Classic South Georgia
OverviewCome and join us to explore the unique beauty South Georgia has to offer. Early October is the time, when the elephant seals give birth on the beaches in South Georgia. You will not only witness these touching moments but also be able to observe, how the cows get to know their pups by vocalization and checking out their particular scent caressing and sniffing them for up to 30 minutes before nurturing them for the first time. Big elephant seal bulls will be most active defending their harems. There will be bull fighting on the beaches everywhere and breathtaking moments are almost guaranteed.
King Penguins are of course also around. As this species has an odd breeding cycle of 14 months, there are always huge groups of King Penguins involved in the breeding process no matter when one arrives at South Georgia. But in October there are particular possibilities of taking pictures of big gatherings of fluffy brown chicks guarded by only a very few grown up King Penguins. Black-browed Albatross, Grey-headed and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross have just started nesting in October.
The Wandering Albatross has been breeding since the previous year, so the chicks are sitting on the nest and waiting for their parents to come in and feed them. The most important breeding site for Wandering Albatross, Prion Island, will be closed from November 20 until January 07, therefore during the October voyage we have the chance to visit this extraordinary site.
There will be multiple opportunities to alight the ship and visit some incredible and fascinating parts of this unbelievable region.
Day 1: Arrival - Ushuaia
In the afternoon you will board the ship in Ushuaia. A welcome drink and then an introduction to the crew and expedition staff will follow, and you will have time to get to know your new shipmates. The ship will then sets sail towards the Western Falkland Islands (Malvinas), known for their rugged beauty and wealth of seabirds and waterfowl.
Day 2: At sea
The open bridge policy allows you to join the officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for marine life, and enjoy the views of the open ocean. These waters are also home to an interesting group of seabirds, which often ride the currents created in the wake of the ship, such as albatrosses and petrels. Join the expedition staff and naturalists on deck whilst you are at sea as you search for seabirds and other local wildlife, such as orcas and dolphins. An interesting selection of lectures will help you to prepare for your first excursion in the Falkland Islands (Malvinas).
Day 3: Western Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
With favourable conditions, our lecturers and naturalists will accompany you on your first excursion. On the western coast you might visit the following islands: West Point Island which lies off the most north-westerly point of mainland West Falkland.The attractive settlement sits on the edge of a small harbour on the eastern side of the Island, in the lee of Black Bog Hill and Michael´s Mount. The valley between these two peaks rolls over the center of the island to the dramatic Devil´s Nose, one of the Island´s main attractions. From here visitors are treated to splendid views of Cliff Mountain, the Island´s highest point at 1,250 ft (381 m), and the highest cliffs in the Falklands (Malvinas). This is where we will encounter a vast colony of Rockhopper Penguins and Black-browed Albatrosses, nesting together in close vicinity.
Carcass Island - Carcass Island lies to the north-west of the Falklands archipelago (Malvinas). A mature tussac plantation covers much of the lower ground below Jason Hill to the east. The availability of abundant cover and the absence of cats, rats and mice throughout the island have made for a spectacularly large population of small birds, which is one of Carcass Island´s most delightful features. Gentoo and Magellanic Penguins do also nest here. Peale´s and Commerson´s dolphins come frequently close to the shoreline to get a glimpse of the visitors as well. At the settlement with its beautiful gardens, you are invited to enjoy tea and cookies with the locals. Overnight you will sail around the northern islands of the archipelago in easterly direction to reach the capital, Stanley, in the following morning.
Day 4: Eastern Falkland Islands (Malvinas) - At Sea
In the morning hours you will have time to explore the quaint little town of Stanley and its wonderful Museum, souvenir shops and pubs. The town was established in the early 1840´s. Isolation and the weather conditions made life hard, but progress was gradual and punctuated by the extremely eventful times of involvement in two world wars.
