Although officially south-Atlantic, the Falkland Islands surely have a sub-Antarctic appeal. The archipelago is a treasure-chest for Antarctica-minded nature lovers and photographers. The islands are full of wildlife, with vast colonies of Black-browed Albatross, five species of penguins, Elephant Seals and much more. They are one of the last "off the beaten track" destinations. Unfortunately the Falkland Islands have an undeserved bad reputation, mainly because of the Falkland War in 1982 so that many people do not know that the islands have much more to offer then just minefields. The Falklands offer a broad variety of spectacular wildlife, rough scenery, fascinating geology, maritime history, good hiking and, of course, the warm hospitality of the people.
The Falkland Islands are located about 500 kilometres (300 miles) east of Argentina, at Latitude 52º South. They consist of about 800 islands. The two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, make up the majority of the area, being comparable in size with Jamaica or Northern Ireland. The landscape is generally hilly and reminds visitors of the lower Scottish Highlands . That might have been the reason that settlers from Scotland and Wales felt at home on these remote islands. Even the weather has a resemblance to that of northern Scotland.
The island of South Georgia is one of the remotest and wildest places of the United Kingdom's Overseas Territories. It is located 1400 kilometres (850 miles) to the east of the Falkland Islands. South Georgia does not have an airport, the only access is by ship and it takes two whole days to reach from the Falkland Islands. The island measures approximately 170 kilometres (106 miles) by 30 kilometres (18 miles) and is completely mountainous, its snow-capped mountains rising to 2934 metres (9626 feet). The island has more than 160 glaciers dropping down into the sea. The landscape reminds visitors of the fjord coasts of Norway, one reason, perhaps, why Norwegian whalers felt at home during the whaling period.
Huge numbers of seabirds and marine mammals breed along South Georgia's Tussock Grass fringed shores. Save for the rusting remnants of the old whaling stations, the island is virtually unspoilt by man and so offers unique opportunities to observe the unparalleled wildlife and spectacular scenery of this most beautiful part of the Southern Ocean, a true Antarctic oasis.
The Antarctic Peninsula is part of the Antarctic Continent and is the southern continuation of the mountain chain that runs from North America through South America into the Scotia Sea. Here it continues as a mainly sub-marine ridge, the Scotia Ridge, until it comes above sea-level at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The peninsula consists of an 800 kilometres (500 mile) long mountain chain, the highest peaks rising to approximately 2,800 metres (9,186 feet), and numerous off-lying islands. The Peninsula offers the most dramatic scenery and biggest variety of wildlife in Antarctica. Visitors are easily overcome by sensory overload by the huge amount of ice-bergs, glaciers, high mountains and the abundant and tame wildlife.
M/v "Plancius" was built in 1976 as an oceanographic research vessel for the Royal Dutch Navy and was named "Hr. Ms. Tydeman". The ship sailed for the Dutch Navy until June 2004 and was eventually purchased by Oceanwide Expeditions. All cabins offer lower berths (either two single beds or one queen-size bed), except for the 5 quadruple cabins (for 4 persons in 2x upper and lower beds). The vessel offers a restaurant/lecture room on deck 3 and a spacious observation lounge (with bar) on deck 5 with large windows, offering full panorama view. M/v "Plancius" has large open deck spaces (with full walk-around possibilities on deck 3), giving excellent opportunities to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.
Kayaking option: $450 p.p.
NOTE: Prices and itinerary have some variations depending on the date of cruise. Please contact BFirst Travel for specific information.
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