Antarctic Quest 2007
Including the Falklands (Malvinas) and South Georgia
A Draft Itinerary
The following text is taken from the Quark Expeditions standard itinerary for this voyage. But, this particular trip is exclusively for members of The Luminous Landscape Photographic Expedition, and therefore will be customized particularly for our needs.
For example, all landings will be timed to coincide with best available light for photography. Also, we will have a staff of some of the world's leading photographic instructors and Photoshop experts working alongside you, and providing daily seminars on a wide range of topics.
Our ship – the Professor Multanovskiy
Operated by Quark Expeditions
If your goal is to set foot on Antarctica but also - having traveled to the extremes of the Southern hemisphere - explore the historic Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and remote South Georgia, this is the ideal small-ship expedition. From Shackleton's lonely grave to spectacular Iceberg Alley to Zodiac landings at remote penguin rookeries and other areas rich with wildlife, come follow the early explorers on a remarkable Antarctic experience.
Days 1 & 2: Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
On arriving in Ushuaia, transfer to our conveniently located hotel and explore this pioneering port town on the edge of Beagle Channel. Next day, join your fellow travelers for a guided tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park, a haven for Ashy-headed Geese, Buff-necked Ibis, Fuegian red fox and other regional species. Savor a traditional Argentine asado barbecue lunch while learning more about local history and culture, then enjoy some free time to shop or relax before boarding our small expedition ship.
Days 3, 4 & 5: Northward to the Falklands (Malvinas)
Join us on deck as we make our way out of the harbor and head toward the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). In the days ahead there will be many presentations to deepen your understanding of the region, its history and wildlife - and of course plenty of opportunities to chat with the Expedition Team over coffee or drinks in the lounge. On reaching the outer Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), watch for Flightless Steamer Ducks, Magellanic Penguins and Gentoo Penguins on Carcass Island; Rockhopper Penguins as well as nesting Black-browed Albatross and Blue-eyed Shags on nearby New Island; plus Peale's and Commerson's dolphins, which frequently bow-ride and play alongside our Zodiacs as we explore the coastal waters. Walk over the tussock grass to enjoy tea and cake at a family "camp" (as Falklanders call their farms), and stroll among colorfully painted buildings in the historic capital Stanley, stopping for a pint at one of its British-style pubs.
Days 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11: Shackleton's South Georgia
Our shipboard historian offers absorbing presentations on the exploration of the Southern Ocean as we continue on toward South Georgia. Remembered as the endpoint of Sir Ernest Shackleton's heroic rescue trek following the sinking of the Endurance, the island of South Georgia is a diverse landscape of 2,100 m mountains, massive glaciers, grassy uplands and deep fjords. Your many wildlife viewing opportunities over the next few days include thousands of King Penguins at Salisbury Plain; Wandering Albatross and fur seals at Prion Island; and southern elephant seals, plus King, Macaroni and Gentoo Penguins along Gold Harbor and other untouched beaches along the coast. On our visit to the former whaling outpost of Grytviken, you can pay your respects at the simple grave of Shackleton, who died here after suffering a heart attack during the Quest expedition in 1922.
Days 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 & 17: South Shetlands and the Peninsula
As we sail on southward, our naturalists continue their presentations and informal mealtime chats on the natural wonders you'll encounter in the coming days. Passing through the South Shetland island chain, just north of the Antarctic Peninsula, we hope to stop at Elephant Island, home to a large Adélie Penguin rookery. It was here that the crew of Shackleton's Endurance found refuge while he and five handpicked men carried on in a small open lifeboat, crossing 1,300 km of open sea in order to arrange the rescue of their comrades. On some departures we're able to sail right into the sunken volcanic caldera of Deception Island, where adventurous travelers can test the thermal waters at Pendulum Cove. Our approach to the Antarctic Peninsula, the most accessible part of the White Continent, brings breathtaking views of snowcapped mountains, cascading glaciers and massive, flat-topped tabular icebergs in crystal blue seas. On our planned landings you can expect to see every manner of fascinating bird life, from enormous rookeries of Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adélie Penguins, to Blue-eyed Shags, Kelp Gulls, Cape Petrels, Snowy Sheathbills and Antarctic Terns. You may also sight Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals, along with orcas, and humpback and Minke whales. As you'll see from the detailed ice charts (which one of the ship's officers will be happy to explain if you're interested), there are challenges to navigating the Antarctic Sound through the area known as Iceberg Alley; we'll try to loop down for a visit to the large Adélie Penguin colony on Paulet Island.
Your exploration of the continent proper typically begins at Paradise Bay or nearby Neko Harbor. Depending on the thickness of the pack ice and iceberg conditions, we venture into spectacular Neumayer and Lemaire Channels, sailing past towering rock faces and magnificent glaciers. We also try to visit one of the many Antarctic research stations in the region, including Port Lockroy, a former British wartime outpost and scientific base that now houses a museum (and what is probably the world's most remote post office, where you can mail a card home).
Days 18, 19 & 20: Drake Passage and Ushuaia
As our ship makes the return voyage across the Drake Passage, we're escorted much of the way by an impressive variety of seabirds, including magnificent Wandering Albatross, as well as Giant and Cape Petrels. You'll often spot whales and dolphins en route as well. Illuminating presentations and lively chats continue as the Expedition Team reviews the journey and invites your perspective on all we've seen and experienced. After docking in Ushuaia, enjoy breakfast on our last morning, then transfer to town or head directly to the airport for your flight home or on to other adventures.
If you would like to participate in
this one-in-a-lifetime adventure place yourself on the preliminary waitlist
by sending an e-mail titled Antarctica 07 to Michael Reichmann.
There is no obligation, but you will be given the first chance to reserve your spot when the voyage goes on sale in early January.
Please include your daytime phone number, (not essential, but helpful) and the number of spaces requested.