For those who are more interested in the outstanding wildlife the Islands have to offer, you do not even have to leave town to enjoy it. Southern Giant Petrels often fly close to the shoreline. The endemic Falkland Steamer Ducks abound on the shorelines while Kelp Gulls can often be seen flying together with Dolphin Gulls. The less obvious but frequent visitors to Stanley area are Black-crowned Night Herons, Red-backed Hawks and Peregrine Falcons. Turkey Vultures are regularly seen on top of any prominent building. Many pairs of Upland Geese frequent the park and it might be nice to take a stroll around the gardens of town to see some of the singing birds as well. In the early afternoon it is time to set sail, heading for South Georgia.
Days 5 & 6: At Sea
An extensive lecture program will be offered during the days at sea. Expert naturalists share their knowledge of the wildlife and unique ecosystems we will encounter throughout our voyage. South Georgia is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth with more wildlife than virtually anywhere else on the planet.
Day 7: At Sea - South Georgia
South Georgia will come into sight! Though extremely isolated, it has amazing scenery ranging from high mountains and mighty glaciers to deep fjords and low-lying grassland. We would aim to visit the following sites:
Elsehul: Situated at the northwestern extremity of South Georgia on the eastern side of the knife-edged summit ridges of Parydian Peninsula, Elsehul is a beautiful little harbour. It is the only visitor site on the island, where colonies of Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses can be viewed from zodiacs within the protection of sheltered inshore waters. Right Whale Bay: a bay 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide, entered between Craigie Point and Nameless Point along the north coast of South Georgia. Today we hope to encounter a small colony of King Penguins, along with Giant Petrels, gulls and breeding elephant seals on the black ashen beach.
Days 8-12: South Georgia
Your exact itinerary will depend on local land and sea conditions but the following destinations are among those that we would like to explore: Salisbury Plain - a wildlife site without parallel. Several large glaciers provide a dramatic backdrop for the tens of thousands of King Penguins that nest in the tussac grass of this remarkable ecosystem. The wide beach makes for excellent walking as you visit and walk amoung the colony. Elephant and fur seals also abound. Prion Island - Prion Island is a beautiful tussac-grass covered islet. If you are lucky you will get the opportunity to see a breeding colony of Wandering Albatross on top of it. Climb to the summit on a wooden boardwalk, which takes us close to their nests and offers comfortable viewing platforms.
Grytviken - The rusting ruins of the Grytviken whaling station are situated on a level plain at the head of the cove, backed by steep hills and mountains. Now the site of the South Georgia Museum, the station remains a focal point of interest for many visitors, as does Sir Ernest Shackleton´s grave in the nearby whaler´s cemetery and his memorial cross on Hope Point. The scenery in this area is exceptionally beautiful even by South Georgia standards! Godthul - a 3km long inlet that lies between Cape George and Long Point. Gentoo Penguins are abundant on the tussac plateau and Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses echo off the natural cliff amphitheater that encircles the harbor.
St Andrews Bay - The surf beaten coastline at St. Andrews Bay is covered in penguins and seals and bounded in the interior by the Cook, Buxton and Heaney Glaciers. The bay hosts the biggest colony of King Penguins on South Georgia. Early in the season, the beach is also carpeted with fur and elephant seals. Leopard seals patrol the rocks at this end of the beach too, hunting for penguins along the edge of kelp beds. Cooper Bay - Cooper Bay is found at the southeast extremity of South Georgia. There is a wealth of wildlife at this site, in a spectacular setting. Chinstrap, Gentoo and maybe one or two Macaroni Penguins dot the tussac slopes and there are plenty of fur seals on the beaches. Fascinating volcanic rocks tower over small fjords, giving a stunning invitation for a thrilling zodiac cruise to watch wildlife from the waterfront.
Drygalski Fjord - Drygalski Fjord is also located in the far south east of the island. The glaciers found in this dramatic fjord have retreated significantly in recent decades, but they still remain one of the most striking features of this coastline, particularly the Risting and Jenkins Glaciers. With a little luck, we might see the glaciers calve and witness the birth of a new iceberg from on board the ship.
