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Antarctic Cruise - Peninsula, Falklands & South Georgia
Antarctic Peninsula
Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula
 

"These are some of the last unspoilt regions of the world"
 
We offer unique, small-group Antarctic cruises that allow you to enjoy the natural wildlife and scenery of some of the world's most spectacular and pristine shorelines of Antarctica.

Incredible Photographic Opportunities!

King Penguin with chick
King Penguin
Adelie chick
Adelie Penguin
Elephant Seal
Elephant Seal

Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Islands are some of the truly unspoilt regions of the world.  The mysterious White Continent, with its multi-colored ice caps, glistening glaciers and towering snow-capped mountains, offers unparalled scenery and photographic opportunities. Enormous numbers of penguins, whales, seals and seabirds congregate in the food-rich waters along the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic shores.

The future of Antarctica is crucial to the climate and ecology of the world. On most of our cruises we will have the opportunity to visit one of the many scientific bases.

We would very much like to share our enthusiasm and experiences with you. Our Antarctic associates have ten years experience and unparalled knowledge. They are experts in the design and management of wildlife voyages and offer quality cruises in areas that will fascinate and amaze you every time. All our voyages offer daily excursions that are uniquely prepared and constantly updated to take both the local environmental conditions and your individual needs fully into account. All of our vessels are regularly refurbished to ensure up-to-date expedition and cruising passenger accommodation.

 

Antarctic Expedition Cruises

Our small, specially designed expedition ships journey south, taking full advantage of the 24 hours of daylight during the austral summer. 

Ice-strengthened hulls and state-of-the-art equipment allow us to navigate through the ice pack and narrow waterways. Our zodiac excursions, guided by foremost Antarctic experts, offer the freedom to explore remote locations and observe Antarctica's Abundant wildlife.
 

The Expedition Cruise Ships we use are the Plancius, Professor Molchanov and the Professor Multanovskiy.
 
Our new polar expedition vessel "Plancius" is now afloat, freshly painted and alongside the dock waiting for her departure from the Netherlands to carry out - as scheduled - the first Antarctic voyage on 08 January 2010.

 

Our cruise itineraries include the Antarctic Peninsula, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), South Georgia, South Orkney Islands, and South Sandwich Islands. 

Map of Antarctica
 

 

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.

The history of discovery runs parallel to that of the South Shetland Islands. Here, exploitation was again the major force behind the early explorations. Nowadays the Antarctic Peninsula is protected by the Antarctic Treaty, which has been signed by 46 countries. The signatory parties have agreed to abstain for 50 years from recognizing, disputing, or establishing territorial sovereignty claims. The parties also agreed to set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation and banned military activity on the continent.

 

Iceberg Photography in Antarctica
Old Iceberg
Sunset in Antarctica
Sunset on the Antarctic Peninsula
Cruising in Antarctica
Cruising through Lemaire Channel
Seals in Antarctica
Weddell Seal

Climate
Antarctica can boast several records with relation to climate. It is the coldest, driest and windiest continent on earth. Although the Antarctic Peninsula is part of the continent it does not show these extremes. During the Austral summer temperatures as high as 15░C (59░F) have been recorded at the west side of the peninsula, however, the average temperature is around 2░C (36░F). Although blue skies and calm weather are common in the sheltered bays and channels, cold katabatic winds, caused by cold air accelerating under gravity from icecaps and glaciers, pick-up quickly and form a strong opponent for the Antarctic traveller.

Map of Antarctic Expedition Cruises & Tours

Sample Itinerary (13 days / 12 nights):

Day 1
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 afternoon.

Day 2 & 3
During these two days we sail across the Drake Passage. When we cross the Antarctic Convergence, we arrive in the circum-Antarctic up welling zone. In this area we may see Wandering Albatrosses, Grey Headed Albatrosses, Black- browed Albatrosses, Light- mantled Sooty Albatrosses, Cape Pigeons, Southern Fulmars, Wilson's Storm Petrels, Blue Petrels and Antarctic Petrels. Near the South Shetland Islands, we glimpse at the first icebergs.

Day 4- 10
A typical itinerary in Antarctic Peninsula could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.

