Home » RCGS Resolute: Christmas in Antarctica ex. Stanley
On selected departures.
Book now for the ultimate white Christmas adventure! Join the RCGS Resolute on a remarkable journey taking all the highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula including Deception Island and the Gerlache Strait. Watch humpback whales breach, penguins waddle and mammoth leopard seals lazing on the shores. Make the most of your time with regular zodiac excursions and take the opportunity to go kayaking amongst the glaciers. A Christmas to remember!
Duration: 11 Days
We depart Santiago this morning on our special charter flight direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. We are met on arrival and transfer from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides our first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds. Making our way to the port, we board our expedition ship, RCGS Resolute in the afternoon. After settling into 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 and cast off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.
We chart a southerly course for Antarctica. The Drake Passage is rich in bio-diversity and showcases a great abundance of wildlife. We will be joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife and history of the locations we hope to visit in the coming days.
There is great excitement when the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. This is one of Antarctica's most important historic locations and a fitting introduction. On the rocky beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and his men camped here for many months under their three upturned life boats, having lost their ship, HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. It was from this location that Shackleton and six companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing and crossing of South Georgia on foot is considered one of the greatest tales in polar history. If weather conditions permit, we aim for a Zodiac cruise to view the site from close proximity. This is a thrilling location for history buffs and sets the scene for an exciting expedition.
Navigating into Antarctic Sound we witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. It is an awe-inspiring sight. We notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs entering the Weddell. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south drifting here on the prevailing currents. Adelie penguin rookeries of staggering exist here – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. We have several antastic locations to consider but the ice conditions will likely dictate our landing sites. Gourdin Island and Brown Bluff are two such locations featuring substantial penguin rookeries. The region is also full of history of early exploration and has fascinating geological sites with thousands of fossils strewn over the shoreline. We have a busy day of exploration on shore, in the Zodiacs and on the ship.
The Gerlache Strait is an important whale migration corridor and we encourage you to be on the bridge or outer observation decks looking for the tell-tale blows of the migrating whale pods. With luck, we may even catch a glimpse of the resident orca group that inhabit this stretch of water. We have several interesting locations to explore over the coming days, such as Cierva Cove or nearby Mikkelson Harbour. This area provides great excursion options on shore, in the Zodiacs and for the sea kayakers. We start to encounter much larger numbers of nesting gentoo penguins with their distinct orange beaks. Chinstrap penguins are another species we will begin to view in the coming days. Kelp gulls, skuas and Imperial cormorants are just some of the sea birds we expect to observe. It takes a sharp eye to spot the snowy white plumage of the Antarctic petrel - always a treasured sighting for the bird lovers. We look forward to a special Christmas dinner prepared by the culinary team - what a place to celebrate the ultimate 'White Christmas'!
Anvers Island is one of the largest of the off-shore ‘barrier’ islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. There are several outstanding sites here as well as on neighbouring Wiencke Island. These locations provide us with opportunities to venture on shore, breaking into smaller groups. Enjoy a short or longer hike, wander over to observe penguins guarding their precious eggs or newborns on the nest, cruise in the Zodiacs or just sit and soak it all in. The choice is yours.
A short transit across the Gerlache Strait brings us along the actual continental landmass of Antarctica. A potential shore landing at Paradise Harbour will be a highlight for many – as you step foot on the continent proper, for the very first time. A nearby hike up a snow-covered hill provides staggering 360-degree views. A Zodiac cruise or paddle into the nearby ice ‘cathedral’ of Skontorp Cove is another memorable experience. If the conditions are right, we aim to offer our overnight camping program to all adventurers somewhere in this vicinity. We have all the gear onboard and an experienced team to make this a night to remember. However, camping always depends on the weather and this activity is never guaranteed on any voyage.
One of the largest gentoo penguin colonies along this stretch of coastline can be found on Cuverville Island, situated at the northern end of the Errera Channel. This is an important research site with the populations being carefully monitored by visiting scientists. Our naturalist guides will be able to tell you more about this important work. Cuverville is a good location for a Zodiac cruise and a circumnavigation of the entire island is sometimes possible. Other locations in the area we hope to explore include Willhelmina Bay. This is a known whale 'hot-spot'. This is a magnificent location with towering glaciers tumbling off the mountainous spine of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The adventure is not over and if the weather conditions allow, we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station. At the far end of the beach is an old aircraft hangar. This is where Australian, Sir Hubert Wilkins, made the very first flight in Antarctica in 1928.
The nearby Aitcho Islands provide some great hiking routes showcasing the colourful mosses and lichens found on the island. Gentoo and chinstrap penguins nest here and on the beaches, and we usually encounter seals coming and going from the surrounding waters. Fort Point situated on Greenwich Island is another possible location for a visit. Eventually we leave the snow-covered peaks of Antarctica behind us, pushing northwards on our return trip to the Falkland Islands.
As we make our way back to Stanley and the Falkland Islands, the educational presentations continue, and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts at the multimedia station and download your precious images. Approaching the coast of the Falkland Islands in the early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
This morning we find ourselves back in the port of Stanley. We say goodbye to our crew and after some free time in town, make our way to the airport for our return charter flight to Santiago. On arrival in Santiago our journey comes to an end. Onward regional and international flight connections may be possible this evening. Discuss the options with your booking agent. A transfer is provided to a downtown location for those choosing to stay and explore Santiago and the delights of Chile.
|21 Dec 2019 - 31 Dec 2019||$18399 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Main Deck Triple Cabin||$18399 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Twin Private Cabin||$19703 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Superior Cabin||$21442 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Superior Plus Cabin||$22022 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Shackleton Suite||$23326 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|One Ocean Suite||$26514 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
Located on Deck 3, two single beds, sofa lounge (that can convert into an additional single bed), writing desk and chair, ample storage, private washroom facilities and flat screen entertainment system.
Located on Deck 4, two single beds or a queen bed, comfortable lounge adjacent to a large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage, private washroom facilities with shower and flat screen entertainment.
Located on Deck 5, two single beds or a queen bed, comfortable lounge adjacent to a large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample storage, private washroom facilities with shower and flat screen entertainment.
Located on Deck 5, two single beds or a queen bed, comfortable lounge, large picture window, writing desk and chair, ample floor to ceiling cabinet storage, private washroom facilities with shower and flat screen entertainment system.
Located on Deck 6, two single beds or queen bed, sectional lounge, writing desk, substantial floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, washroom facilities with shower, flat screen entertainment system, upgraded linens and pillows.
Situated on Deck 6, queen size bed, upgraded linens and pillows, comfortable sectional lounge with club chairs, large desk, expansive floor-to-ceiling cabinetry, spacious washroom facilities with shower and bathtub and flat screen entertainment system.
*Expedition gear package
Included in the expedition, you will have free use of essential gears needed for the trip. This package includes quality waterproof/windproof jacket, insulated rubber boots, and a set of binoculars.
Camping in Antarctica is included in the price of your voyage (subject to weather conditions and availability). Please contact us for more information.