19 Day - Falklands, S. Georgia & Antarctica

Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica Peninsula

19 Days

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.

Day 1

Ushuaia

In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located in the shadow of the Andes and right at the Beagle Channel shore. We’ll sail through this scenic waterway during the evening.

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Day 2

At sea

At sea, in the Westerlies the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.

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Day 3

Falkland Islands

In the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) we plan to spend the whole day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. A hike along the shore of Carcass Island will give us views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl and Night herons and passarines. In addition, on Saunders we will be able to observe four species of breeding penguins (Gentoo, King, Magellanic and Rockhopper), Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.

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Day 4

Stanley, Falkland Islands

In Stanley, the capital of the Falklands, we can experience Falkland culture, which has some South American characteristics as well as Victorian charm. In Stanley and the surrounding area we can see quite an important number of stranded clippers from a century ago. All passengers are free to wander around on their own. We recommend a visit to the local church and museum.

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Day 5 - 6

At sea

At sea, on our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop by as much as 10 degrees C in the time span of only a few hours. Near the Convergence we will see a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship; several species of Albatrosses, Shearwaters, Petrels, Prions and Skuas.

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Day 7- 10

South Georgia

In the afternoon of day 7 we arrive at our first landing site in South Georgia. We might visit the bay of Elsehul, with its very active fur seal breeding beach, and then set course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Godthul, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Cooper Bay and Drygalski Fjord to give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the introduced Reindeer, Elephant seals, Fur seals, King and Macaroni Penguins. One of the highlights might be our visit to Prion Island, where we will witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering Albatross and enjoy watching their displays. At Fortuna Bay we might try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to Stømness Bay. There and at Grytviken we’ll see an abandoned whaling village, where King Penguins now walk in the streets and seals have taken over the buildings. At Grytviken we’ll also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton´s grave near by. We will depart from South Georgia in the afternoon of day 10.

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Day 11

At sea

At sea, where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel.

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Day 12

South Orkney Islands

We are planning on a visit to Orcadas station, an Argentinean base located in the South Orkney Islands. The friendly base personnel will show us their facilities and we can enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers.

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Day 13

At sea

At sea, where the ship is again followed by a multitude of seabirds. At some point we might encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we might have a chance to see some high-Antarctic species like the McCormick Skua and Snow Petrel.

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Day 14 - 16

Antarctic Peninsula

We will sail into the Weddell Sea through the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound. Huge tabular icebergs will announce our arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. We plan to visit Brown Bluff where we may set foot on the Continent.
Charlotte Bay on the west coast of Graham Land was discovered by Adrien de Gerlache during the 1897–99 Belgica expedition and named after the fiancée of Georges Lecointe, Gerlache's executive officer, hydrographer and second-in-command of the expedition.
At Portal Point there used to be a Falkland Islands Dependency Survey (British Antarctic Survey from 1962) hut which was built there between Brabant Island and the Danco Coast in 1956. The hut has been removed to the Falkland Islands Museum in Stanley.

Portal Point served as the gateway for a route to the polar plateau. Immediately behind the low point on which the hut was located the (usually snow-covered) land rises steeply upslope toward the plateau. The topography of the surrounding area is mountainous, with nunataks rising through the ice. Charlotte Bay is often filled with icebergs. Mostly we see seals on floes in Charlotte Bay, and occasional, kelp gulls, skuas, shags, or penguins. From the slope above Portal Point, and at its highest point, there are excellent views of Charlotte Bay. In Wilhelmina Bay we will admire the rugged ice coated mountains of the Arctowski Peninsula.
At Deception Island, we will try to land at Baily Head home to a colony of ten thousands Chinstrap Penguins (please note this landing is not always guaranteed and is only possible in good weather conditions). Good walkers may hike from Baily Head over the ridge of the crater into Whalers Bay, while our ship braves its entrance into the crater through the spectacular Neptune’s Bellow into the ring of Deception Island.
Deception itself is a sub-ducted crater, which opens into the sea, creating a natural harbour for the ship. Here we find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, thousands of Cape Pigeons and many Dominican Gulls, Brown and South Polar Skuas and Antarctic Terns. Wilson’s Storm Petrels and Black-bellied Storm Petrels nest in the ruins of the whaling station in Whalers Bay. We leave from here to the open sea with direction Ushuaia.

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Day 17 - 18

At sea

On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.

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Day 19

Ushuaia

We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.

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Included:

• Voyage aboard the designated vessel as indicated in the itinerary.
• All meals throughout the voyage aboard the ship including snacks, coffee and tea.
• Free use of rubber boots and snowshoes aboard ‘Plancius’.
• Pre-scheduled group transfer from the vessel to the airport in Ushuaia (directly after disembarkation).
• All shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac.
• Program of lectures by noted naturalists and leadership by experienced expedition staff.
• All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
• Comprehensive pre-departure material.

Not Included:

Any airfare; pre- and post land arrangements; transfers to the vessel; passport and visa expenses; Government arrival and departure taxes; meals ashore; baggage, cancellation and personal insurance (which is strongly recommended); excess baggage charges and all items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar, beverage charges and telecommunication charges; and the customary gratuity at the end of the voyages for stewards and other service personnel aboard (guidelines will be provided).

Notes:

Rates are subject to change without notice. It is agreed that if world fuel prices will reach or exceed US Dollar 80 per Barrel Brent 90 days prior to departure Oceanwide Expeditions reserves the right to levy a fuel surcharge of US Dollar 25 per passenger per night, to be paid by the contracting party of Oceanwide Expeditions.

Indicative Tour Cost

Per person in USD

*** Quadruple Private from Share Twin - $12,400.00

**** Twin with porthole from Share Twin - $14,900.00

MEALS:

B.  Breakfast included
L.  Lunch included
D.  Dinner included

Why Choose BFirst Travel?

BFirst Travel, a wholly owned Australian tour company, ATAS/AFTA accredited and helloworld affiliate. For the past 15 years we have specialised exclusively in Latin America. We know a few parts of the world, and we know them well. Our been there, done that expertise elevates your experience beyond the ordinary, to the level of adventure with comfort! "Travel is all about the experience, which starts with your travel preparations”.

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