"Follow in the footsteps of one of the truly great adventurers, admire break-taking scenery and wildlife, and learn what it takes to survive this unforgiving landscape!"
One of the main figures of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton led three epic expeditions to the Antarctic. This 21-day cruise traces some of the routes followed by Shackleton, giving you the chance to explore historical sites and wildlife-rich Antarctic islands as you follow in the footsteps of past explorers to relive parts of their legendary voyages. Visit vast penguin rookeries and seal colonies, and see the final resting place of Shackleton himself as you journey aboard the M/S Expedition on this awe-inspiring Antarctic adventure. One of the final frontiers of human exploration, Antarctica is beyond comprehension to those who have not explored the wilderness of white for themselves…
Embark at the Argentinian port of Ushuaia; spend your first few days learning about the region’s extraordinary human and natural history, before sailing to the incredibly biodiverse and ruggedly beautiful Falkland Islands. Meet the resilient locals to learn about the islands’ turbulent history, before turning east to South Georgia Island, keeping watch for the whales that inhabit these waters. Visit Shackleton’s Grave, admire impressive views of colossal glaciers and snowy mountain peaks, and marvel at the island’s huge King penguin colony! Next, encounter seals and whales as you move into the cold waters near the Antarctic Peninsula, and learn more about the most dramatic expeditions to this far-flung corner of the earth.
Chimu Adventures aims to minimise its impact on the environment and support local communities in any way possible. The company strives to source guides, meals and transport from the communities it operates in rather than importing. Chimu Adventures prides itself on the fact that all operations for this tour are carried out by locally-owned companies, and they select locally-owned hotels which share their values in terms of social and environmental responsibility. The company's guides are highly experienced and qualified, and are paid above the minimum wage; since they are local, travellers are able to gain a more authentic insight into the communities and environments they visit.
Travellers are encouraged to minimise their carbon footprint whilst touring with Chimu Adventures, and are provided with information and advice on responsible waste disposal and how to offset carbon emissions. This ensures that guests are equipped with the knowledge necessary to help them protect the diverse ecosystems they visit. The company also practices what it preaches, with sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company/staff vehicles, and processes to help create paperless offices and reduce waste. Chimu’s ‘Pass it On’ programme empowers local people, providing funding to help Latin American communities develop their own infrastructure. Finally, Chimu Adventures also offers travellers the chance to make a positive impact by visiting community projects.
Arrival in Ushuaia: After checking in to your pre-cruise hotel, you’ll have the evening free to explore at your leisure.
Ushuaia – Embark on ship: You’ll embark on the M/S Expedition from the port of Ushuaia in the afternoon, leaving the morning free for some last minute shopping. You could also take an optional excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park, or hike up to the Marshall Glacier. Once on board the ship, your Expedition Leader will introduce you to the expedition, and you’ll spend the first evening watching the sun set over the Beagle Channel.
At Sea: Spend some time in the ship’s common areas (the lounge, library, lecture hall and dining hall) to get to know your guides, expedition staff and ship’s crew. The on board programme of lectures and information sessions begins today, so take the opportunity to learn more about the fascinating human and natural history of the Antarctic region.
Falkland Islands: The Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory, is a South Atlantic archipelago that lies 490 kilometres east of Patagonia. The islands have, at various times, been claimed by France, Spain, Britain and Argentina, giving them an interesting and somewhat controversial history. The islands also have plenty to offer in terms of wildlife, with five different penguin species as well as the largest black-browed albatross in the world. At Port Stanley, the capital, you can meet the hardy local inhabitants, whose brightly coloured houses provide a welcome contrast to the long, bleak winters.
At Sea: Set course for South Georgia Island. Days spent at sea are filled with lectures to prepare you for landings ashore. As you sail east, keep a lookout for the many whales that live in these waters.
South Georgia Island: Formerly a prominent whaling base, South Georgia Island has plenty of fascinating museums, buildings and historical sites to discover, including Shackleton’s Grave. Weather permitting, you should have three full days in which to explore the island, which is one of the most wild and remote places on earth. One highlight is a visit to a large King penguin colony, and you’ll also enjoy spectacular views of snow-capped mountain peaks and majestic glaciers.
At Sea: Head south and sail for two days, following Shackleton’s route in reverse as you make your way to Elephant Island and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Antarctic Peninsula: Set foot on the Antarctic continent, where you’ll experience some of the most unique wildlife viewing and breath-taking scenery in the world. If the weather allows it, you’ll make two shore landings per day to encounter Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adélie penguin rookeries and colonies of Weddell, Crabeater and Leopard seals. The cold Antarctic waters are also home to orca, humpback and minke whales. You’ll also discover the peninsula’s remarkable human history, learning about some of the most dramatic expeditions to this remote corner of the earth.
Turn north to begin your journey back to Ushuaia via the Drake Passage. Enjoy some final lectures, and indulge in bird and whale watching as you reflect on some of the highlights of your unforgettable journey. At some point on the Drake Passage you’ll cross the Antarctic Convergence, where cold polar water meets warmer equatorial water, pushing nutrient-rich waters to the surface and attracting a wide variety of seabirds, whales and other species.
Disembark in Ushuaia: Today, your epic adventure comes to a close. Say your ‘goodbyes’ before disembarking in Ushuaia in the morning. From here, transfer to the airport or your hotel – make sure that you don’t book flights out of Ushuaia before noon!