The fascinating history and overwhelming wildlife populations of the Sub-Antarctic combined with the awesome beauty of Antarctica itself
The journey begins in the Falklands with its large population of Rockhopper and Magellanic penguins, along with Black-browed albatross. In South Georgia, the ship threads her way through magical fjords to Salisbury Plain and Gold Harbour, places so remote that they have evolved into astonishing wildlife havens boasting a 100,000-plus population of King penguins on their beaches.The voyage continues to an enchanted world of icebergs and ice-covered mountains in the bays and channels of the Antarctic Peninsula. This is home to an extraordinary array of wildlife: penguins of almost all descriptions, Leopard and smaller seals, and three or four species of whales.
All meals while on the ship included. *Typical Meals* The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks on sale from around the world. *Breakfast:* Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal. *Lunch:* Three course set meal, or the occasional buffet or BBQ. *Dinner:* Three or four courses with a starter of soup and/or salad, a choice of mains with at least one vegetarian option and a dessert, with tea and coffee.
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 cafe´ in town
The morning is free to explore Ushuaia and the surrounding area, to do some last minute shopping, stroll around the town and down to the port or maybe go for a walk in the nearby national park. The transfer to the ship takes place in the afternoon. Once on board there is a get together for introductions to the expedition team, to learn about the ship and its layout, talk about the itinerary for the next 18 days and participate in the obligatory lifeboat drill. Departure from Ushuaia is normally around 6:00 p.m, and we set sail through the Beagle Channel in the early evening. The long days mean plenty of evening light in which to experience the beauty of the channel, and to perhaps enjoy your first wildlife sightings.
We sail in a north-easterly direction, enjoying a series of presentations that prepare you for the coming adventure. On deck the first sightings of albatross and petrels add to the sense of excitement.
The rugged and remote Falkland archipelago contains two main islands - East and West, which we will explore by Zodiac excursions and daily landings. One landing that will surely stick out in memory is at Port Stanley. This unique British outpost has a ramshackle charm to it. The largest settlement in the Falklands, we’ll spend a day here visiting churches, museums, wandering around town and perhaps mingling with locals at a typical British pub. In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to a variety of penguin species, including Magellanic, Gentoo and Rockhopper. If lucky, we may spot King penguins here as well! We can also expect to see Black-browed albatross and many other bird species around the islands, including an opportunity to see the two endemic species: Cobb’s wren and the Falklands flightless Steamer duck. Our team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna in order to get the most of a memorable time in the Falklands.
Sailing south, we’ll enter Antarctic waters by crossing the invisible biological boundary unique to Antarctica – the Antarctic Convergence. Encircling the continent, cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, creating the abundance of krill and microscopic marine life that attracts whales and other species to this part of the world. Ship staff will be sure to keep you posted when we cross this invisible, yet important, line.
Reaching South Georgia you will observe towering, snow-covered mountains and glaciers when conditions are clear. South Georgia is the most mountainous of the many islands of the Southern Ocean and is a spectacular sight. We will cruise the more protected eastern coast of the island, seeking out suitable landing spots as conditions permit. We hope to get ashore at Salisbury Plain where colourful King penguins crowd the beaches in numbers that will leave you spellbound. The vast area is covered in a sea of birds: of adults and their young in hundreds of thousands. Another 75,000 pairs of King penguins nest at St Andrews Bay. Everywhere, albatross, skuas and Giant petrels wheel overhead, whilst Fur seals are found in good numbers along the shore or are seen frolicking in the water. At Grytviken, you visit the old whaling station, and the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton, undoubtedly one of the greatest of the Antarctic explorers.
En route to the South Shetland Islands there is sometimes the chance to visit Elephant Island, depending on the ship’s progress and the weather. It is from this island that Sir Ernest Shackleton set out for South Georgia in a small boat in 1916, undertaking one of the most remarkable sailing journeys of all time and returning 132 days later to rescue his men.
The most common reaction to arriving at the white continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, as few places are as untouched, unique and enduring as Antarctica. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete desolation and silence, at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into the brilliant blue sea or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear. Guided hikes with the Expedition Team will have us trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station, or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Gentoo and Adélie penguins are found here, along with Fur, Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard seals. Curious whales, such as Minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving us a chance to get within reaching distance of these majestic animals. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to entertain us.
Leaving the Antarctic Peninsula overnight our ship heads back across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage. The crossing is completed with the rounding of Cape Horn, weather permitting.
In the early morning you arrive back in Ushuaia where your voyage ends. You are transferred either to town on to the airport for your onward flight to Buenos Aires.
* All meals while on the ship * Beer and wine during dinner (except departures on Akademik Ioffe) * All accommodation * All transport and listed activities * Full complement of qualified Expedition Staff * We can include flights from the UK. Please contact us for a quote.
