Penguin chicks are playful, their parents coming and going from the sea with bellies full of krill. Fur seal pups are especially curious and sea birds soar in the skies above – a constant on any voyage to South Georgia. Areas covered in snow during earlier visits will have melted, allowing for epic hiking opportunities. Rusting historic buildings contrast the green tussock grass and white snowy peaks for which South Georgia is renowned. Join us for one of the most extraordinary small ship expeditions anywhere on earth.
Day 1 / Punta Arenas, Chile to Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at a central
location and transfer to the airport for our scheduled service to Stanley in the Falkland Islands (this flight is
included in the price of your voyage). After a short 90-minute flight we arrive in Stanley and are met on arrival
and transferred to the pier.
Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or
Scotland. It is charming with brightly colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and
several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the
Falklands War in the early 1980’s, is a sobering reminder of recent history.
There is time to explore the town, before we make our way to the ship for embarkation. After settling in to our
cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as
we enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off, bound for South Georgia – and the adventure of a lifetime.
Days 2 - 3 / At sea towards South Georgia
This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of astonishing
wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and
smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as make our way to South Georgia. Photographing these
magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on
hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of
our modern research vessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of
presentations about the environment, wildlife and history and the locations we hope to visit in the coming
days. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Shackleton is central to our journey.
Days 4 - 5 / King Haakon Bay and the Northwest Coast
These next eight days will be unlike anything you have ever imagined. Majestic snow-covered mountains greet
us on arrival in South Georgia. We begin our exploration on the southern coastline. We hope to navigate the
ship into the very historic location of King Haakon Bay. It was here that Shackleton and his men made
landfall in their small lifeboat – the James Caird, after completing the perilous ocean crossing from Elephant
Island, 100 years ago. From here, they set off to cross the mountainous spine of South Georgia – a feat
never before attempted. This is a very dramatic place, visited by just a handful of ships each season.
From here, we make our way around to the protected waters of the north-eastern coast. We can now indulge
in an in-depth exploration, navigating the ships into the bays and harbors the entire length of the island.
Elsehul Bay allows for great zodiac cruising and will be a possible location we will launch the kayakers for a
One of the most anticipated sites in South Georgia is Salisbury Plain. The black sand beaches and tussock
covered dunes are home staggering abundance of king penguin adults and their young. The rookery is
believed to have a population of up to 100,000 adult and juvenile penguins. This is just one of several such
king penguin rookeries on South Georgia. At the height of breeding season the rookeries are believed to
have more wildlife per square foot than any other place on the planet. You have to experience it to believe it.
The majestic ‘Kings’ are not the only wildlife on display as we cruise the rugged coastline. Fur seals can be
seen poking their heads above the water, the elephant seals will enjoy lazing about the beach, while the
skuas and giant petrels fill the skies above. Meanwhile, the albatross - our constant companion on this
journey - is never far away.
Days 6 - 7 / Fortuna Bay, Stromness, Grytviken and Central North Coast
Our adventure takes us next to Fortuna Bay, a majestic three-mile long and one-mile wide fjord. It was
named after the ship Fortuna, one of the original vessels of the Norwegian–Argentine whaling expedition
which established the first permanent whaling station at Grytviken, further down the coast. In Fortuna Bay we
can expect to see king penguins and elephant seals.
History comes into sharp focus as we continue west to Stromness and onto Grytviken. From 1912 until the
1930’s, Stromness (and nearby Leith and Husvik), operated as whaling stations and the rusted and ghostly
remnants of these old stations seem out of place in such a pristine environment. This area is key to the
Shackleton story and it was here, in 1916, that Shackleton and his companions, Worsley and Crean arrived
after their epic crossing from King Haakon Bay on the south coast. This is after having completed their 800-
mile journey by small boat from Elephant Island. If the weather co-operates, we hope to be able to hike the
last few miles across the saddle separating Fortuna Bay from neighboring Stromness, in the footsteps of
Shackleton and his men.
As we journey further to the southeast we enter the broad expanse of Cumberland Bay. At the head of the
bay lies Grytviken – the largest of the old whaling stations on South Georgia. A highlight of our landing here
is a visit to the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his loyal right hand man, Frank Wild. Frank Wild’s
lifelong wish was to be buried beside Shackleton. However his wish never materialized due to the outbreak
of WWII, a week after Wild’s passing in South Africa. Our voyage falls exactly four years following the
transport of Wild’s ashes to South Georgia aboard our ship, and some 95 years after his last voyage with
Shackleton in 1921.
