Falklands South Georgia and Antarctica Explorers and Kings

About the Experience

It’s rare that you can combine such juxtapositions as consorting with king penguins and nursing a pint in a twee English village.

The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica navigation is a blend of otherworldly ice, dunes, biodiverse beaches, ghosts and graves. For birders, the jagged cliffs teem with species in a cacophony that reminds of the undisturbed wildness of the utopian isles. 

As a “Floating U” student, you will learn about the controversial history of the Falkland Islands in the capital of Stanley (also referred to as Port Stanley), with its British outpost vibes. The Ocean Adventurer’s expert Expedition Team will also feed you all the intel you need to confidently point out a gentoo from a southern rockhopper penguin!

In South Georgia, you’ll visit the packed beaches and boisterous breeding grounds of king penguins–this region has one of the highest densities of animal life on earth. Can you hear Attenborough’s gushing and enthralled narrative now? Dubbed the ‘Galapagos of the Poles’, it’s home to over 30 million breeding birds and nesting sites of the wandering albatross. Thousands of seals, four breeding species of penguin and the largest colony of king penguins on the planet all live semi-harmoniously in this community.

South Georgia was an intrinsic part of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Endurance expedition. You’ll visit Grytviken, the settlement that surrounded the first whaling station ever established in sub-Antarctic waters. It’s also the site of Shackleton’s grave.

The 7th continent delivers endless days of congregating wildlife and the sheer, silent serenity of the Antarctic Peninsula’s topography. Insert a day exploring Stanley and this Explorers and Kings trip checks off every box from the Drake Passage to penguins to pints to genuine Brit fish and chips. Just add a polar plunge.

Please note: This is not an exclusive Wild Women Expeditions or 100% women-only trip. The Wild Women group size on the Ocean Adventurer (capacity 128 guests) can range from 10 to 40 women. In addition, the ship’s staff and crew (87) will also be co-ed.

 

 

 

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Falklands South Georgia and Antarctica Explorers and Kings

About the Experience

It’s rare that you can combine such juxtapositions as consorting with king penguins and nursing a pint in a twee English village.

The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica navigation is a blend of otherworldly ice, dunes, biodiverse beaches, ghosts and graves. For birders, the jagged cliffs teem with species in a cacophony that reminds of the undisturbed wildness of the utopian isles. 

As a “Floating U” student, you will learn about the controversial history of the Falkland Islands in the capital of Stanley (also referred to as Port Stanley), with its British outpost vibes. The Ocean Adventurer’s expert Expedition Team will also feed you all the intel you need to confidently point out a gentoo from a southern rockhopper penguin!

In South Georgia, you’ll visit the packed beaches and boisterous breeding grounds of king penguins–this region has one of the highest densities of animal life on earth. Can you hear Attenborough’s gushing and enthralled narrative now? Dubbed the ‘Galapagos of the Poles’, it’s home to over 30 million breeding birds and nesting sites of the wandering albatross. Thousands of seals, four breeding species of penguin and the largest colony of king penguins on the planet all live semi-harmoniously in this community.

South Georgia was an intrinsic part of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Endurance expedition. You’ll visit Grytviken, the settlement that surrounded the first whaling station ever established in sub-Antarctic waters. It’s also the site of Shackleton’s grave.

The 7th continent delivers endless days of congregating wildlife and the sheer, silent serenity of the Antarctic Peninsula’s topography. Insert a day exploring Stanley and this Explorers and Kings trip checks off every box from the Drake Passage to penguins to pints to genuine Brit fish and chips. Just add a polar plunge.

Please note: This is not an exclusive Wild Women Expeditions or 100% women-only trip. The Wild Women group size on the Ocean Adventurer (capacity 128 guests) can range from 10 to 40 women. In addition, the ship’s staff and crew (87) will also be co-ed.

 

 

 

DAY 1 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina

Day 1 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina

Your dream will begin to unfold in Ushuaia, “the gateway to Antarctica.” You may arrive at any time today but why not take advantage of an extra day or two of pre-trip exploration? This lively adventure hub is the most southerly city in the world and the capital of Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”). Here, travelers (both coming and going) are vibrating with anticipation and exhilaration. This is where the Andes meet the famed Beagle Channel and the grade school maps you coloured with a lot of indigo blue Crayola appear in 3D!

