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Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia Islands on Island Sky

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Highlights

  • Tour the beautiful Falkland Islands to view huge populations of rockhopper, gentoo, and Magellanic penguins, as well as the regal black-browed albatross.
  • Witness the vast penguin colonies of South Georgia—king, macaroni, gentoo, and chinstrap—as well as large numbers of elephant and fur seals crowding the beaches.
  • Set foot on the Antarctic continent and revel in the incredible scenery of snowcapped peaks, mighty glaciers, and glistening icebergs—a photographer’s dream.
  • Learn about early polar exploration and whaling history, including a visit to the burial site of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

To capture the true feeling of Antarctica, there are few better ways than to start with the sub-Antarctic archipelagos of the Falkland and South Georgia Islands. Strong upwelling of ocean currents and nutrients feed a prolific marine ecosystem which in turn supports a vast array of bird and mammalian life onshore.

The Falkland Islands are known for five species of penguins: the largest population of gentoos, as well as king, rockhopper, magellanic and macaroni. The Falklands harbor a prolific population of whales and Port Stanley was an important whaling center in the 18th - early 20th Centuries. 

South Georgia was also a major whaling port around the same time and much of the waterfront is still lined with flensing docks and whale oil processing plants. But the real draw is the staggering numbers of king penguins at Salibury Plain. Imagine walking among these beautiful three-foot tall birds, stretching as far as the eye can see!

The trip continues on southeastward to Elephant Island, where the Shakleton overwintered after losing their ship, Endurance, to sea ice. We'll visit other islands off the Antarctic mainland, including Deception Island and Brown Bluff. Then we head further south to the glorious Antarctic Peninsula and through the magnificent Lemaire Channel with its massive mountains and glaciers. 

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  • Itinerary
  • Date & Rates
  • Vessel
  • Map
Itinerary:

Jan. 4-5, 2018 Depart USA / Buenos Aires, Argentina / Ushuaia 

Fly to Buenos Aires (not included in trip cost), and arrive in Ushuaia the next day. Transfer to our group hotel with the rest of the day at leisure. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight.

Jan. 6: Ushuaia / Embark Island Sky

This morning, enjoy a boat trip on the Beagle Channel to Tierra del Fuego National Park for a hike in the Land of the Fire, named by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520 perhaps for the original natives' tactic of lighting beach fires to repel his landing parties. Alternatively, visit Martial Glacier, then a city tour and lunch in Ushuaia. Settle into your cabin aboard the Island Sky this afternoon and set sail for the Falkland Islands.

Jan. 7: At Sea

Attend lectures on the natural and historical highlights ahead. 

Jan. 8: Falkland Islands / Saunders Island

On Saunders Island, we can watch and photograph colonies of gentoo, rockhopper, and Magellanic penguins.

Jan. 9 - 10: Cruising the South Scotia Sea

We head southeast into the Scotia Sea, crossing the Antarctic Convergence zone, a region marking the boundary of the Southern Ocean. Here, the frigid waters of the Antarctic meet the warmer waters of the sub-Antarctic. This mixing results in an upwelling of rich nutrients that support a vast amount of both marine and avian life On deck, join naturalists in search of the seabirds and marine mammals that flourish in these nutrient-rich waters.

Jan. 11-13: South Georgia 

Flexibility in this area is a must. If the weather permits (it can be fickle in this part of the world), we may make landings before breakfast or even after dinner. Regardless, on the many islands, bays, and beaches you will see outstanding birdlife and elephant and fur seals up close. The following is a list of places we plan to visit on South Georgia; some of them are pending final government approval.

Elsehul Bay

This beautiful bay is home to thousands of fur seals as well as macaroni penguins, the most numerous of all penguin species. All around are the cacophony of cries of penguins and seals which crowd the beaches.

Salisbury Plain

Here, flanked between two glaciers, more than 200,000 king penguins congregate and breed, stretching as far as you can see up into the hillsides - truly one of the most moving and impressive sights and sounds on the planet. The smell's impressive too. Read more about the Salisbury Plain in Randy Green's blog.

