16 Day South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula – Penguin Safari
The South Georgia and Antarctica: Penguin Safari itinerary is the fastest way to get to the seldom visited South Georgia Island while also setting foot on the 7th continent. As we set sail, photograph massive albatross and beautiful pintado petrels as they swoop and soar around the ship, guiding us toward South Georgia. Beaches teeming with king penguins and elephant seals greet us on this fabled island, where we’ll pay our respects to famed explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Antarctica awaits, with its soaring peaks and staggering expanse. Go further into the Antarctic sea on a Zodiac, experience the rugged peninsula from a sea kayak, undertake an exhilarating hike up a sparkling glacier, or share an endearingly comical moment with an inquisitive gentoo, chinstrap and Adélie penguin. In these ways and countless others, Antarctica will amaze, surprise and delight.
- Experience the quintessential wildlife experience of the “Galapagos of the Poles”Visit South Georgia’s king penguin rookeries – the largest in the world
- Reflect at the resting place of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton
- View the Antarctic landscape from air on 10 – 15 min helicopter flightseeing excursion
- Arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the tango capital of the world, and let us take care of the rest of the journey
Itinerary in Brief
- Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia
- Day 2: Embark ship
- Day 3-6: At sea
- Day 7-8: South Georgia
- Day 9-10: At Sea
- Day 11-13: Antarctic Peninsula
- Day 14-15:Drake Passage
- Day 16: Disembark in Ushuaia
- Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
- All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
- All shore landings per the daily program
- Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
- All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage
- Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
- Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
- A photographic journal documenting the expedition
- A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
- An expedition parka to keep
- All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
- All luggage handling aboard the ship
- Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
- One 10- to 15-minute helicopter flightseeing excursion (weather and logistics permitting)
Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia
You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port at the tip of South America. It’s the 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.
Day 2: Embark ship
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart!
Day 3-6: At sea
There are many activities to keep you engaged while you are at sea. Learn to identify seabirds that glide alongside the ship, or attend dynamic presentations by your Expedition Team. You will be prepped on safety procedures for Zodiac cruises and shore landings, and also be given instructions for getting the most out of your optional sea kayaking adventures (extra cost), a truly intimate way to experience Antarctica.
If conditions are right, the first indication that you are approaching South Georgia is the sight of birds around a group of rocky spires called Shag Rocks. Have your binoculars and cameras ready to capture these rocky spires rising out of the icy ocean waters. Shags and prions often rest here, and due to nutrient rich upwellings around the rocks it can be a good place to keep a lookout for whales.
Day 7-8: South Georgia
After enjoying South Georgia from a distance, we’ll head toward its numerous beaches to find a bay for your first excursion. Landing sites are varied, largely determined by the weather conditions of your voyage. Whichever sites we visit, they’ll provide you with wildlife encounters unrivaled anywhere else on earth.
South Georgia is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins and seals. It won’t take you long to realize that you are in a bird paradise, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.
You’ll find that South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.
One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement is the first whaling stations established in sub-Antarctic waters. Many travelers find that this place has a special appeal, as it is the site of the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.
Day 9-10: At Sea
Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is Antarctica! Your days at sea are filled with presentations and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife and landscapes that will surround you upon your arrival.
Day 11-13: Antarctic Peninsula
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica.
You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete isolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each excursion, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for Antarctic whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or cast reason aside and jump into Antarctic waters for the Polar Plunge!
Day 14-15: Drake Passage
After more than a dozen days of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your experiences.
Day 16: Disembark in Ushuaia
You will arrive in Ushuaia in the morning, which allows for you to continue your adventure onward or catch your flights home.
- International and internal airfares
- Passport and applicable visa expenses
- Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned
- Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
- Baggage, cancellation, interruption and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
- Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac landing and cruising excursions, or any other gear not mentioned
- Laundry, bar, spa services and other personal charges, unless specified
- Phone and Internet charges
- Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for expedition staff and shipboard crew
- Additional overnight accommodation
- Arrival and departure transfers, except where explicitly stated
- Optional activities not listed in Included Activities*
- Sea Kayaking – US$995 per person
- Stand-up Paddleboarding – US$295 per person
- Paddling – US$295 per person
Ocean Adventurer has long been a fleet favorite among guests and crew who’ve appreciated the charm and intimacy of this 128-passenger vessel, its ample outdoor deck space, numerous cozy spots to socialize onboard—and the outdoor jacuzzi. A few years ago, Ocean Adventurer underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation involving a talented team of marine architects, engineers, interior designers and polar expedition specialists. Quark Expeditions is proud of the enhancements to the much-loved polar vessel—which subsequently won the Travel Weekly Magellan Award for Overall Small Cruise Ship (500 passengers or under).
The refurbishments now enjoyed by guests:
- A refreshed, contemporary new look and feel throughout the ship
- The addition of six new twin cabins and three new suites
- All existing cabins furnished with new soft furnishings and brand new bathrooms
- Remodelling of common areas such as the Lounge and Dining Room
- Major technical enhancements, such as two new Rolls Royce engines, which increase fuel efficiency and minimize carbon footprint.
STAFF AND CREW
2 x Sperry Gyrofin (1998)
Diesel Twin Engines – 5,400 horsepower
14 (Mark V type)
220V, European plugs
12 knots, in open water