Poke around the vibrant artisan markets or slide into a café for your first authentic alfajore (an irresistible Argentinian dulce de leche cookie). It won’t be your last! There are several museums including one that is housed in a former prison (Museo Marítimo y del Presidio de Ushuaia). Learn about sailing, whaling and natural history in a museum hop or aimlessly wander the streets and absorb the town’s dramatic setting in a pocket of snow-blanketed mountains purring with travelers ready to embark on their dream. Make sure to try the king crab and local lamb, it won’t disappoint!

 

DAY 2 Embark

Day 2 Embark

In the morning, your luggage will be collected from the lobby of your hotel, safely transferred to the ship and stored in your cabin for your arrival. 

Ship embarkation usually occurs around 4pm. Your fellow Wild Women and jittery shipmates will meet at a designated location near the pier to board the waiting buses for transfer to the ship. Detailed information about embarkation will be posted in your Ushuaia hotel and discussed in highly organized-Virgo form during the (optional) pre-departure meeting on Day 1.

After the goosebump-inducing ship horn blast, our vessel, the mighty Ocean Adventurer, will begin her hotly-anticipated sail down the historic Beagle Channel which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Anticipation will be at an all time high as the thrill and magic of the 7th continent’s secrets are slowly unveiled. This is the world’s most southern continent! 

 

DAY 3 At Sea

Day 3 At Sea

Your days at sea will be seamlessly filled with engaging presentations and safety procedures for the upcoming Zodiac excursions and shore landings. These will be led by the ship’s energetic and expert Expedition Team. Expect dynamic crash courses in photography, wildlife behavior, marine biology, ornithology, geology, glaciology and history. In between the juicy presentations, you are encouraged to spend time on deck searching for wildlife. Or, swap travel stories with the Wild Women gals over a drink at the bar. It seems appropriate to sample the fine reds of Argentina to fully slip into the proper continental groove. 

DAY 4 & 5 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Days 4 and 5 Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

Have your camera charged and your body caffeinated as we approach the raw and rugged Falklands archipelago’s sub-Antarctic region landscape with its abundance of wildlife and birds at every turn. The archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, and the isles are home to Magellanic, gentoo and southern rockhopper penguins. If we’re lucky, we may even spot king penguins here as well! 

Over the next two days, we will explore East and West islands by Zodiac and on foot with daily shore landings. As “Floating U” students, we will learn about the controversial history of the Falkland Islands in the capital of Stanley (also referred to as Port Stanley), with its British outpost vibes. There is a distinct juxtaposition here of rolling green hills, talcum powder white beaches and–fish and chips! While Magellanic penguins like to hang out at Gypsy Cove, many of the ship’s passengers like to create their own noisy colony at the famous fish and chip stop or nurse a pint at one of the local Brit pubs.

Near the town, we may see Southern giant petrels (yes, they are the giant-sized ones), endemic Falkland steamer ducks, kelp gulls (who may be more interested in your chips than kelp but don’t give into their cries!), and dolphin gulls with beaks as red as a clown’s nose. The endemic Cobb’s wren is as elusive as a Cobb’s salad in these parts but this trip is full of surprises. We’ll be on high alert for black-browed albatross, black-crowned night herons, red-backed hawks, peregrine falcons and turkey vultures circling overhead too!

There will be ample free time to design your perfect itinerary in Stanley–grab a pint, visit the cathedral or museum or all of the above!

DAY 6 & 7 At Sea

Days 6 and 7 At Sea

Sailing southeast to South Georgia, there is an abrupt dip in temperature as we cross the Antarctic Convergence, the invisible biological boundary encircling the continent before entering the bracing waters of the Antarctic Ocean.

Here, the unforgiving north-flowing polar region waters  mix and mingle with the warmer south-flows of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Seabirds, whales and other species are magnetically drawn to the nutrient and krill-rich waters. 

Pull on an extra layer (this is why polar fleece was invented!) and head to the outdoor observation deck to look for the mighty albatross (the deck has a plexiglass barrier to stop the wind but it’s still chilly). They have the longest wingspan of any bird on the planet (7 to 8ft /2.1 to 2.4m for the black-browed albatross while the wandering albatross can measure up to 12ft/3.7m) so you should be able to spot them! If you need to give your craning neck a rest, scan the moody waters for breaching minke whales and bobbing icebergs. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are also found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals

Fun facts: 

The black-browed albatross can live up to 70 years!

Fur seals are the only seals with visible ears in the Antarctic.

