The islands of the Southern Ocean, like solitary gemstones, reflect a dazzling abundance of life usually hidden from our view.
We start this extraordinary expedition in Puerto Madryn near the fabulous Península Valdés in Argentine Patagonia. First, in the Falkland Islands, we discover a stark and beautiful archipelago where abundant penguins and albatross nest side by side. We sail forth through legendary waters where marine mammals lurk in astonishing numbers.
On the island of South Georgia, amidst dramatic Southern Ocean seascapes, we explore a pristine wilderness swarming with stately king penguins, raucous fur seals, jousting elephant seals, and a profusion of seabirds. We finish in Ushuaia, in Argentina’s gorgeous Tierra del Fuego: gateway to Antarctica.
The windswept and treeless Falkland Islands are a birders’ paradise. The archipelago boasts a great diversity and abundance of birdlife including 80 percent of the world’s population of black-browed albatross, five species of penguin, and a variety of waterfowl such as the endemic Falkland steamer duck.
In addition to innumerable penguin pairs, South Georgia hosts a wide range of bird species in staggering abundance. The island is home to petrels, skuas, prions, shags, terns, and the carnivorous South Georgia pintail duck. This is also an amazing place to see the breeding behavior of the world’s largest seabird: the wandering albatross.
On the remote island of South Georgia, marine mammals are counted in the millions. Antarctic fur seals and southern elephant seals can be seen everywhere jostling for space on the island’s legendary wildlife beaches. This voyage coincides with the season when elephant seals are likely to be seen engaging in ferocious battles.
In the Falkland Islands, breeding populations of South American fur seal and South American sea lion frequent the islands’ many beaches. The waters all along our route are home to various cetaceans including southern right whales, killer whales, and Peale’s dolphins, as well as various large baleen whales no longer hunted.
In the harsh and unrelenting subantarctic environment of the Falklands and South Georgia—and on the tempestuous waves of the Southern Ocean—the endurance of settlers and explorers has been repeatedly tested. Historical events such as the Falklands War have also tested the inhabitants’ resolve and resourcefulness.
Meanwhile, man’s presence on these islands has tested the limits of Nature’s resilience in the face of overexploitation. Throughout our journey we see historical and contemporary evidence of mankind’s precarious and evolving relationship with the elements in a perilous yet fragile environment.
The world-class scenery and wildlife encountered on this voyage provide a dizzying variety of subjects for photographers of all interests and abilities. Our free photography program gives you the chance to practice your skills alongside an expert photographer.
Once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunities come continuously as an albatross glides to the ground beside its downy chick while nearby two bull elephant seals wage an epic battle against a backdrop of verdant hills and snowy mountains.
With such an amazing abundance of wildlife and incredible landscapes, this voyage will likely make a photographer out of anyone. Our experienced expert will be available to help you make the most of this bounty in your viewfinder.
Our optional kayaking program is your opportunity to experience these incredible island destinations in a special and exciting way. Both the Falklands and South Georgia are amazing paddling destinations with a wealth of scenery and marine wildlife.
Sea Kayak Club participants are rewarded with delightful encounters with birdlife and historical shipwrecks. Kayakers in South Georgia meet swarms of seals and penguins while paddling in a supremely beautiful and wild environment.
This voyage offers excellent opportunities to paddle with wildlife in some of the world’s most gorgeous locations. If you enjoy sea kayaking, then do not miss your chance to participate in this incredible adventure activity.
Applicable to 20 Oct - 07 Nov 2017 departure only.
Book the cruise and get the 1-day tour to Peninsula Valdes for free (regularly 315 USD).
We begin our scenic drive toward the Peninsula Valdes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From Puerto Piramides we transfer to an excursion boat. Most notable in this area are Southern Right whales, and we may also spot some Orcas.
After our return to shore, we head to Estancia San Lorenzo, a traditional sheep farm of the region. In addition to being served a delicious typical spit-roasted lamb luncheon, we will visit the Magellan penguin reserve.
The tour continues to Punta Norte, an important habitat for sea lions and elephant seals.
We return to Puerto Madryn at sunset and embark Sea Spirit for our voyage to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.