Stromness Bay

After Sir Ernest Shakleton's ship, Endevour, sank in sea ice, he and his party made it to Elephant Island and set up winter camp. Here he and a few others took one of their lifeboats and made the perilous journey to South Georgia Island and crossed the island's peaks and glaciers before descending into Sromness Bay. Weather permitting, we can hike back up the trail from Strmness to get an inkling of Shakleton's almost impossible journey.

Grytviken

Here we'll find one of the largest whaling operations in the sub-Antarctic, the almost perfectly-preserved whaling station at Grytviken. As recently as just a couple of decades ago, one could smell the rancid whaling oil on the flensing dock. Nearby, we can pay our respects to "The Boss", Sir Earnest Shakleton at his gravesite. This is also a great spot for seals, penguins and seabirds.

Gold Harbour

Lying at the "snout" of the Bertrab Glacier, Gold Harbour features a large king penguin colony, and we're likely to see elephant and fur seals, plus gentoo penguins, giant petrels, and with a bit of luck, light-mantled albatross.

Jan. 14-15: At Sea 

We head further to the southwest and spend the time at sea catching up on relaxing, reading and learning from our sipboard naturalists about the history, geology, and wildlife of the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands.

Jan. 16: Elephant Island 

Elephant Island

Once Shakleton arrived at South Georiga, he was able to get a Chilean ship to rescue the remaining party who had overwintered at Elephant Island, remarkably without any lost of life. Weather and sea conditions permitting, we'll take a Zodiac cruise around the island and its beautiful glaciers and view a thriving chinstrap penguin colony.

Jan. 17-21: Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctica - As are most of our destinations, landings along the Peninsular are dependent upon weather and ice conditions. The expeditionary nature of this voyage precludes guaranteeing specific stops; in the past we have visited the locations below. This list serves as a guideline only of the places you may experience.

Brown Bluff – Located on the Antarctic continent, Brown Bluff rises 2,450 feet above an ash beach littered with bizarrely shaped boulders. Some 20,000 pairs of Adelie, and hundreds of gentoo penguins, make their home here. Skuas and pintado petrels nest near the top of the cliff and kelp gulls fill the air with perpetual sound and motion.

Deception Island – Eons ago, the sea broke through an outer wall of a collapsed vlocano, leaving a narrow channel, called Neptune's Bellows, just wide enough for our ship to pass through. Inside we'll anchor in the calm water and explore ashore. Residual thermal activity heats the sand on the shoreline to a comfortably warm temperature - warm enough to swim in! The surrounding cliffs are filled with southern fulmars and pintado petrels. 

Lemaire Channel and Pleneau Island – We spend today navigating the dramatic Lemaire Channel, looking for humpback and minke whales. The Lemaire is one of the most impressively beautiful stretches on the Antarcitc Peninsula. We'll explore the maze of grounded icebiergs near Pleneau Island, where crabeater and leapard seals haul out on the ice. Great colonies of elephant seals and gentoo penguins reside on the island.

Jan. 22-23: Drake Passage 

We head north across the Drake Passage, looking for wandering and black-browed albatross, sooty shearwaters and white-chinned petrels. 

Jan. 24-25: Ushuaia, Argentina / Disembark / Buenos Aires / USA 

Disembark in Ushuaia and transfer to the airport for your flight to Buenos Aires, connecting with your independent overnight flight home. Arrive in the USA on January 25.

Date & Rates:

2018

Tour Code
Ship Dates Embark/Disembark N/D Cat. 1 Cat. 2 Cat. 3 Cat. 4 Cat. 5 Cat. 6
  Island sky Jan. 4 - 25, 2018 Ushuaia/Ushuaia 21/22 $23,480 $25,480 $27,980 $29,980 $32,680 $36,880

Rates are based on double occpuancy.  

Single supplement: 1.6 times the share rate. 

Inclusions: Daily activity options including cultural tours, nature walks, and Zodiac cruises; all gratuities; all accommodations; world-class lecture and expedition team; all onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; all entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; gift certificates for recommended expedition gear and reading materials; and medical expense coverage and emergency evacuation insurance.

Exclusions: Airfare from your home city/London and Stockholm/home city; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, and alcoholic beverages (other than listed above); and email/Internet/fax/telephone charges.

Airfare: You will need to purchase airfare from your home city/Buenos Aires/Ushuaia and Ushuaia/Buenos Aires/home city. Please contact our in-house Air Department for fare quotes, reservations, or other air-related questions.

