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Epic Antarctica: Crossing the Antarctic Circle via Falklands and South Georgia

Epic Antarctica: Crossing the Antarctic Circle via Falklands and South Georgia

Epic Antarctica: Crossing the Antarctic Circle via Falklands and South Georgia

Trip Details:

Operator:  Quark Expeditions
Price From: 13,195 USD
Fitness Needs: Light Impact
Program duration: 23 days

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About this program

Here’s your chance to take the adventure of a lifetime. Over the next 23 days, you’ll experience the stunning landscapes and wildlife of the Falkland Islands, followed by an immersion in the history of South Georgia.

Visit Antarctic research stations, watch mike whales from a Zodiac, observe king penguins, and cross the infamous Antarctic Circle.

Alongside expert expedition guides, you’ll learn about the unparalleled geology, wildlife, and history of Antarctica. Explore the small British town of Port Stanley in the Falklands, and visit the graveside of Sir Ernest Shackleton on South Georgia.

Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina

You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port town at the tip of South America. This Argentine town is an 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: Embarkation Day

As the ship sets sail in the late afternoon, you will begin your Antarctic journey, passing through the Beagle Channel. Named after the famed ship on which Charles Darwin voyaged, the channel presents great photo opportunities to capture sea birds hovering overhead.

Day 3: At Sea

There are many activities to keep you engaged while we’re at sea. You can take advantage of the library of books available on your ship, chat with your shipmates at the bar, or spend time out on deck, admiring the sea. Your Expedition Team will also conduct a series of presentations to familiarize yourself with how to prepare for Zodiac cruises and shore landings.

Days 4 and 5: Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

The Falkland archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore thanks to Zodiac excursions and daily landings. These rugged islands have a frontier feel to them. This is especially true of the largest settlement, Stanley, an interesting British outpost–type place, where you could just as easily wander into a pub as you could a church or museum. Have your camera handy, as your wildlife sightings in the Falklands (Malvinas) should include at least three species of penguins, plus two endemic bird species—Cobb’s wren and the Falkland’s flightless steamer duck. Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna so that you have the most memorable time.

Days 6 and 7: At Sea

En route to South Georgia, you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica. This meeting of oceans is what creates the abundance of krill and marine life that attracts large cetaceans, such as humpback whales, to the area.

Days 8-11: South Georgia

Evidence of the old whaling and sealing heyday is still found throughout the island. You’ll be surprised to learn that whale and seal populations were once decimated here. Today, their populations are strong, with massive rookeries to be seen. One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. Your visit to his gravesite at the Grytviken settlement, also home to an old whaling station and a research station, is a day for reflecting on what it must have been like to be one of the first explorers of this unforgiving yet beautiful environment. Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will likely find most captivating. Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing you make on the island will open your eyes to a new wonder: one day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach; the next day you may visit another beach dotted with thousands of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different bird and animal species. Your Expedition Team will be happy to share its knowledge of how these vulnerable relationships all play out on the island.

Days 12 and 13: At Sea

Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While you’re at sea, you can enjoy quiet time or take in presentations by your Expedition Team, who will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes each of them unique.

Days 14 to 16: South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

The experience is hard to put into words, but the most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and loneliness, and the next moment you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin. Glacier hikes, visits to research bases and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal, or maybe you’ll come eye to eye with a curious minke whale while you are cruising in a Zodiac. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain you and keep your camera busy. If you find yourself wanting more, then perhaps you’ll treat yourself by booking our kayaking Adventure Option (reserve in advance when booking your trip); if you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, a little shock therapy courtesy of a Polar Plunge might be what you need!

Days 17 and 18: Antarctic Circle

Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula do not come close to reaching this far south. If conditions allow us to cross this famed line, we'll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass of champagne and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, where there is the potential for fantastic iceberg sightings.

Days 19 and 20: Northbound Along the Peninsula

If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to journey onto land by Zodiac twice daily as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula. Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.

Days 21 and 22: Crossing the Drake Passage

After more than a dozen days of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.

Day 23: Disembark in Ushuaia

Today you’ll say goodbye to your Expedition Team and fellow travelers, disembarking in the morning to catch your homeward flights.

Country Fast Facts

Argentina

Flag Flag_of_Argentina.svg
Continent:South America
Official Language(s)Spanish
Capital:Buenos Aires
Population43,417,000 (2015 estimate)
Climate(s)Desert (Warm/Cold), Semi-arid (Warm/Cold), Mediterranean, Oceanic (Warm/Temperate/Cool), Tundra, Humid Subtropical
Major Airport(s):Ezeiza International Airport (EZE), Malvinas Argentinas International Airport (USH)
Economic Driver(s):Agriculture, Industry, Tourism, Energy, Foreign Trade/Investment.

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