Days 13-14: At Sea
You spend the next two days crossing the Scotia Sea towards the Antarctic Peninsula offering opportunities to be out on deck, catch up on some reading, check through and edit our photos, or simply reflect on the magical experiences of the last days on South Georgia. Lectures and other activities will be offered throughout these days.
Day 15: Elephant Island, South Shetland Islands
We hope to have a chance to visit the enigmatic Elephant Island. Sir Ernest Shackleton fans will need no introduction to this historic windswept island. In 1916 Shackleton was forced to leave 22 of his men stranded on these shores, while he and five others embarked on an unbelievable last-ditch rescue attempt. What followed is one of the greatest rescue stories of all time. Every passenger will return with a greater knowledge of this gripping tale of adventure in a truly remarkable part of the world.
Day 16: At Sea - Antarctic Peninsula: Antarctic Sound
Our expedition team will prepare you for your experience in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands. Later today, we hope to arrive at the Antarctic Peninsula in the area of the scenic Antarctic Sound. Here we try to land at one of the following landing sites: Argentine Antarctic Station Esperanza - We will try to sail the passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which traverses the Antarctic Sound and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza are located on the western side of the Sound. Brown Bluff - Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay. Both of them might be possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula´s Adélie Penguin population.
Day 17: Antarctic Peninsula And South Shetland Islands
In the area of the Antarctic Sound, depending on ice conditions, we will try to visit one of the following sites: Deception Island - Deception is the largest of three recent volcanic centers in the South Shetlands. Sailing
through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing. Once inside, the rising slope of the black, cinder-covered volcanic rim can be walked uphill to a rather spectacular vantage point.
Half Moon Island - This crescent-shaped island, in the entrance of Moon Bay between Greenwich and Livingston Islands, is home to Chinstrap Penguins in breathtaking surroundings.
Day 18-19: At Sea
You now leave Antarctica and head north across the Drake Passage. Join our lecturers and naturalists on deck and search for seabirds and whales. You can also enjoy some final lectures. Take the chance to relax and reflect on the fascinating adventures you have had over the past days.
Day 20: Departure - Ushuaia
You arrive at the port of Ushuaia in the early morning and disembark the ship after breakfast.
The above itinerary is a guide only. Our exact route and program will vary to take best advantage of local weather and ice conditions and opportunities to view wildlife. Changes will be made by the Captain and/or Expedition Leader to facilitate the best results from the prevailing conditions. A daily program sheet will be issued on board.
Would you like us to organise all your pre-departure arrangements for you? Just get in touch and make your booking hassle-free!
Are you wondering about flights, deposits and other bits and pieces? Here are a few items of essential information that could help with the planning of your trip with Tango Tours. If you have any questions please just contact us.
Getting to Ushuaia (the starting point for all our Antarctica tours) is straightforward from most areas of the world, but you may find that the choice is bewildering, or you’re not sure about the easiest route. Tango Tours are experienced in planning flights and we are very happy to advise you on the different choices available. Because prices tend to increase closer to your departure date, we advise that you buy your international flight tickets as soon as you have made a decision about your trip. As an ATOL bonded tour operator, we can assist in your purchase of international flights. In fact, your entire tour can be protected under our ATOL licence by booking your international flight with us. Please note that 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation and is non-refundable.
As with international flights, Tango Tours' friendly and knowledgeable staff are on hand to book your internal flights within Argentina to Ushuaia. For Antarctica itineraries, you will need to arrive at a particular destination at a required time/date in order to board the expedition boat, therefore it is vital that you book the correct flights and times of arrival. Our ATOL licence will protect your whole tour if your internal flights are purchased through us. Please note that flights are non-refundable and 100% of your flight ticket price is payable on tour confirmation.
To confirm your booking with Tango Tours, we require a payment of 20% of the ground-based arrangements and 100% of all flights booked with us. The remaining balance of your tour is then payable 10 weeks prior to departure. For any bookings made within these 10 weeks, the full amount is payable.
We provide brief information about activities/ excursions in the itinerary, if you would like to know more we are very happy to provide more in-depth details. Please note all itineraries may be subject to change.