Guest photographing King Penguins at St Andrews Bay, South Georgia. Photo by Acacia Johnson.

Solar Eclipse 2021: Totality in Antarctica, with South Georgia

Duration 17 days
Departing from
  • Ushuaia, Argentina
Starting from $16,995
Adventure Options N/A

Overview

Total Solar Eclipses are rare in Antarctica, and 16 years ago, a group of Quark Expeditions passengers became the first humans ever to witness a Total Solar Eclipse on the 7th Continent. In 2021, we are reuniting some of the same eclipse experts who were on our 2003 expedition for a new voyage: Solar Eclipse 2021: Totality in Antarctica, with South Georgia. This voyage will be the perfect opportunity to be rendered awestruck by the overwhelming enormity of Antarctica: towering icebergs, mammoth glaciers and ice-covered mountains. You’ll hike pristine glaciers, relax on a Zodiac cruise or enjoy comedic encounters with inquisitive penguins.

Also, you’ll learn about wildlife and polar history during onboard presentations by expedition team members, as well as two widely-respected eclipse experts who will prepare you for your total eclipse experience: award-winning National Geographic night-sky photographer Babak Tafreshi, who participated in the 2003 voyage, and American Eclipse author David Baron, who is featured in the popular TED Talk, “You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse.” From Antarctica, you’ll sail north, and on December 4th you’ll become part of a select few to experience a Total Solar Eclipse in Antarctica. To enhance your eclipse experience, you will receive a pair of eclipse glasses, an invitation to a special evening celebration to commemorate your Total Solar Eclipse voyage. You will then complete your voyage by departing for South Georgia, known as the “Galapagos of the South Seas,” where you’ll explore a region rich in wildlife and polar history.

Special Guests

On this departure, you'll be joined by two widely-respected eclipse experts who will prepare you for your total eclipse experience: award-winning National Geographic night-sky photographer Babak Tafreshi, who participated in the 2003 voyage, and American Eclipse author David Baron, who is featured in the popular TED Talk, “You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse.” 

Babak Tafreshi

Photo of Babak Tafreshi

Babak Tafreshi is the founder and director of The World at Night (TWAN) international program. Born in Tehran and based in Boston, he is the night sky photographer for the National Geographic, a master in nightscape photography with Earth & sky images that merge art, culture, and science.

For his global contribution in this field he received the 2009 Lennart Nilsson Award, the world’s most recognized award for scientific photography at the time. Babak is also a science journalist and communicator who documented solar eclipses in 7 continents.



Photo of David Baron

David Baron

David Baron is a journalist, author, and broadcaster who has spent his thirty-year career largely in public radio. He has worked as a science correspondent for NPR and Boston’s WBUR, and as health and science editor for the PRI/BBC program The World. 

In the course of his reporting, David has visited every continent and earned some of the top honors in journalism. These include the Lowell Thomas Award from the Overseas Press Club of America, the Alfred I. duPont Award from Columbia University, the National Academies Communications Award, and, on three occasions, the annual journalism prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Highlights

  • See South Georgia’s incredible wildlife, including 30 breeding bird species and four penguin species
  • Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyages to South Georgia and pause for a moment at his grave site
  • Witness a rare total solar eclipse from the deck of Ocean Diamond in the Scotia Sea between the Orkney Islands and South Georgia.
  • Explore the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, Zodiac and foot
  • Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife with our onboard lecturers
  • Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Antarctic, with an optional paddling excursion

Itineraries

Day 1 — Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina

You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port at the tip of South America. It’s the ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.

Day 2 — Embarkation Day

Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart!

Day 3 & 4 — Crossing the Drake Passage

Your days at sea are filled with presentations led by your Expedition Team who will prepare you for the wildlife, glaciology and history that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time on deck looking for wildlife or chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.

Days 5 to 7 — Antarctic Peninsula

The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched 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 isolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.

Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each excursion, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for Antarctic whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.

As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or cast reason aside and jump into Antarctic waters for the Polar Plunge!

Days 8 & 9 — At Sea

Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula, as your next destination is the Scotia Sea, between the South Orkney Islands and South Georgia, where you’ll witness a rare natural phenomenon: a total eclipse of the sun in Antarctica! Our Expedition Team will prepare you in advance with presentations and workshops on astronomy, meteorology and other related topics to help prepare you for that once-in-a-lifetime event: total solar eclipse in Antarctica. Two world-renowned eclipse experts will also be onboard: award-winning National Geographic night-sky photographer Babak Tafreshi (who participated in the 2003 voyage) and American Eclipse author David Baron, who is featured in the hugely popular TED Talk, “You owe it to yourself to experience a total solar eclipse.”

Day 10 — Solar Eclipse at Sea

Early this morning, you will be summoned on deck to witness an extraordinary, much-awaited moment: a solar eclipse, the very brief period (1 minute, 40 seconds) when the moon blocks the sun’s light, plunging the polar regions into darkness. Every guest will be provided with a pair of eclipse glasses before the momentous event. You’ll savor the stillness of this magical moment with your fellow umbraphiles (eclipse chasers), knowing you’re among the few to have witnessed this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.  As with all eclipse sightings, visibility is influenced by the weather and cloud conditions. Unique to this experience will be its location at sea, and the more extreme latitude which places the eclipse low on the horizon, making a successful sighting that much more difficult, and more rewarding should all the stars align for the eclipse to be visible. After the eclipse concludes around breakfast time, feel free to celebrate the unforgettable moment or return to your bed. In addition to the eclipse glasses, guests will also receive an invitation to a special evening celebration to commemorate their special total eclipse voyage.

Days 11 to 12 — South Georgia

South Georgia is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins. It won’t take you long to realize that you are in a bird paradise, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.

You’ll find that South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.

One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement is one of the first whaling stations established in sub-Antarctic waters. Many travelers find that this place has a special appeal, as it is home to the remains of Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.

Days 13 to 16 — At Sea

After more than two weeks of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.

Day 17 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina

You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure onward or catch your flights home.

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.

Dates and Rates

Departure
Days
Starting from
 
 
Nov 26 – Dec 12, 2021
17
$16,995

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