South Georgia & the Antarctic Peninsula (2016/2017 Season)

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Trip code: 
PSM
Activity:
Polar Holidays
Min age:
12
Group size:
1–199

Combining the fascinating history and overwhelming wildlife populations of South Georgia with the awesome beauty of Antarctica itself.

The journey begins sailing east to South Georgia where Ernest Shackelton is buried under the spectacular ice crowned mountains. 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 and chicks on their beaches. The island also supports significant populations of Elephant and Fur seals. The voyage continues to the South Orkney Islands and then enters an enchanted world of icebergs and ice-covered mountains approaching 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.

Highlights

Explore South Georgia, with its remarkable history and spectacular wildlife Visit the stunning Antarctic Peninsula Incredible wildlife viewing including seabirds, penguins, seals and whales Travel on a small expedition vessel (approx 100 passengers) Accompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff

Key information

14 nights on the ship, one night hotel in Buenos Aires

King penguins

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Buenos Aires.

    Our journey begins in Buenos Aires where we will overnight in a hotel.

  • Day 2

    Fly to Ushuaia, board ship and sail along the Beagle Channel.

    After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Ushuaia, Argentina. Upon arrival, there will be a little time to explore this quaint port town before heading to the pier. 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 10 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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

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  • Day 4

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  • Day 5

    At sea sailing towards South Georgia.

    The Expedition Team will give a number of fun and informative lectures during our time at sea. Reaching the Antarctic Convergence is the first taste of what makes polar travel special. Here, the cold Antarctic waters meet and mix with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic oceans, creating the abundance of marine life that attracts whales and other species to this part of the world.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

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  • Day 7

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  • Day 8

    Exploring South Georgia.

    Once ruled by sealers and whalers, things have changed greatly on South Georgia; the once exploited and nearly vanquished seal and whale populations are now thriving. Penguins abound here as well, with four different species to be on the lookout for. Some are a bit elusive, but the King penguins are impossible to miss, as their rookeries here number into the hundreds of thousands! Often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, South Georgia contains an exceptional quantity of wildlife. Each landing we make on South Georgia will open our eyes to a new wonder of wildlife, including the odd Elephant seal.

    One significant and historic site that will be of interest is the grave of the great explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton. We visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, museum and a small gift shop, church and scientific research station.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

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  • Day 10

    At sea sailing towards the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

    Antarctica awaits, along with its own penguin and seal species. While at sea, we can enjoy some quiet time or take in presentations by the Expedition Team, which will cover everything from the history and geology of Antarctica to tips on identifying different species and what makes them each unique. With good weather conditions, a landing at the South Orkney Islands may mark our official landing on Antarctica.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

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  • Day 12

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  • Day 13

    South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula

    Arriving in Antarctica is often a surprisingly emotional moment, filled with a sense of reverence and awe. No other place on earth is like Antarctica, which is a land of extremes. Complete silence in the middle of the day is something we’re unaccustomed to in our busy lives, so Antarctica puts many people into a contemplative mood. But not for too long, as a calving glacier may break the silence or a penguin comes waddling by to inspect your footwear.

    Trekking up a glacier, visiting a research station or going on a Zodiac cruise amongst massive icebergs will become daily activities. It won’t take long to be able tell the difference between Weddell, Fur, Crabeater and Leopard seals either, which are all found in this part of Antarctica. Curious whales, such as Minkes, are often attracted to Zodiacs as well, giving the chance to get close to these majestic animals. Every journey is full of surprises, even for our experienced Expedition Team, which means each journey will be unlike any before, or after it. This is untamed, unscripted nature at its best!

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

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  • Day 15

    Cross the Drake Passage.

    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.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 16

    Disembark in Ushuaia and fly to Buenos Aires.

    We will arrive back in Ushuaia in the morning. We will disembark after breakfast. There will be a short tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park before we transfer to the airoprt for the return group charter flight to Buenos Aires, where our adventure ends.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

Antarctica

No visa required for British passport holders.