Days 8 - 9 / St Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour and Eastern Coast
Our next few days will take us to St Andrew’s Bay and Gold Harbor - places that are teeming with wildlife
including fur seals, elephant seals and massive colonies of the colorful king penguins. As with all of our
landings we will exercise every opportunity possible to explore on foot with our experienced guides. Gold
Harbor is so called because the sun's rays make the cliffs yellow with their light in the morning and evening.
It’s an exhilarating location.
Drygalski Fjord at the far eastern extremity of the island has been called one of the most spectacular sites in
South Georgia and we think you will agree. If it is calm enough you can hear the glacier calving large chunks
of ice, reminders of what early sealers, whalers and vessels needed to pay close attention to.
Days 10 - 11 / Royal Bay, Godthul and Prion Island
Our exploration of South Georgia is far from over and we meander our way back along the northern
coastline. There are few gems we have in mind – including the old whaling shore depot at Godthul. There is
a terrific hike here up to a beautiful lake. Cooper Bay is home to a sizeable Macaroni penguin rookery
nesting among the tussac grass behind the landing site.
Nearing the end of our visit to South Georgia, we
hope to enjoy a shore landing at Prion Island – yet another spectacular location and some would argue – the
jewel in the crown.
Situated in the breathtaking Bay of Isles, Prion Island has been designated as a ‘Specially Protected Area’ by
the South Georgia Government, due to the breeding wandering albatross colonies at this location.
the largest wingspan of any living bird, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 m (8ft to 11ft), they spend most of
their life in flight, landing only to breed and feed.
Distances traveled each year are hard to measure, but one bird was recorded traveling 6000 km in just
twelve days. It is rare to experience them up close and personal and on land. We are exceptionally lucky to
be able to attempt a landing here as the site is closed to visiting ships between November and mid January,
due to the massive concentration of fur seals on the beaches. The boardwalks provide access to several
observation platforms where we can view nesting Wandering albatross at close quarters. Our visit to this
exceptional location is a fitting way to complete our exploration. Tonight, as we depart South Georgia, we
pause to reflect on eight epic days and chart our return course towards the Falkland Islands.
Days 12 - 13 / At sea – towards Falkland Islands
Our final days are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the
multi-media lab with our photography expert. For some, it’s a chance to catch some well-earned rest after a
busy eight days of exploration. The wonderful lounge and bar on our ship provides fantastic panoramas and is
a great place to sit with a book and a hot drink.
The educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our
Expedition Leader. A particular highlight of our return journey will be frequent sightings of the majestic
albatross, petrels and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Southern Ocean. Take
the time to enjoy a quiet moment on the outer deck and reflect on a truly remarkable journey to the farthest
reaches of the planet.
Day 14 / Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands
We wake to the sight of landfall in the Falklands. Approaching Sea Lion Island, we first note the very barren
and windswept landscape, exposed to the prevailing weather that originates in the Drake Passage. We launch
the zodiacs and go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife found at this location. Three species of
penguin including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper, as well as southern elephant seals and South
American sea lions are known to inhabit the area. King cormorants and striated caracaras are just some of the
bird species we expect to see. Weather permitting, we may have time to visit neighboring Bleaker Island -
another settlement on the exposed south-eastern coast of the Falklands - equally rich in wildlife. As we cruise
along the coast of the Falklands, bound for Stanley, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain.
Day 15 / Stanley, Falkland Islands, to Punta Arenas, Chile
In the early morning, we navigate through the narrows and into the harbour of Port Stanley. A transfer will take
us to the airport for our return flight to Punta Arenas in southern Chile (this flight is included in the price of your
voyage). It will be possible to connect to flights through to Santiago or other destinations in Chile. Otherwise
enjoy a night in Punta Arenas, or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
About our Itinerary: Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to our
itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The
above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and may change. The ship's Captain in conjunction with the
Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the
itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters
with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of
outstanding landing sites and zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may
not be ideal or when heavy ice may block out a planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage
you to bring to the ship.