Home » RCGS Resolute: Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctica – Mega Colonies
Meet the locals of South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula on this immersive adventure to the 7th continent. From the 100 thousand-strong King penguin colonies of South Georgia to the newly discovered million-strong Adelie penguins of the remote Danger Islands, this expedition has a special focus on the incredible wildlife that exists in the harsh polar conditions. It's not just penguins - humpback whales and huge leopard seal sightings are complemented by the chance to learn about the tragic story of Shackleton and the heroic HMS Endurance expedition. A truly extraordinary voyage!
Duration: 18 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 celebrating the arrival of a new year, and cast off to explore one of the most remote regions on Earth.
We chart a south-easterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds join us in the Southern Ocean and follow in the updrafts created by the ship. Our educational presentations continue and are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our on-board photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. We will also learn about Polar conservation - a theme particularly close to the hearts of our guides and crew.
South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs, we begin our exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour. The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest. South Georgia is a
thrilling location for history lovers and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us. We hope to observe several of the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here we visit the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. For many, being in the presence of the great explorer will be a highlight of the trip. An excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the restored church built by the original Norwegian whalers provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica. On-board experts keep us busy with fascinating presentations and lead lively discussions throughout the day. The great pelagic seabirds are sure to keep us company – and we anticipate excellent sightings of albatross and giant petrels soaring on the winds of the South Atlantic Ocean. As we edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. Excitement grows as the low-lying Danger Islands appears on the horizon. Situated at the extreme northern point of the Antarctic Peninsula, offshore from the larger Joinville Island, we cannot help but be excited about the days ahead.
Our excursions today will be dictated by the prevailing weather. Strong currents flow out of the Weddell Sea bringing variable ice conditions to the archipelago. We launch the Zodiacs to explore the waters around the island groups and plan to make shore landings at several locations. We will be struck by the immense scale of the Adelie penguin rookeries here. These are the smallest (and most comical) of Antarctica's penguins, resplendent in their black and white plumage. They are fascinating to observe, coming and going from fishing forays, and sitting on the nest raising their precious chicks. Our guides will be keen to share their knowledge of the penguin life-cycle and tell of the recent scientific research at this location. We notice an increase in the huge, flat-topped tabular icebergs as we navigate into the Weddell Sea and always anticipate exciting ice navigation.
This region of Antarctica is rich in history. The early Swedish explorer – Otto Nordenskjold and companions spent several years here in a remarkable yet little-known tale of survival. Just over a decade later, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the survival of his crew from the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (HMS Endurance), 1914-17, grabbed the imagination of the entire world. To this day, Shackleton’s journey remains one of the great tales of polar exploration and survival. Along with the Danger Islands, the region is home to a number of other sizable penguin rookeries at locations which include Paulet Island and Gourdin Island. Nearby Vega Island is home to some of the most fascinating palaeontology found in all of Antarctica. Fossils here tell the story of Gondwanaland, of giant penguins and other dinosaur species and early plant life on Earth. Brown Bluff and d’Urville Monument are other landing possibilities in the area.
Approaching the South Shetland Islands as we navigate south, we may aim for a shore landing at Half Moon Island – home to a boisterous colony of nesting chin strap penguins. A short hike brings us to elephant seal haul out. These are fascinating animals to observe as the naturalist guides explain the unique family dynamics and behaviour. There are several other nearby locations, including Yankee Harbour or Hannah Point which we may choose as alternative landing sites.
A thrill for many will be sailing the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. At Whalers Bay, the remains of a rusting old whaling station provide a glimpse into history. There are a couple of excellent hiking routes here – one up to a high point overlooking the entire bay. Another to the far end of the black-sand beach where an old aircraft hangar can be viewed. It’s from here, the very first flight in Antarctica took to the air.Places such as Cierva Cove or Mikkelson Harbour allow for some great excursions on shore and in the Zodiacs and it’s a good place to look for leopard seals on the icefloes.
The remote Spert Islands provide a fascinating lesson in geology. The island group is criss-crossed by narrow channels and coves and cruising in the Zodiacs or sea kayaking here is a real thrill. Seabirds nest on the cliffs above, while seals can be found resting along the shoreline. We enter the maze of islands and waterways along the Antarctic Peninsula and enjoying shore landings, Zodiac cruises and kayak excursions several times per day. Ship cruising into the Errera Channel, we have a couple of great landing sites to consider including Cuverville Island – with its sizeable gentoo penguin rookery. Neko Harbour is another possibility for a landing. A very active glacier can be heard creaking and groaning, and it is common to observe large slabs of ice calving from the glacier face into the dark waters.
As we make our way back to South America, the educational presentations continue, and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader. Join our photography experts in the multimedia room and download and back up your precious images. If weather conditions allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
|31 Dec 2019 - 17 Jan 2020||$30717 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Main Deck Triple Cabin||$30717 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Twin Private Cabin||$37094 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Superior Cabin||$39123 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Superior Plus Cabin||$39703 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|Shackleton Suite||$41732 AUD||US$800 travel credit!|
|One Ocean Suite||$43471 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.