We will sail directly to "High Antarctica", passing the Melchior islands and the Schollaert Channel between Brabant and Anvers Island.  On Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula and Danco Island, we will find a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. On Danco Island we can observe Chinstrap Penguins and possibly Weddell and Crabeater Seals. In Neko Harbour we will have the opportunity to set foot on the Antarctic Continent in a magnificent landscape of huge glaciers, other continent landings are for example possible on Portal Point. During the cruise we will also offer zodiac cruises such as near Foyn Harbour on Nansen Island and Neko Harbour.

When sailing to Paradise Bay, with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, we will have the opportunity for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords. In this area we have good chances to see Humpback Whales and Minke Whales.

After sailing through the Neumayer Channel, we visit the British research station and post office Port Lockroy on Goudier Island. Close to Port Lockroy we can also offer a landing on Jougla Point with Gentoo Penguins and Imperial Shags.

We sail through the spectacular Lemaire Channel to Pleneau and Petermann Island where we can find Adelie Penguins and Blue-eyed Shags. In this area there are good chances to encounter Humpback Whales, Minke Whales and Fin Whales. A visit to one of the scientific stations in Antarctica will give you an insight about the life of modern Antarcticans working on the White Continent.

Further south we may visit the Ukrainian Vernadsky Station, where we will receive a warm welcome from the station crew. Sailing north through Neumayer Channel we arrive at the Melchior Islands with a very beautiful landscape and again possibilities for zodiac cruising among the icebergs, where we may encounter Leopard Seals, Crabeater Seals and whales.

Day 11 - 12
In the Drake Passage we have again a chance of seeing many seabirds and to take advantage of the knowledge of our lecture team.

Day 13
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.

Note:  Please note that this itinerary is for guidance only. The exact program may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises.  
 

Falkland Islands
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.

Macaroni Penguin in Antarctica
Macaroni Penguin
Antarctica
Loading the Zodiac

The Falkland Islands are located about 500 kilometres (300 miles) east of Argentina, at Latitude 52║ 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 Falkland Islands might have been visited by natives from Tierra del Fuego, though this is not certain. One of the first sightings by a westerner was that of the famous British navigator and Arctic explorer John Davis in 1592. The first settlement on the islands was founded by the French navigator and explorer Louis-Antoine de Bougainville in 1764. De Bougainville landed with French settlers from the French town of St. Malo and founded the village of Port Saint Louis on Berkeley Sound in East Falkland. They named the islands "╬les Malouines", after the home town of many of the settlers, and this is why the Falklands are sometimes referred to as the "(Islas) Malvinas", as Spain later took over the French settlement and claimed the archipelago. Since 1833 the archipelago has been British, but sovereignty is still disputed by Argentina.

Stanley
Stanley, also still known under its former name Port Stanley, is the administrative centre of the archipelago. About three-quarters of the total population of the islands, which is about 2500, lives in the town. Originally Stanley was a tiny, insignificant outpost, but then, in the 19th and early 20th century, it grew in importance as a repair port for sailing-ships rounding Cape Horn. The severe storms around Cape Horn often damaged ships which then used Port Stanley for repairs. Ships that were in a too bad state were often scuttled in the harbour; several old shipwrecks near Stanley being a reminder of those days. After the Panama Canal was built in 1914 the Cape Horn route became obsolete and Stanley returned to its former insignificant existence, living mainly from the export of wool. But since 1982 Stanley has boomed again. It started with the British military forces that were stationed near the town, but later the Falkland Islands made money by selling fishing licenses to foreign fishing vessels that want to fish in the island waters. The Falkland islanders are nowadays fairly prosperous.

Climate
The Falkland Islands experience a cool Oceanic Climate.  It is often windy because the islands are situated in the stormy latitudes of the southern westerly winds or "Roaring Forties". Temperatures usually range between 5║ and 10║C (40║ and 50║F). There is little rainfall but rain and sleet can occur any time of the year.

South Georgia

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 first recorded landing on South Georgia was made by the British explorer James Cook, who discovered the island on his second voyage around the world. Hoping to find the long sought Southern Continent he was very disappointed to find that South Georgia was just an island. Cook landed in Possession Bay and claimed the island for the United Kingdom. Cook wrote: "...A country doomed by nature never once to feel the warmth of the sun's rays, but to lie for ever buried under everlasting snow and ice."