Gentoos are the fastest diving bird in the world (35km or 22 miles/hour) which is unofficially on pace or possibly faster than Canadian Olympian swimmer Penny Oleksiak.

 

DAY 8 to 11 South Georgia

Days 8 to 11 South Georgia

South Georgia captivates every traveller that steps foot on its fairytale shores. Home to the greatest concentration of wildlife on the planet, penguins number in the hundreds of thousands, blanketing beaches as far as the eye can see. This is not the best place to play Beach Blanket Bingo.

Dubbed the ‘Galapagos of the Poles’, it’s home to over 30 million breeding birds including the nesting sites of the wandering albatross (notice the resourceful repurposed dung and mud construction materials!). Thousands of seals, four breeding species of penguin and the largest colony of king penguins on the planet all live semi-harmoniously in this community. Like the Galapagos Islands, there are no terrestrial predators and human presence does not pose a threat, permitting us to observe wildlife up close without disturbing their natural behavior. 

Let’s not forget the backdrop either: jade green bays, powder peaks and surreal glacier ice that deserves its own paint chip! We’ll absorb all the blues (cerulean, azure, periwinkle, cornflower, electric–what do you see in the ice?) by Zodiac and on foot. 

We will spend several days exploring this remote island and the history that bleeds out of its core. South Georgia was an intrinsic part of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated Endurance expedition. One of the most significant sites we will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement was the first whaling station established in sub-Antarctic waters–it’s also the site of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave. Our Expedition Team will revisit South Georgia of yesteryear with captivating tall tales.

Each day will be a total surprise. Landing sites will vary and be wholly dependent on the weather. Nature doesn’t follow a predictable plot but it will definitely involve standing in awe of the colonies of hundreds of thousands of penguins. It will also include the sensory overload (insert the punky smell here) of visiting beaches populated by sun-loving fur or elephant seals.

South Georgia’s diverse stretches of grasses, mountains and ribbons of beach all play a vital role in the breeding and survival of the island’s species. This fragile and interwoven relationship will be introduced by the impassioned Expedition Team members who are also part of the tight weave.

DAY 12 & 13 At Sea

Days 12 and 13 At Sea

As we push onward to Antarctica, we will watch the royal king penguins become silhouettes and blur into the startling landscape. Our days at sea will be filled with titillating presentations, workshops and a myriad of social activities led by the Expedition Team. If conditions are favourable, we may attempt landfall on the South Orkney Islands, our first official stop in Antarctica! 

DAY 14 to 17 South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula

Days 14 to 17 South Shetland Islands & Antarctic Peninsula

The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience settles the mind. It startles the senses. Few places are as untouched, pure and silent as Antarctica. 

It’s a land of extremes, isolation and transformative moments. From the unexpected rush of witnessing a calving glacier to the innocent encounter with a penguin inspecting your double-knotted shoelaces. During our Zodiac cruises, we’ll be scanning for Antarctic whales such as minkes. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Make sure your camera batteries are fully charged and purring.

Perhaps you’ll decide to truly be at one with the Antarctic Ocean (and the minkes and penguins) and take the plunge!

Plunge 101: The polar plunge is scheduled once during each voyage and the optimal location is chosen with careful monitoring and analysis by our Expedition Leader and Captain. The Polar Plunge sometimes takes place onshore or, in many cases, from the gangway or Zodiac (brave participants wear a tethered harness and their hearts on their sleeve!).

Safety is paramount on the Ocean Adventurer—the onboard physician always attends the Polar Plunge. Guides in survival gear circle the area in Zodiacs as fearless guests take their turn jumping or cannon-balling into the polar waters.

For those who would prefer to dip a kayak paddle into the ocean (instead of their body), we can kit up for a paddling excursion (for an additional fee)!

DAY 18 & 19 Crossing the Drake Passage

Days 18 and 19 Crossing the Drake Passage

After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, our journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, completing your Antarctic adventure. The famed Drake Passage has nothing to do with Canada’s rapper and media darling, Drake, though some millennials might assume an affiliation. Named after the legendary English explorer, Sir Frances Drake, the Passage splits the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from the southernmost tip of South America. As Melissa Etheridge sang, “the only thing that stays the same is change.” The Passage is famously unpredictable—it can be rough and turbulent or as calm as a curled up cat in a sunny spot—so be prepared!

