Epic Antarctica: Crossing the Circle via Falklands and South Georgia
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Embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure on this diverse expedition — you’ll experience the spectacular flora and fauna of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) before immersing yourself in the unique history and exquisite, rare wildlife of South Georgia. Whether you’re visiting Antarctic research stations, witnessing a sudden minke whale breach from your Zodiac, sharing a magical moment with king penguins, or celebrating crossing the Antarctic Circle with like-minded travellers and crew, you’ll know this experience will live on in you forever.
- Explore the world’s seventh continent on the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, Zodiac and on foot
- Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife with an expert team of lecturers
- See the incredible wildlife of South Georgia, often referred to as “the Galapagos of the South.” This includes more than 30 species of breeding birds, including four species of penguin
- Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyage on South Georgia and pause for a moment at his graveside
- Explore the quaint, British town of Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands
- Crossing of the Antarctic Circle
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You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an 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.
As the ship sets sail in the late afternoon, you will begin your Antarctic journey, passing through the Beagle Channel. Named after the famed ship on which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents great photo opportunities to capture seabirds hovering overhead.
There are many activities to keep you engaged while we’re at sea. You can take advantage of the library of books available on your ship, chat with your shipmates at the bar, or spend time out on deck, admiring the sea. Your Expedition Team will also conduct a series of presentations to familiarize yourself with how to prepare for Zodiac cruises and shore landings.
The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore thanks to Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier feel to them. This is especially true of the largest settlement, Stanley, an interesting British outpost–type place, where you could just as easily wander into a pub as you could a church or museum.
Have your camera handy, as your wildlife sightings in the Falklands (Malvinas) should include at least three species of penguins, plus two endemic bird species—Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck.
Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you have the most memorable time.
En route to South Georgia, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts large cetaceans, such as humpback whales, to the area.
Evidence of the old whaling and sealing heyday is still found throughout the island. You’ll be surprised to learn that whale and seal populations were once decimated here. Today, their populations are strong, with massive rookeries to be seen.
One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Your visit to his gravesite at the Grytviken settlement, also home to an old whaling station and a research station, is a day for reflecting on what it must have been like to be one of the first explorers of this unforgiving yet beautiful environment.
Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will likely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on the island will open your eyes to a new wonder: one day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach; the next day you may visit another beach dotted with thousands of fur or elephant seals.
The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different bird and animal species. Your Expedition Team will be happy to share its knowledge of how these vulnerable relationships all play out on the island.
Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While you’re at sea, you can enjoy quiet time or take in presentations by your Expedition Team, who will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes each of them unique.
The experience is hard to put into words, but the most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and loneliness, and the next moment you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin.
Glacier hikes, visits to research bases and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal, or maybe you’ll come eye to eye with a curious minke whale while you are cruising in a Zodiac. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy.
If you find yourself wanting more, then perhaps you’ll treat yourself by booking our kayaking Adventure Option (reserve in advance when booking your trip); if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, a little shock therapy courtesy of a Polar Plunge might be what you need!
Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula do not come close to reaching this far south.
If conditions allow us to cross this famed line, we’ll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass of champagne and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, where there is the potential for fantastic iceberg sightings.
If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to journey onto land by Zodiac twice daily as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula.
Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.
After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.
Today you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and fellow travellers, disembarking in the morning to catch your homeward flights.
This trip also has an option of departing from/returning to Buenos Aires. A Buenos Aires transfer package is offered and will be quoted as an add-on to your cruise program. It includes:
- One night’s hotel accommodation in Buenos Aires, with breakfast
- Group transfer from the hotel to the airport in Buenos Aires
- Charter flight from the Buenos Aires international airport to Ushuaia, and return
- Group transfer from the Ushuaia airport to the ship, and return
- Combined airport transfer and express bus tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park after disembarkation
Adventure Options: Add an extra rush of adrenaline to your expedition by choosing from a wide range of optional adventure activities to experience the 7th Continent in a more personal way. Some of the available options are Camping, Cross-Country Skiing, Kayaking, Mountaineering and Stand-Up Paddleboarding. Ask us for details and prices for the available options on your cruise date.
Pre and Post-Trip Options: Getting to the Antarctic can be just as much fun as being there. There are multiple travel options you can add to your cruising adventure. Some suggestions are Introduction to Buenos Aires; Easter Island – World’s Most Remote Inhabited Island and Experience Iguazu Falls. Multiple programs may be combined if schedules allow.
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board
- Beer and wine during dinner
- All shore landings per the daily program
- Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader
- Helicopter sightseeing on one of the Ultramarine two-engine helicopters
- Hiking on the Antarctic continent
- Polar Plunge
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and special guests as scheduled
- A photographic journal documenting the expedition
- Photography guide on Expedition Team
- Waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings
- An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
- Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- A hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
- Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- All gratuities
- Emergency evacuation insurance to a maximum benefit of US$500,000 per person
- Mandatory transfer package as required - quoted separately
- International airfare
- Passport and visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
- Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
- Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
- Excess-baggage fees on international flights
- Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
- Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified
- Phone and Internet charges
- Additional overnight accommodation
- Optional adventure activities
- Arrival transfer in Buenos Aires on Day 1
Not sure what to pack? Watch this video on Packing for the Polar Regions to get an idea!
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.
Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.