitious voyages to Antarctica, it’s best to travel with an open mind and expect the unexpected. The overwhelming power of nature and teeming wildlife, thriving despite the extremes of temperature, will leave you speechless, creating everlasting memories to take home. Come ashore on isolated beaches to encounter incredible wildlife in haunting landscapes, take kayak trips in untouched waters with icebergs floating by, or spend a night in a tent under the stars.
Starting in Buenos Aires, you have the opportunity to discover the ‘Paris of South America’ before embarking on MS Fram in Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost town. From there, we set a course through the scenic Beagle Channel.
We cross open sea before we reach the Falkland Islands, with its seamless horizons, vast open spaces, stunning white sand beaches and wildlife like penguins and albatrosses. Here, we first explore the northwest before we continue to the capital Stanley, with its red buses and English pubs. Stanley is also the natural starting point for several excursions.
Captivating South Georgia
On board lectures will prepare you for South Georgia, where we sail into the mountainous Drygalski Fjord at the southern end of the island to visit some of South Georgia’s abandoned whaling stations. Then the lecture series will turn its focus on Antarctica, including an introduction to the Antarctic visitor guidelines, as we approach the coldest, driest, windiest and most remote continent on Earth.
Antarctica and the wonders of the Deep South
Antarctica is a peaceful continent where man’s primary activity is science. It has evolved through millennia without human interference; here, wild animals remain fearless of man. We will visit several places in Antarctica, depending on the ice and wind conditions, we might visit Whalers Bay, Half Moon Island and Brown Bluff, a landscape dominated by a towering, rust-coloured bluff of volcanic origin, next to a beach sprinkled with lava “bombs”. Smell, hear and see the rich penguin colonies, watch whales break the surface and always be prepared for the unexpected. Being our smallest vessel in Antarctica, MS Fram qualifies for the largest range of possible landing sites to enhance your experience.
The Expedition team will seize opportunities to take you hiking, go kayaking among icebergs or pitch camp in the footsteps of the great explorers.
Your expedition starts with an overnight stay in Buenos Aires, the bustling capital of Argentina. We offer an optional city tour in the afternoon. Spend the evening at your leisure and discover ”Paris of South America” for yourself.
The following day you fly to Ushuaia. The flight leaves Buenos Aires in the morning, allowing you a few hours to explore Ushuaia or to join an optional excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park, before embarking MS Fram. In the evening we will sail through the scenic Beagle Channel.
We will cross the open sea on our way towards the Falkland Islands. Enjoy our lectures and keep an eye out for wildlife from deck.
The Falkland Islands are teeming with wonders of wildlife and nature, and offer fantastically clear blue skies, seamless horizons, vast open spaces and stunning white beaches. Here the sheep graze alongside immense colonies of albatross and rockhopper, king and macaroni penguins, while predatory striated caracaras patrol overhead and upland geese forage at the water’s edge.
In the Falklands, penguins waddle close to take a look at us, then continue on their way, giving you some great photo opportunities! Stanley, the islands’ capital, makes a wonderful starting point for the various excursions we offer in the area. The town is easy enough to discover on foot, as most shops and services are centred on the port.
We spend two days cruising southward to beautiful South Georgia. En route you can participate in a number of presentations about the area’s wildlife, as well as whaling and polar history. Our Expedition team is well versed in every facet of South Georgia, from its geology and glaciology to the mating rituals of the sooty albatross and the legends of the Norwegian whalers. One of the fascinating stories that will be told is that of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the men of the ill-fated Endurance and their amazing feats of bravery.
On this specific expedition, you will get even more time to explore the unique beauty and wildlife of South Georgia. The rich history of exploration and whaling lends a great backdrop to its rugged scenery with glaciers and bustling wildlife. It is known as the Serengeti of the Southern Ocean, and is a favoured place for wildlife photographers. South Georgia’s unique position inside the Antarctic ecosystem – yet outside the limit of the yearly sea ice – makes it home to tens of millions of breeding penguins, seals and seabirds.
We plan to visit Fortuna Bay and some of South Georgia’s abandoned whaling stations. During our stay here, you will see elephant seals lounge on the sand, fur seal pups race in and out of the water, albatross soar overhead, and king penguins in the thousands. Another highlight is exploring Gold Harbour. Enjoy the sight of hanging glaciers and cliffs, the lagoons and a large king penguin colony. You will also see a whaling museum, the Norwegian seaman’s church, and the tiny graveyard where we can pay our respects to the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. South Georgia also offers some good hiking options, and one of our favourites is walking the last part of the route that Shackleton took on his brave journey across the island’s rugged mountains to find help for the 22 men left on the isolated Elephant Island.
As we continue towards Antarctica you can learn more about the wonders of the Deep South, focusing on the history, environment and wildlife of Antarctica. We will cruise by the Washington Strait and Coronation Island before setting course towards Elephant Island and Antarctica.
Antarctica is different from anything else you will ever experience! Once we have crossed the Antarctic Convergence, you will start feeling the air getting crisper and colder. You will begin to see Antarctic penguins in the water, and don’t forget to be on the lookout for the first iceberg.
Among the highlights we might visit during our days in Antarctica is Deception Island, one of the South Shetlands; a distinctive ring-shaped volcanic caldera. This is one of the few places in Antarctica where we can take our backpacks and hike. Being on an active volcano in Antarctica is hardly an everyday experience!
Other places we might visit are Half Moon Island, considered a jewel of diversity in the polar landscape, Hanna Point with its diversity of wildlife, and the large Adélie colony at Paulet Island. It can be difficult to navigate through the 48-kilometre Antarctic Sound due to ice, but it offers the most impressive manifestations of icebergs that we will see on this expedition.
On Brown Bluff, Adélie and chinstrap penguins, kelp gulls and cape petrels nest below spectacular cliffs that rise 745 m out of the sea. The stony beach is suitable for shore landings outside of nesting season. We might sail through the narrow Errera Channel, to and from Cuverville, and see the icebergs that have become trapped and grounded in the nearby shallows. Danco Island lies peacefully amongst the icebergs in the Errera Channel, just a few hundred yards from the Antarctic mainland, and is a breeding site for Gentoo penguins.
Come ashore and explore with us, go kayaking to see the ice up close or take a trip on one of our small boats. Port Lockroy is a British station from the Second World War that was turned into a museum in 1996. It is one of the most popular sites in Antarctica and offers a peek into life on an Antarctic base in the 1950s. Pleneau is situated just south of the Lemaire Channel and is a beautiful landing site, with many stranded icebergs in the bay area.
When opportunities arise we will launch our kayaks, pitch tents ashore and take you on unforgettable hikes to explore the most beautiful, untouched places on the planet.
On our way back to civilisation, we will continue our lecture series and recap our experiences of Antarctica. The voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to Ushuaia at the southern tip of Argentina is roughly 950 km (600 miles) or 40 hours of sailing time in good weather.
We make landfall in Tierra del Fuego. Your voyage ends in the world’s southernmost town, Ushuaia, and your journey back continues with a flight to lively Buenos Aires. If you want some sun and warmth after spending time in Antarctica we recommend you participate in one of our post-voyage programmes in Buenos Aires.