Soon after James Cook, Fur Seal and Elephant Seal hunters found their way to South Georgia, exploiting the animals for their furs and oil. In the beginning of the 20th century South Georgia became the centre of the Southern Ocean whaling industry. Mainly Norwegian, but also British companies, built settlements and whaling stations in the sheltered fjords. The business lasted until 1964, by which time most of the whales were caught and populations were low. Nowadays the whales and seals are fully protected. The Fur and Elephant Seal populations have recovered  and are again numerous on the beaches. The big whale species are also recovering, but slowly, and are now frequently spotted on our trips.

Climate
South Georgia is located within the Antarctic Convergence, an oceanographic border that separates the cold Southern Ocean from the warmer northern Oceans. Therefore South Georgia experiences a cold Oceanic Climate. The weather can be very variable. Blue skies with sunshine can be succeeded by violent storms within half an hour. The average summer temperature at sea level is around 7.5░C (45░F). Rain and snow are possible in any season.

Map Antarctic cruise - Falklands, South Georgia, South Orkney & Antarctic Peninsula

Sample Itinerary (19 days / 18 nights)

Day 1
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 afternoon.

Day 2
At sea, in the wester lies the ship is followed by several species of albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels.

Day 3
A typical itinerary in the Falklands - South Georgia, and Antarctic Peninsula could be as follows. This is a sample only, the final itinerary will be determined by the Expedition Leader on board.

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 instead views of Magellanic and Gentoo-Penguins, as well as close encounters with water fowl and Night herons. In addition, on Saunders we will be able to observe Rockhopper Penguins, Black-browed Albatrosses and King Cormorants.

Day 4
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 surrounding area we can see a quite important number of stranded clippers from a century ago. Especially for the birders, we will also offer a three hours excursion outside Port Stanley.

Day 5 & 6
At sea, on our way to South Georgia we will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic waters, the temperature will drop 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.

Day 7- 10
In South Georgia we shall visit the bay of Elsehul, with it┤s very active fur seal breeding beach, and then take course to Right Whale Bay, Salisbury Plain, Gold Harbour and Cooper Bay to give you a good opportunity to see a wide spectrum of landscapes and wildlife, like the introduced Reindeer, Elephant seals, King and Macaroni Penguins. At Fortuna Bay we might try to follow in the footsteps of the great British Explorer Ernest Shackleton and hike over to St°mness Bay. There and at Grytviken we'll see and 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. 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.

Day 11
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 Maccormick Skua, Snow Petrel and the elusive Emperor Penguin.

Day 12
We are aiming for a visit at 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.

Day 13
At sea.

Day 14 - 16

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 Paulet Island with a million pairs of Adelie Penguins and the remains of the Nordenski÷ld  expedition. At Brown Bluff we can put our feet on the continent.

At Deception Island, we will try to land at Baily Head home to a colony of ten thousands of Chinstrap Penguins. 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. 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. In the afternoon we may  land at Half Moon Island, where we can obsereve Elephant, Weddell and Fur Seals as well as Chinstrap Penguins, Blue-eyed Shags, Wilson's Storm Petrels, Kelp Gulls, Snowy Sheatbills, Antarctic Terns and Antarctic Brown Skuas.

On our way West, we sail to Cuverville Island, a small precipitous island, nestled between the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula. It contains a large colony of Gentoo Penguins and breeding pairs of Brown Skuas. From there we sail to Neko Harbour in Andvord Bay and through Paradise Bay with its myriad icebergs and deep cut fjords, while having chances of seeing large Whales. We will have opportunities for zodiac cruising between the icebergs in the inner parts of the fjords.

Day 17- 18
On our way north we are again followed by a great selection of seabirds while crossing the Drake Passage.

Day 19
We arrive in the morning in Ushuaia and disembark.

Note:  Please note that this itinerary is for guidance only. The exact program may vary depending on local ice and weather conditions and to take advantage of opportunities to see wildlife. Flexibility is paramount for Antarctic expedition cruises.

Penguin Sunset

 

Reservations

Gate of the Sun ę Inti Travel and Tours, Box 1586, Banff, Alberta, Canada, T1L 1B5
Phone 1-403-760-3565 / Fax 1-403-760-3566