Day 1: Embarkation in Ushuaia In the afternoon, we embark in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world located at the Beagle Channel and sail through this scenic waterway for the rest of the evening. Day 2 - 5: At sea On our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic currents, the temperature will drop considerably in the time span of only a few hours. Nutritious water is brought to the surface by the colliding water columns, which brings a multitude of seabirds near the ship: several species of albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, prions and Skuas will be possible to see during this crossing along with several species of whales and dolphins. Day 6 – 10: South Georgia South Georgia is one of the most amazing places in the world. The density of wildlife is second to none anywhere on Earth and the autumn spells the peak of the King penguin numbers on the island. Many king penguin chicks have newly hatched and yet many more parents are still on eggs. Life is teaming on the beaches with the constant coming and going of King penguins as well as the countless Antarctic fur seal pups playing in the surf before beginning adulthood in the open sea. Huge Southern elephant seals may be seen hauled out moulting at this time of year along with the endemic species South Georgia pipit and South Georgia pintail proliferating after the island-wide rat eradication has taken hold. Macaroni penguin chicks are fledging and the Gentoo penguins may be seen moulting in places. The eggs of the Wandering albatrosses have started to hatch and if luck dictates that a landing at Prion Island is possible, a rare site of the white fluffy chick of this most majestic of birds, may be seen. Light-mantled albatross and Grey-headed albatross also breed on the island and chances are that we can get great encounters with these birds too. Humpback whales, Fin whales, Minke whales, and possibly even Southern right whales and Blue whales may be spotted during the trip too. Weather conditions on South Georgia can be challenging and will largely dictate the program. Sites that may be visited include: Prion Island, where we may witness the breeding efforts of the huge Wandering albatrosses. In Fortuna Bay penguins and seals inhabit the beaches. We may follow the final section of Shackleton’s route to Stromness, the abandoned whaling village. The route leads us across the mountain pass past the “Shackleton Waterfall”. The terrain is partly swampy and some small streams may have to be crossed along the way. At Grytviken, we will also see an abandoned whaling station, where King penguins now walk in the streets and Elephant seals have taken residency. Here we will also offer a visit to the Whaling History Museum as well as to Shackleton’s grave nearby. Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, and Right Whale Bay house the four largest King penguin colonies in South Georgia whereas Copper Bay offers a wide variety of wildlife including Macaroni, Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins. We aim to depart after a pre-breakfast activity on day 10. Day 11 - 15: At sea towards Montevideo, Uruguay Once again we will cross the Antarctic Convergence zone and head into warmer waters. The birdlife is prolific around the ship with numerous species of tube-noses that will follow the ship throughout or sea days north. Keep a sharp lookout for rare species of birds and mammals on the way north. In the past fascinating encounters with rarely seen species have been logged at this time of year. Day 16: Montevideo We arrive in the morning in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay and disembark. PLEASE NOTE A typical itinerary to South Georgia is illustrated above. All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions, the availability of landing sites and opportunities to see wildlife. The Expedition Leader on board will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of m/v Plancius is 10.5 knots.
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 completely rebuilt as a 114-passenger vessel in 2009. M/V "Plancius" complies with the latest SOLAS-regulations (Safety Of Life At Sea), is classed by Lloyd's Register in London and flies the Dutch flag. M/V "Plancius" accommodates 114 passengers in 53 passenger cabins with private toilet and shower in 4 quadruple porthole cabins, 2 triple porthole cabins, 9 twin porthole cabins, 26 twin cabins with window and 2 twin deluxe cabins, all (ca. 15 square metres) and 10 twin superior cabins (ca. 21 square metres).