18 day trip with Quark Expeditions on the Ocean Diamond from Uschuaia to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula with landings by Zodiac in remote bays where we experienced close encounters with the wildlife, especially penguins and seals and whales swimming alongside the boats. The scenery was stunning especially sailing close to the icebergs. We were superbly looked after on the ship and the cabins and public areas were warm and welcoming and the staff couldn't have been more helpful. The food was excellent and plentiful and they catered well for my gluten free requirements as I am Coeliac. The expedition staff were knowledgeable as we had experts on penguins, ornithology, geology, whales, history, microbiology and photography. Praise goes to the captain as a mega storm was forecast as we were in the Falklands and we had to alter the itinerary to avoid it and though we hit some rough seas we missed the hurricane in the Falklands where the next 3 ships after us were stuck in the harbour there for 3 days. Ecology was a big concern and we had to have our clothing, rucksacks examined before each trip ashore to check there were no seeds and have them vacuumed, and boots and trousers were hosed down after each trip ashore then we walked through disinfectant.
An amazing experience: history in the Falklands; huge penguin colonies in South Georgia and beautiful ice and whales in Antarctica. I had high expectations before the trip but they were exceeded in every area. An unforgettable experience.
It was the most wonderful experience and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. Sheer excitement.
This was a trip that I had wanted to do for many years, especially visiting the Falkland Islands as that is the first piece of history I can really remember growing up. Several of my friends had also visited the area and said "it was an absolute must!". For me it is also a "once in a life time" trip although I would consider returning to the Falkland Islands as I would like to see the battle fields and more of the Islands.......but we shall see!
A real trip of a lifetime, although it was booked as such, I would love to be able to go again one day perhaps at a different time of the season. It far exceeded our expectations on every level.
THE trip of a lifetime, itinery exceeded expectations AND so did the weather!
The trip was wonderfully organised, good mix of landings and zodiac excurions. On the sea days, it was hard to be bored in between yoga sessions, penguin lectures and the entertainment. Visiting Antarctica, The Falklands and South georgia was a humbling experience... Rolling mountains, hearing the roar of avalanche, watching whales swim past the boat, watching elephant seals inspect you as you walk past them - you have the opportunity to be right there, visiting and co-existing with penguins and seals rather than observing them from afar...
Holiday of a lifetime, which will never be forgotten. Had an absolutely amazing time from start to finish. This holiday was beyond our expectations!
A truly wonderful experience. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to visit such an awe inspiring part of the world, and to have been made aware of the importance of keeping Antarctica and its wildlife in its present state for future generations.
This was a very special trip. We had fantastic weather and managed 19/20 planned landings by Zodiac. There was an abundance of wildlife, both birds and mammals, including some seldom seen birds and whales.
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
With over 45 years’ experience of taking people on amazing adventure holidays, Exodus can help you reach some of the most incredible destinations on 500 itineraries across more than 90 countries around the world. All staff at Exodus have a passion for travel and adventure, and some team members have been professional archaeologists, wildlife guides, overland drivers, mountain leaders, diving and ski specialists and mountain bike gurus. But that’s not all. This reputable company is a Which? recommended escorted tour provider and has won many prestigious awards, including Best Activity and Sports Holiday Company at the 2018 British Travel Awards.
Exodus is all about adventure and helping others to achieve their travel dreams by offering a fantastic range of guided group holidays, self-guided trips, tailor-made getaways and escorted tours. So, if you’re looking to discover different countries, cultures, environments, cities, mountain ranges, deserts, coasts or even jungles, the expert team at Exodus can help you plan an unforgettable solo, group or family adventure.
Each tour and adventure has been created to give you maximum value for money, often including authentic activities, as well as flights, accommodation and a tour guide. And as the team has developed one of the very best and most exciting collections of guided-group tours and self-guided holidays, you’re guaranteed the adventure holiday of a lifetime, no matter which one you pick. Trips include everything from family adventure holidays and walking and cycling tours to mixed-activity tours and seasonal getaways. You can also ask Exodus to plan a tailored itinerary from scratch or tweak an existing one, which means you can book a bespoke holiday that is designed just for you.
Need some inspiration? You can enjoy varied walks in the stunning Spanish mountains, experience the magic of Italy in Tuscany or explore the rich Sri Lankan history and culture by bike. Try a host of different activities in glorious Turkish surroundings, ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness or embark on a journey through India’s tropical south. Visit Iceland and East Greenland, see the spectacular marine wildlife in the Maldives or cruise along the mighty Amazon River in Peru – the options are endless!
When it comes to travelling together as a family with Exodus, all family holidays are specifically designed to offer a mix of education and exploration, with plenty of downtime. Each adventure and tour has been created with one of three age ranges in mind, but children outside of the 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16 age bracket are welcome to travel too. Plus, the price for children up to the age of 16 is 25% lower than the adult cost for Exodus guided holidays to help make your trip more affordable. From canoeing and cycling in the Dordogne to safari tours in Africa and dolphin watching in Costa Rica, Exodus offer family adventures all over the world.
Something that makes this adventure holiday and escorted tour operator unique is the loyalty scheme, the Exodus Collective. When you book your second trip, you’ll join the Collective and be given access to exclusive discounts, sales previews and special travel benefits. The more you travel with Exodus the more you’ll be entitled to, and your membership also grants you special access to exclusive travel content.
At Exodus, they make sure that everyone travels respectfully and courteously in a small group to minimise their impact and to ensure each holiday is a beneficial experience for all those involved. Where possible, they believe in putting money directly into the communities they visit by eating locally produced food and using locally owned and run accommodation. They also strive to provide as much flexibility and choice as possible to make it simple for you to experience a memorable holiday, your way.