Tuesday 23rd of November 2021 until Sunday 12th of December 2021
Antarctic Solar Eclipse 2021 - 20 Days / 19 Nights - from $23015* per person (with Eclipse Travel).
Join this 20 day cruise visiting Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica. The vessel will be positioned directly under the path of totality to view the Solar Eclipse.
November 23, 2003 was the first time ever that a total solar eclipse had been witnessed in this region and the path of the Moon’s umbral shadow quickly passed over a section of the white continent. Those lucky enough to witness it might have thought this was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience, however in the early hours of December 4, 2021 a second eclipse will take place as we sail to South Georgia and towards the Antarctic Peninsula on-board the Akademik Ioffe. Prior to the eclipse event we explore the wildlife-rich Falkland Islands and remote South Georgia before reaching Antarctica. This is an already incredible voyage to Antarctica, coupled with the once in a lifetime opportunity to be aboard a vessel being specifically positioned directly under the path of the eclipse. Closer to departure time we will announce our prestigious tour host, who will accompany us for the voyage. This opportunity is simply too amazing to pass up.
Day 1: Arrive in Ushuaia and embark ship
Our epic journey to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica commences this afternoon in Ushuaia, in southern Argentina. We gather at our central meeting point and transfer to the pier and embark our expedition ship. After settling in to 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 dinner and cast off for the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 2: At sea towards Falkland Islands
Sailing northeast towards the Falkland Islands we are joined by hundreds of seabirds, including the wandering albatross, who we come to know well on this journey. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel.
Throughout the journey our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, the wildlife, history and locations - as well as some interesting details about the upcoming solar eclipse.
Day 3-4: The Falkland Islands
Having arrived in the Falkland Islands overnight, we launch the Zodiacs and are excited to make our first shore excursion this morning. Our plan will be to explore several locations in the West Falkland archipelago. These remote islands are home to a proliferation of seabirds and migratory birds including the stunning black- browed albatross. Our first penguin sightings will be on West Point Island with its bustling rookeries of rockhoppers. On Carcass Island, we observe nesting
Magellanic penguins as well as oystercatchers, geese and the striated caracara – a bird of prey.
The following morning, we arrive in Stanley, the capital of the Falklands Islands. As we wander through the charming streets of brightly painted houses, we learn how this quiet harbour was
once a major port in the 19th century for tall ships rounding the fabled Cape Horn. There are several interesting activities to enjoy today. Stanley has an excellent museum that outlines the historic events that took place during the conflict with Argentina in 1982. The waterfront memorial built to commemorate the lives of the British servicemen killed during the war is a sobering reminder of recent history. Stanley’s famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps is another interesting diversion.
Day 5-6: At sea towards South Georgia
We chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds once again join us in the Southern Ocean. 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 expeditionis central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard 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 the expedition guides and crew.
Day 7-10: South Georgia
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 era are all around us. We hope to observe several of the old stations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the old 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 s a real highlight. 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.
Day 11: At sea toward the Eclipse Path
Our departure from South Georgia is carefully timed to have us in position for the eclipse and prevailing weather conditions will determine our schedule in the coming days. The Captain will
position the ship taking into consideration the optimal viewing conditions underneath the path of totality.
Day 12: Witness the Total Solar Eclipse
Having carefully monitored the weather over the last few days we position the ship in the very best location to view the eclipse. The path of totality is scheduled to cover our position around 5.00am so we will be well rugged up as we venture onto the outer observation decks. What makes this event particularly unusual is that its path is east to west, the opposite direction to most eclipse paths in lower latitudes. This phenomenon is only possible in polar regions. The duration of the eclipse lasts just a few minutes, but the memory of witnessing it in such a wild a remote corner of the planet is sure to last a lifetime.
Day 13: At sea towards Antarctica
We have a full day at sea as we set sail for the continent of Antarctica. Ice conditions at this time of the season will dictate our course. We can spend time on the outer decks soaking up the scenery and observing the great seabirds of the Southern Ocean, and throughout the day there are interesting
presentations by our expert guides. Alternatively, just relax in the lounge with a good book and a hot beverage
Day 14-17: Antarctic Peninsula
Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland we find the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sites could include King George Island, Half Moon Island or Yankee Harbour. Weather conditions permitting we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. There are some outstanding hikes at these locations and the old whaling station and aircraft hangar at Deception Island beg for further exploration.
After so much anticipation, we enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in the vicinity of Mikkelson Harbour or Cierva Cove. Snow covered mountains soar from the dark waters. Along the shoreline in the bays and harbors of the Peninsula lives an incredible abundance of wildlife. Large rookeries are home to chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins. Seals live on the ice floes, including the powerful leopard seal that we hope to encounter. Gulls, skuas and cormorants are also found nesting and feeding at many sites along the Antarctic Peninsula.
We explore by Zodiac boat and ashore where a range of exciting activities await. Locations we hope to visit include Wilhelmina Bay, Orne Harbour, Cuverville Island and the Errera Channel. Join the photographic guide taking pictures of stunning icebergs. Or enjoy a hike to the top of a snowy mountain saddle with one of our adventure guides. If the opportunity presents itself, visit a science base or an old historic hut. The sea kayakers may range up to several miles from the ship, for a truly memorable experience.
Day 18-19: Return via Drake Passage
As we make our way back to the southern shores of 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 where you can 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, and unique, expedition. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
Day 20: Disembark in Ushuaia, Argentina
In the early morning, we arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina. It is timeto 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 in the following days.
What's not included?
Conditions: Please note, while prices and inclusions are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to changes in cruise line policies and pricing and due to currency fluctuations. Currency surcharges may apply. Please check details of price and inclusions at time of booking. Please ask for child and infant pricing if applicable.