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South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula: Penguin Safari

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 3-6 — 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 Zodiac cruises and shore landings, and also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional kayaking adventures (extra cost), a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.

Day 7-8 — South Georgia

The first indication that you are approaching South Georgia is the sight of birds around a group of rocky spires called Shag Rocks. Have your binoculars and cameras ready to photograph these rocks rising out of the icy ocean waters. Shags and prions often rest here.

After enjoying South Georgia from a distance, we’ll head toward its numerable beaches to find a protected bay for your first land excursion. Landing sites on South Georgia are varied, largely determined by the weather conditions of your voyage. Whichever sites we visit, they’ll provide you with wildlife encounters unrivaled anywhere else on earth.

This is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for subantarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins. It won’t take you long to realize that South Georgia is a paradise for bird lovers, 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 subantarctic 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 9 & 10 — At Sea

Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations and lectures led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between activities, 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 11-13 — 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, 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, and at the next moment, you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.

Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each landing, 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 curious whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each landing 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 kayaking excursion (extra cost) or going for a plunge in Antarctic waters!

Day 14 & 15 — Crossing the Drake Passage

After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, to spend time on the deck, watching for seabirds and scouting for whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.

Day 16 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia

You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure on land 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.