South Georgia Explorer

From Ushuaia to Ushuaia
  • All Antarctic Cruises
  • South Georgia & The Falkland Islands
  • Small Ship Cruising
  • Wildlife and Nature
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Tour Description

Few places compare to South Georgia in terms of exotic wildlife and jaw-dropping scenery. This 15 day expedition cruise will allow you plenty of time to explore South Georgia in depth. 

South Georgia is home to some of the largest king penguin and elephant seal breeding grounds on Earth, as well as day after day of breathtaking landscapes. You will have days to explore the coastlines and make shore landings by zodiac. Visits may include; Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, which are three of the largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals in the world and home to three of the largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia. Also, Prion Island, home of the great wandering albatrosses, Grytviken, an abandoned whaling station,  where king penguins now walk the streets, Fortuna Bay, to perhaps follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. Other visits could include: King Haakon Bay, Leith Harbour, Stromness, Husvik, Cobblers Cove, Godthul, Copper Bay,  or Royal Bay (Moltke Harbour, Will Point & Brisbane Point). 

This voyage is perfect for those who have already been to Antarctica, but missed South Georgia, or simply for lovers of wildlife and remote destinations!

Viva's Best Bits...

Delve into the fascinating history of South Georgia -abandoned whaling stations, perhaps South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.

Wildlife galore: see some of the biggest breeding spots for king penguins and elephant seals on Earth

"Perfect for those that have been to Antarctica and regretted not including South Georgia, or simply if you want to be able to explore this remote region in depth!" Tara, Team Viva

Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Ushuaia

Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World,” and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Day 2-3
At Sea, sea life, sea birds

En route to South Georgia, you cross the Antarctic Convergence. The temperature cools considerably within the space of a few hours, and nutritious water rises to the surface of the sea due to colliding water columns. This phenomenon attracts a multitude of seabirds near the ship, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.

Day 4
Shag Rocks

This small group of 6 islands on the South Georgia Ridge in shallower waters. The nutrient-rich waters in this area offers a lot of food for birds and whales. The islands are named after the South Georgian Shags, known for their bright blue eyes and yellow patch on their beak.

Day 5-10
South Georgia

Today you arrive at the first South Georgia activity site. Please keep in mind that weather conditions in this area can be challenging, largely dictating the program.
Sites you might visit include:

Prion Island – The home of the great wandering albatrosses. The previous summer’s wandering albatross chicks are almost ready to fledge, and adults are seeking out their old partners after a year and a half at sea.

Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour – These sites not only house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia, they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals. Only during this time of year do they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the four-ton bulls keep a constant vigil (and occasionally fight) over territories where dozens of females have just given birth or are about to deliver. You can also see a substantial number of Antarctic fur seals here.

Fortuna Bay – A beautiful outwash plain from Fortuna Glacier is home to a large number of king penguins and seals. You may have the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. This path cuts across the mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall, and as the terrain is partly swampy, be prepared to cross a few small streams.

Leith Harbour, Stromness, Husvik – These sites remind us of the scale of the whaling industry in the early 20th century. Elephant and fur seals breed and moult here. Gentoo penguins also occupy the landing sites. Antarctic prions and South Georgia dive petrels may be observed, especially in the area of Husvik.

Grytviken – In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place – because they basically do. Here you might be able to see the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.

Cobblers Cove, Godthul – At Cobblers Cove we aim for Rookery Point to see macaroni penguins. Light-mantled sooty albatrosses nest along the coastline and giant petrels can be observed as well. Godthul (Norwegian for “good cove”) was named by Norwegian whalers and seal-hunters and remains such as bones can still be found along the shore line. Beaches are the home of gentoo penguins and seals.

Royal Bay (Moltke Harbour, Will Point & Brisbane Point) – Moltke harbour in Royal Bay was named by the German International Polar Year Expedition in 1882 and some of the remains of their dwellings are still visible. The scenery of Royal Bay is beautiful, dark sandy beaches, followed by the green tussock colors and finally dominated by the snow and ice covered Ross Glacier. Royal Bay one of the windiest bays on the island, zodiac cruising is spectacular. Approx. 30,000 pairs of king penguins live here.

Cooper Bay – Offers the largest chinstrap penguin population and gentoo and also macaroni penguins are present. Antarctic terns, white-chinned petrels, blue-eyed shags and light-mantled sooty albatrosses can be spotted too.
Drygalski Fjord – offers spectacular landscapes as the ships sails the narrow fjord, with ca. 2 kilometer high mountain peaks at a very close distance.

King Haakon Bay – British explorer Ernest Shackleton reached King Haakon Bay during his journey of 800 sea-miles by open boat “James Caird” from Elephant Island. From here he crossed to Stromness to ask for help to rescue his party at Elephant Island after they had left the Weddell Sea where their ship got crushed by ice. Elephant seals dominate the beaches. Birdwatchers will look out for South Georgia pipits, Antarctic prions as well as common diving and blue petrels.

Day 11-14
Westward bound

There may be sea ice on this route, south polar skuas and snow petrels could join the other seabirds such as albatrosses and petrels trailing the vessel. Eventually we reach the Drake Passage and you’re again greeted by the vast array of seabirds remembered from the passage south.

Day 15
Ushuaia

You arrive and disembark in Ushuaia, commonly held to be the world’s most southern city. It is located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, nicknamed the “End of the World.” But despite this stopping point, the wealth of memories you’ve made on your Antarctic expedition will travel with you wherever your next adventure lies.

What’s Included

Accommodation
  • Included Copy 20 14 nights accommodation onboard
  • Included Copy 31 Cabin upgrades available
Food
  • Included Copy 20 All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
Fees & Services
  • Included Copy 20 All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
  • Included Copy 20 Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
  • Included Copy 20 Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes.
  • Included Copy 20 Photo workshop
  • Included Copy 20 All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the programme.
  • Included Copy 20 Comprehensive pre-departure material.
  • Included Copy 7 Any airfare, whether on scheduled or charter flights, any visas
  • Included Copy 7 Gratuities, laundry, additional drinks, travel insurance
Transportation
MV Plancius | Arctic & Antarctic Cruise Ship

108 Passengers

Activities

  • Included Zodiac crusing
  • Included Shore based landings, walks
  • Included Visit Penguin colonies: chinstrap, gentoo, macaroni, king
  • Included Seabirds - albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.
  • Included Visit the world’s largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals.
  • Included Photo workshops
  • Included Witness jaw-dropping scenery
  • Included Onboard presentations
  • Included Learn about the fascinating history of South Georgia
Click here for dates & prices
Duration

15 days

Price from

$15,200 USD

Per person, sharing

Based On Lowest Cabin

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