We sail to the Weddell Sea where pack ice stopped Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Transantarctic Expedition, and retrace his heroic journey to save his men, to Elephant Island, then on to South Georgia. Summer is dramatic in the Weddell Sea, with vast tabular bergs and shifting pack ice that protects fossil-rich islands and historic huts. South Georgia is home to magnificent albatross, fur and elephant seals, and the world’s largest king penguin rookeries. Our “Crossers” attempt to follow Shackleton’s route deep into the island’s rugged interior.
Day 1 – Ushuaia
Day 2- 3 – South Shetland Islands.
Day 4 – 6 – Weddell Sea
Day 7 – 9 – South Georgia
Day 10 – King Haakon Bay
Day 11-13 – Fortuna Bay / Stromness
Day 14-16 – Scotia Sea
Day 17 – 18 – Sea Lion Island
Day 19 – 20 – Isla de los Estados
Polar Pioneer Ship – Polar Pioneer is a small and sturdy expedition ship. A regular in polar waters having initially been built in 1982 as an icestrengthened research vessel, she was refurbished in 2000 to provide a comfortable range of triple, twin and suite cabin options for a maximum of 54 expeditioners. Her excellent reputation for polar expedition cruising is due to her strength, maneuverability and size, allowing her to access areas where larger vessels simply can’t reach.
Days 2 – 3 – As we cross the Drake Passage, our naturalist and historian inform us about Antarctica and prepare us for the weeks ahead. Seabirds, then icebergs entrance us as we approach our first landing in the South Shetland Islands.
Days 4 – 6 – Sail through spectacular Antarctic Sound into the Weddell Sea, attempt a continental landing, watch for whales, visit magnificent penguins rookeries, search for fossils and begin retracing Shackleton’s epic.
Days 7 – 9 – At Elephant Island we hope for close views of Cape Wild, where Shackleton’s men sheltered four months awaiting rescue, then sail to South Georgia, with a possible detour to the remote, mountainous South Orkney Islands.
Day 10 – We enter King Haakon Bay and may make a ceremonial landing at Cave Cove, Shackleton’s first landfall. Near Peggotty Bluff, we farewell our alpine crossing party as they follow the difficult overland leg of Shackleton’s epic.
Days 11-13 – While our “Crossers” negotiate Shackleton’s historic route, we revel in some of the world’s largest king penguin rookeries, chinstrap, gentoo and macaroni penguin colonies, wandering albatross on nests, beaches thick with elephant and fur seals. We join our Crossers for the final leg from Fortuna Bay to Stromness, before visting Shackelton’s grave, the whaling museum and lovely church.
Days 17 – 18 – In Stanley, beautiful Falkland Islands capital, enjoy its excellent museum, post office, picturesque houses, welcoming shops and pubs. Sea Lion Island is home to extraordinarily diverse wildlife – from steamer ducks to magellenic and rockhopper penguins, ruddy-headed geese and cormorants, elephant seals and sea lions.
Days 19 – 20 – Magnificent seabirds accompany us as we pass Isla de los Estados and sail up the Beagle Channel to dock in Puerto Williams at dawn. Enjoy a tour of the lovely port before boarding your flight to Punta Arenas, Chile.
Vast tabular icebergs
World class fossils
Nordenskjold and Shackleton
Shackleton Alpine Crossing
Fur seals and albatross
Thousands of king penguins
Alpine Crossing option
Follow in Shackleton’s footsteps across South Georgia. It takes up to three days, weather permitting. Alpine climbing experience is essential.
Epic kayaking (including drysuit) is available on this incredible voyage for a surcharge of USD1,295. For experienced paddlers only.
Ushuaia – Ski town in winter, bustling port and Argentina’s “Gateway to Antarctica” on the Beagle Channel. Great shops, cafés, restaurants, museum and historic End of the World Train to Tierra del
Fuego National Park.
Falkland Islands – Elephant seals, fur seals and sea lions, whales, dolphins, five penguin species
(including the shy Magellanic penguin), albatross, cormorant and more than 200 other bird species can
be seen. Capital Stanley offers a warm British welcome and comprehensive war museum.
South Georgia – Swept by krill-rich waters, its glaciated mountains, offshore islands and deep bays are home to albatross, fur and elephant seals, rockhopper, macaroni and king penguin colonies a quarter-million strong. Follow in Shackleton’s footsteps, and visit Grytviken’s fascinating museum.
Antarctic Peninsula – Warmest and most accessible Antarctic destination, the west coast offers glorious,
alpine scenery and protected waterways. Enjoy Adélie, chinstrap, and gentoo penguin rookeries, where skuas and giant petrels feed. Zodiac cruise amongst exquisite sculpted icebergs, whales and leopard seals. Visit historic sites and scientific stations.
Across the Circle – Whether down the ‘inside passage’ or outside in the Bellingshausen Sea, our goal is to reach 66° 33’ South and toast Captain Cook, the first to cross the Antarctic Circle. If ice conditions allow, we explore magical Crystal Sound and visit historic huts.
Weddell Sea – Vast ice shelves, tabular bergs, strong currents and sweeping vistas.
Home to worldrenowned fossil deposits, huge penguin rookeries and two great Antarctic survival epics: Shackleton’s loss of Endurance, and the sinking of Nordenskjold’s Antarctica.