Deposit: 30% per person. Balance is due at 120 days prior to travel. All rates are based on double occupancy and are in USD. Depsoit is non-refundable. 

Insurance: Because many advance logistical arrangements have been made prior to the running of this trip, we must adhere to the above policy. In addition, please be aware that many insurance policies do not cover illness and accident expenses outside of the U.S., and Medicare does NOT cover any such expenses at all. In light of this, we strongly recommend trip cancellation and supplemental insurance. All trips to Antarctica require additional evacuation insurance. 

A travel insurance quote will be sent to you upon registration.  Our insurance carrier is Travel Guard. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vessel:

Island Sky

Built in 1992 and recently refurbished, the Island Sky is a comfortable and contemporary expedition vessel. Public spaces include a large lounge, elegant bar with piano, library stocked with fiction and reference books along with a selection of games, and a single-seating dining room. Outside decks feature a bar, spa pool, and a sun deck where meals are served in pleasant weather.

All suites feature ocean views, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, large wardrobes, small refrigerator, and television.

Ship Details & Deck Plan

  • Tonnage: 4,200
  • Year Built: 1992
  • Year Refurbished: 2011
  • Number of Guests: 100
  • Number of Crew: 72
  • Registry: Bahamas
  • Length: 297 feet
  • Beam: 50 feet
  • Draft: 14 feet

ISLAND SKY DECKPLAN 2014

Island Sky Cabins

  • Category 1
    Category 1
  • Category 2
    Category 2
  • Category 3
    Category 3
  • Category 4
    Category 4
  • Category 5
    Category 5
  • Category 6
    Category 6
  • Dining Room
    Dining Room
  • Club
    Club
  • Library
    Library
  • Lounge
    Lounge
  • Category 1
  • Category 2
  • Category 3
  • Category 4
  • Category 5
  • Category 6
  • Dining Room
  • Club
  • Library
  • Lounge

 

GENERAL 

  • Five decks of guest facilities.
    - Magellan Deck – guest suites, restaurant, doctor’s of ce.
    - Columbus Deck – guest suites, lounge, reception.
    - Marco Polo Deck – guest suites, club, library.
    - Erikson Deck – guest suites with balconies, bridge, outdoor bar, and café. - Explorer Deck – guest suites with balconies, salon, and sun deck.

  • Stairs and an elevator service all guest decks.

  • The bridge is available to visit most times throughout the day, contingent upon weather, security, and navigation conditions.

  • Smoking is permitted in designated areas.

    SUITES 

  • All suites feature ocean views and have two twin beds that can be recon gured into one queen, a sitting area, en suite bathroom, large wardrobes, vanity table, small refrigerator, television, personal safe, hairdryer, assorted toiletries, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, and American-style outlets (two at prongs) at 110 volts.

  • Magellan Deck suites are 230 square feet and have two to four portholes.

  • Columbus Deck suites are 240 square feet with large picture windows.

  • Marco Polo Deck suites range between 225 to 240 square feet and feature large picture windows.

  • Erikson Deck suites are 270 square feet including private balconies.

  • Explorer Deck suites are 325 square feet including private balconies.

    DINING 

    • The main restaurant can accommodate all guests at one seating.
    • Most diets can be catered for on board, but special dietary requests must be made in advance.
    • Breakfast is served in the restaurant with a la carte and buffet options.
    • When weather permits, meals can be served on deck, but are usually served in the main restaurant. • Afternoon tea and hors d’oeuvres are served in the lounge; coffee and tea are available in the club.

    SERVICES 

  • Island Sky carries a eet of Zodiacs and a small tender.

  • Public spaces include a large lounge, club and bar with piano, and library with games, reference books, novels, DVDs, and

    computers with Internet access.

  • There are two sun decks: one on the aft of the Erikson Deck with an outdoor bar and café, and one on the Explorer Deck.

  • Laundry services (no dry cleaning), a hair salon, and a small doctor’s of ce are available. Rates are posted on board.

  • The U.K. pound is the currency used on board. Traveler’s checks, Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are accepted for payment of shipboard accounts. 

 

 

Map:

Antarctic falkland southgeorgia map