South Georgia

No visa required for British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports.

Argentina

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay.

No visa required for holders of British passport.

The Argentine government charges a reciprocity fee which applies to Canadian and Australian citizens. The amounts are as follows: Australians - US$100 (multiple entry) Canadians - US$75 (single entry) This fee must be paid before you enter Argentina. For full details, and to make the payment, please visit: https://virtual.provinciapagos.com.ar/ArgentineTaxes

Vaccinations

Antarctica

There are no specific health risks.

Argentina

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers in Argentina, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

Dengue fever is also a known risk in Argentina. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Due to a recent outbreak of Yellow Fever in the Misiones province of Argentina, vaccinations are strongly recommended if you intend to visit the Iguazu Falls.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a .

Eating and Drinking

All meals while on the ship included. 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 from around the world on sale. 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.

Weather

Late Spring and Early Summer November The start of the season and the most adventurous time to travel. You’ll encounter truly breathtaking, exquisitely sculpted icebergs emerging from their frozen hibernation. Many of these blue bergs house courting, nesting and brooding penguins. In the Falklands flowers are coming into bloom. High Summer January and February Close to the solstice you’ll experience almost perpetual daylight. These are the mildest months when the first Adelie and Gentoo penguin chicks are hatched. It’s also the time to encounter seal pups on South Georgia. As the water warms the whale sightings also improve. Late Summer February and March This is the time for some incredible encounters with whales, especially Minkes and Humpbacks. The receding ice allows for further exploration and penguin colonies are very active with adults feeding their chicks.

Is this trip for you?

Travelling Conditions The voyages are designed to be as flexible as possible, taking advantage of circumstances and events as they occur, as well as passengers' wishes and particular interests wherever possible. The atmosphere on board is relaxed and friendly with expedition staff, including naturalists and Polar experts, on hand and the opportunity to mingle with people from all over the world. The ship is kept warm, clean and comfortable with a wet/mud room in which to hang gear and store boots ready for the next adventure. On the Zodiac cruises you are sitting still for most of the time with the potential for some sea spray and a cold headwind - if you are not dressed appropriately you will get cold. On the shore excursions, the majority of landings are wet which means that the Zodiacs beach and you are helped to slide into the ankle deep shore break before walking up onto dry land (wellington boots are issued to all passengers). There are, of course, no paths, so be prepared for slippery, rough terrain and sometimes fairly deep snow. Back on board the cosy ship after each adventure, you can have a sauna and/or a hot shower and then relax with a tea, coffee, hot chocolate or something stronger from the bar. Optional activities On some occasions, space is limited on the optional activities and needs to be booked in advance. Please ask our Polar Sales team for more information if you are interested in one of the options below. Sea kayaking option On many of our Antarctic voyages there is the chance for some members of the party to take regular sea kayak excursions in place of the Zodiac excursions. There are a limited number of kayaks on each ship, and you must book and pay for this option in advance. All kayak trips are expertly guided, and are subject to suitable locations and weather conditions. Should the kayaking not be possible, a place on a Zodiac is always available.

Accommodation

Polar Adventure Ship

The South Georgia & the Antarctic Peninsula is offered on the Ocean Endeavour which is a Polar Adventure Ship. Please visit our website to access Ship Information and Deck Plans.

Polar Adventure Ships
These are small ice rated vessels well qualified for Polar waters. Intimate adventures are always more enjoyable with like-minded passengers and staff, so these voyages are for people who like flexible itineraries and plenty to keep them busy. Activities include frequent Zodiac excursions, trekking, kayaking and many hours on deck in areas that other ships only dream about accessing. Food and staff are superb and every guest benefits from the technical advances of this superb fleet. Rest assured our Polar Adventure Ships enable any traveller to maximize their experience sensitively in the Poles.

Expert Blog Entries

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 0208 772 3936