Be sure to absorb these final, precious moments celebrating with your fellow Wild Women. Savor the silence of the sea and the indelible experience of the 7th continent below your feet.

DAY 20 Disembarkation in Ushuaia

Day 20 Disembarkation in Ushuaia

After breakfast on the ship, we will arrive in Ushuaia starry-eyed from all that we’ve seen and felt on the sea. The ship is scheduled to arrive at the pier between 7am and 8am. Please note: It can take up to one hour to disembark.

We encourage you to continue your adventure–explore the city a little deeper or discover the wilds of Tierra del Fuego National Park, the most southerly national park of South America. This bountiful park offers several hiking trails (choose from an easy stroll or strenuous quad-quivering climb) that wind around peat bogs, lagoons, woodland, rugged coastline, glaciers, pounding waterfalls and still lakes. Birders will go bonkers for the airshow of austral parakeets, Andean condor, Magellanic oystercatchers, kelp geese and torrent ducks.

Or, tightly embrace your Wild Women mates, decide where you’ll go next and head to the airport for a reflective flight home!

Airport transfers will be provided or you can opt for a transfer to town, depending on your post-trip plans.

 

Disclaimer: We don’t like to blame Mother Nature but she has her off days and weather conditions can change in a snap and affect our arrival times. Airline schedule changes have also been known to occur in Argentina too so pack a little patience with your extra granola bars. We advise not booking flights until mid or late afternoon.

Friendly reminder: Embracing the unexpected is an integral part of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage (this doesn’t mean you have to demonstrate a downward dog to participate!). There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned in this itinerary may be changed to others equally as riveting! 

 

Ocean Adventurer

The Ocean Adventurer has long been a fleet favorite among guests and crew who’ve appreciated the charm of this nimble vessel, its ample outdoor deck space, numerous cozy spots to socialize onboard, the outdoor jacuzzi and, of course, the intimacy of a 128-passenger vessel. In 2017, Ocean Adventurer underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation including a refreshed look and feel throughout, plus a completely remodeled lounge, dining room and bar. All cabins received brand new bathroom facilities. Six new deluxe cabins, as well as three new suites, were also added. Major technical enhancements featured two new Rolls-Royce engines, which yield increased speed and fuel efficiency, and a minimized carbon footprint.

 

 

 

 

 

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Category 1, Lower Deck Twin

A Lower Deck Twin cabin has two lower berths, private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views. Please note that porthole covers may be closed during sea days or during inclement weather as a safety precaution.

  • Size (sqf): 117-132
  • Occupancy: 1-2
  • Bed Configuration: 2 twin beds
  • Class: Standard
  • Location: Lower Deck

CABIN DETAILS FOR LOWER DECK

Category 2, Main Deck Porthole Twin

A Main Deck Twin Porthole cabin has two lower berths, private facilities, and a porthole with exterior views. Please note that porthole covers may be closed during sea days or during inclement weather as a safety precaution.

  • Size (sqf): 113-132
  • Occupancy: 1-2
  • Bed Configuration: 2 twin beds
  • Class: Standard
  • Location: Main Deck

Category 3. Main Deck Window Twin

A Main Deck Twin Window cabin has two lower berths, private facilities, and two windows with exterior views.

  • Size (sqf): 115-160
  • Occupancy: 1-2
  • Bed Configuration: 2 twin beds
  • Class: Standard
  • Location: Main Deck
Category 4, Upper Deck Superior Twin

A Superior cabin has two lower berths, private facilities, and windows with exterior views. Note: this cabin has either corner or parallel bed configuration.

  • Size (sqf): 132-163
  • Occupancy: 1-2
  • Bed Configuration: 2 twin beds
  • Class: Premium
  • Location: Captain's Deck , Upper Deck

CABIN DETAILS FOR CAPTAIN’S DECK

Category 5, Captain's Deck Deluxe Twin

A Deluxe Cabin has two lower berths, private facilities and windows with exterior views.

  • Size (sqf): 144-179
  • Occupancy: 1-2
  • Bed Configuration: 2 twin beds
  • Class: Premium
  • Location: Captain's Deck
Category 6, Bridge Deck Suite Twin

A Suite has a double bed, windows with exterior views and private facilities. 

  • Size (sqf): 215-267
  • Occupancy: 1-2
  • Bed Configuration: 1 double bed made of two single berths
  • Class: Premium
  • Location: Captain's Deck