High Spring in the Subantarctic: South Georgia & The Falklands


High Spring in the Subantarctic: South Georgia & The Falklands





November 15 – December 5, 2018 21 Days/20 Nights

Leaders: Audrey Benedict, Dr. Dee Boersma, Dr. Sue Moore, Geoff Hammerson and Wendy Shattil.

This expedition voyage focuses solely on the Falklands and South Georgia and coincides with the peak of spring migration and the breeding season for the birds and marine mammals of the Southern Ocean. In striking contrast to most Antarctic voyages, our in-depth, 17-day voyage aboard the legendary Akademik Vavilov gives us superb opportunities for observation and photography and the gift of time to stop at magical places rarely visited by other ships. Throughout our voyage, our expedition leaders offer programs on exploration history, penguins, albatrosses, seals, and whales. The comfortable embrace of our expedition ship, combined with culinary delights and fine wines, guarantees smiles at the end of every wondrous day.

South Georgia lies more than a thousand miles east of Cape Horn and nearly the same distance northeast of the Antarctic continent. The closest major landfalls are the Falkland Islands, more than 870 miles away—which is where we join the Vavilov at Port Stanley. Most travelers experience the Falkland Islands as a rare jumping-off point for their voyages to Antarctica. For Cloud Ridge travelers, the Falklands have always been a wildlife-rich destination—a string of pearls in a windswept sea. First discovered in 1592, when John Davis’s ship, the Desire, was blown there in a storm, Charles Darwin visited these starkly beautiful islands twice in 1833 aboard the HMS Beagle. Darwin’s notebooks described the archipelago’s intriguing geology but the great naturalist seemed most captivated by the huge colonies of penguins and the equally vast colonies of that legendary nomad of wind and wave—the black-browed albatross.

Good sea conditions are critical for Zodiac landings in the Falkland Islands. We’ll set our sights hopes on Steeple Jason, Saunders, and Carcass Islands. Among the many gifts of our remote island landings will be the chance to sit quietly amidst colonies of gentoo, rockhopper, king, and Magellanic penguins. Experiencing the sheer magic of seeing thousands upon thousands of black-browed albatrosses soaring overhead, on their nests, displaying, or simply going about the business of life in the wilds of the Southern Ocean is a rare privilege.

I’ll never forget my first glimpse of South Georgia—a verdant world that stood in sharp contrast to the Antarctic. Cascading glaciers framed by pinnacles of black rock give way to tussocky headlands and beaches covered with thousands of king penguins, their white breasts and golden bibs and ear patches glinting in the sun. Battling bull elephant seals will be staking out their strongholds, the females packed in noisy rows a dozen deep. Gangs of equally feisty Antarctic fur seals will be defending their own patch of turf amidst the cacophonous squabbling of the penguins. South Georgia’s stunning biodiversity includes thousands of king, gentoo, chin- strap and macaroni penguins, as well as wandering, gray-headed, light-mantled sooty and black- browed albatrosses, several species of petrels, skuas, and prions, and the most southerly song- bird in the world, the South Georgia pipit.

Situated well south of the Polar Front, South Georgia is the “rock” in the current around which the waters of the Weddell and Ross seas meet and swirl in a nutrient-rich “soup” that supports an unparalleled diversity of Subantarctic wildlife species. South Georgia is described as a Polar version of the Alps—one that rises straight out of the sea and where spectacular glaciers and ice caps grace its mountainous spine for nearly a 100 miles. Geologically speaking, the island rides the crest of the Scotia Ridge, a line of mostly submarine mountains some 2,700 miles in length that link the Antarctic Peninsula with the Andes.

In 1914, Ernest Shackleton and an expedition team of 27 set sail from England aboard the Endurance in pursuit of the last unclaimed prize in Antarctic exploration: the first crossing of the Antarctic continent on foot. Navigating a treacherous and freezing route across the Weddell Sea, the expedition got within 85 miles of their desti- nation before the Endurance was crushed by pack ice, leaving the entire crew stranded on the ice floes. The ordeal lasted 20 months and is one of history’s greatest survival epics. Despite two near- fatal attempts to escape, Shackleton made a last- ditch effort in an open boat―an 800-mile voyage to South Georgia’s Stromness whaling station. We’ll stop at Grytviken, paying homage to Shackleton and all the brave Antarctic explorers in whose footsteps we travel.

Group Size: 16 Trip Rating: 3
Deposit: $3,000. (per person)

Trip Cost & Cabin Choice: Cabin category prices are all-inclusive and reflect all land and cruise-related expenses (unless otherwise noted). Trip cost is quoted per person based on double occupancy and the type of cabin requested. The number listed before the cabin category refers to the number of cabins we’ve reserved in that category. Cabins are booked on a first-come, first- serve basis and early booking is encouraged.

Single travelers who wish to share will be accommodated provided that a suitable roommate is available. The cost for those preferring not to share will be a single supplement of $6,5000. added to the stated double double occupancy rate.

(2) Shackleton Suite: 1 double bed, opening windows, private bathroom, separate lounge space with sofa bed, coffee/tea maker and amenities.
Price (per person): $15,595.

(6 ) Twin Private Window Cabin: 2 twin beds (both lower), opening window, desk/chair, coffee/ tea maker, and private bathroom.

Price (per person): $12,695 Twin Private Window Cabin.

Included: Pre- and post-cruise hotels (1 night each in Punta Arenas and Ushuaia), 2 group dinners, air travel (11/17) from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Port Stanley (Falklands), ship transfers, 17 days/16 nights aboard the Vavilov, all meals aboard ship, all Zodiac trips, trip materials, lecture program, 3 Cloud Ridge leaders, and the Vavilov’s cruise and expedition staff.

Not Included: Roundtrip international and Chilean domestic airfare from your home airport to Punta Arenas and return from Ushuaia, hotel nights other than those listed, airport transfers, alcoholic beverages, gratuities to Vavilov crew and staff, items of a personal nature, and travel/ medical evacuation insurance.

Special Note: Trip dates include a two-day allowance for international/overnight flights

South Georgia and the Falklands

October-November 2018 20 Days/19 Nights

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Punta Arenas, Chile