This is the ultimate Antarctic voyage and one of the world’s great wilderness journeys. From Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego to the windswept Falklands, onward to the incredibly remote South Georgia before exploring the Great White Continent.
At the Falkland Islands we enjoy close encounters with breeding colonies of black-browed albatross, rockhopper, magellanic, gentoo and king penguins. Even from the harbour road in Stanley, one can see steamer ducks ‘powering’ their way down the inlet, while pods of delightfully playful Commerson's dolphins ride the bow wave of any moving boat they can find, which could include your zodiac.
We sail onwards to South Georgia, often quoted as the highlight of an Antarctic experience and the burial place of Sir Ernest Shackleton, his grave found in the hills above Grytviken. Glaciers are easily viewed along the coastline as they sparkle with dangerous beauty above the blue oceans and green valley’s below. This is an island renowned for its extraordinary abundance of wildlife. On the beaches fur and male elephant seals dominate the goings on. Over half the world’s population of elephant seals congregate here who with much noise and energy, claim their territories and parade for their harems. We explore the spectacle of Salisbury plain, home to one of the World’s largest colonies of King penguins, dotted along the shore as far as the eye can see.
We next head to the South Orkney Islands and on to the Antarctic Peninsula where we can explore the bays and penguin rookeries before sailing through the spectacular Lemaire channel hoping for an ice free passage. This entire area promises excellent whale and seal sightings with minke, fin and humpback whales and Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals often found. In the South Shetlands we hope to land at other famous sites including Deception Island, Hannah Point and Half Moon Island, all of which have spectacular wildlife and even offer the chance for an Antarctic swim; a fitting end to a truly spectacular journey.
Aqua-Firma Antarctic Expertise
The Aqua-Firma team have been exploring Antarctica for many years; guiding, driving zodiacs, delivering inspiring onboard lectures and inspiring guests of the magnificent but fragile beauty of Antarctica. It is this in-depth, on location knowledge and expertise which can assist with your choice of voyage to best match your timing, interests and budget.
When to visit
Our small ship Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula voyages are available Oct-March. In late October, there are huge volumes of ice and snow, a scenically pristine environment. Penguin courtship displays and boisterous elephant seal harems signify the height of the breeding season. It is an adventurous, memorable and cost-effective time to visit.
By December and January noisy penguin chicks and seal pups dominate South Georgia’s scenery and by March, as the season progresses, we continue to witness an increased abundance of whales.
Small ship voyages
Carrying between 54 and 200 passengers, these strong comfortable ships foster an intimate atmosphere for like minded people who share a true passion for remote wild and wonderful corners of our planet. Ships vary appreciably in level of comfort from an expedition ship to a more luxurious expedition cruise offering spacious en suite cabins and excellent cuisine. Each maximises time spent off the ship with inspired daily landings, informed presentations and exploration in the company of experts.
A full complement of Zodiac craft (rigid inflatable boats) facilitate small group expert-led landings and close encounters with wildlife. Onboard lecture programmes span subjects such as: wildlife, birdlife and marine life as well as human history, geology, and polar conservation,
Polar expertise and optional adventures
Your guides are the key to inspire and enrich your knowledge of the unique polar environment. Aqua-Firma marine scientists, guides, polar divers and kayakers have many years of in depth on location experience. Specialist knowledge on certain trips enable us to offer adventure options such as kayaking and polar photography workshops onboard.
Our promise and your protection
Polar voyages are a major commitment for most travellers. We offer a personal and professional service with a promise that for any experience which is directly comparable, our prices are never beaten. Detailed information is provided throughout your booking and preparation process and with our first hand experience we are always available to answer any questions, no matter how small, giving 24 hour support before you depart and whilst away.
Although our voyages can be enjoyed as stand alone experiences, we are a fully ATOL bonded travel company and happy to provide flights and accommodation before and after your voyage. Aqua-Firma have the expertise to extend your travel plans and are a specialist at tailor made travel within Argentina and other parts of Latin America.
Photographs kindly provided by Chloe Burnett, David Drummond, Bob Guttermuth, Keith Hiscock & Murray Watson