Antarctica Peninsula, Falklands & South Georgia wildlife holiday
Description of Antarctica Peninsula, Falklands & South Georgia wildlife holiday
This Antarctica Peninsula cruise holiday is just short of a month long adventure to the planet’s southernmost, pristine polar wildernesses. Starting and ending in Buenos Aires, the vibrant and historic capital of Argentina, where you will have a night and full day to enjoy a guided tour, you board your expedition ship in Ushuaia, Patagonia, after a three and a half hour internal flight from the capital.
This is a tailor made trip to Antarctica and so the ship that you will travel and sleep on depends on the dates that you wish to travel. The itinerary below is that followed by Plancius, a former oceanographic research vessel built for the Royal Dutch Navy, and now sleeping 116 passengers in a mixed size of ensuite cabins. Other ships operating the same route include Silver Explorer and Ocean Diamond.
This itinerary takes you from Patagonia across to the snow capped mountains and dramatic iceberg terrain of the Antarctica Peninsula stopping at some important islands en route. These include the wildly beautiful Falkland and South Georgia Islands, both archipelagos havens for birdlife. As well as proffering a fascinating history and cultural heritage. In the Falklands, for example, where we will stop to explore the capital of Port Stanley, its rugged coastline and open plains are perfect for watching Magellanic and gentoo penguins, as well as some albatrosses hopefully.
The next stop of South Georgia is even more barren, its jagged, mountainous landscape not only spectacular to visit but also full of stories of explorers and human survival. As former hub for the whaling and sealing industry, communities lived here for many years, expeditions passed through and wildlife have always thrived here. Today, photographers go into a fauna frenzy here, keen to capture the likes of elephant seals, king and macaroni penguins.
The final stretch on this odyssey is across the notoriously long and bumpy Drake Passage, to reach the dramatic seascapes of the South Shetland and Orkney Islands and then, finally, the Antarctica Peninsula, about as close as you can get to the heart of this icy wilderness on a trip of this nature.
PlanetThis holiday is built around an expedition cruise to the Antarctic Peninsula, enhanced with visits to the wildlife riches of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia.
An Antarctic cruise on our relatively small expedition ships is an informal, friendly affair. It’s assumed that all visitors will have a love of natural wilderness and wildlife. The staff and crew are highly trained and very experienced in travel in wilderness regions. Captains have spent years navigating polar regions. You will be informed by lecturers who specialise in the natural and human history of the region – many of them well known naturalists or former members of Antarctic scientific expeditions.
All vessels with which we work, including your cruise ship on this holiday, Plancius, operate according to a stringent voluntary code of conduct developed by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators to minimise impact of visits to this fragile environment. The members of IAATO have created visitor guidelines to address the environmental protection of landing sites, the safety of all visitors, and the establishment of operational protocols to provide emergency assistance.
Our company is an associate member of IAATO which means you can be confident that your expedition to Antarctica will adhere to strict guidelines on responsible tourism and environmental protection. We are fully committed to protect this pristine wilderness for future generations.
Your ship is operated by Oceanwide Expeditions, which has over 26 years of experience in expedition cruising. The firm distinguishes itself from other operators not only by setting its emphasis on educational lectures by experienced guides throughout the voyage but also by delivering a tightly controlled active shore programme. Their expedition cruises are designed for those of you who wish to discover destinations intimately, interacting with and learning about nature and local culture rather than simply checking off tourist destinations.
The number of Antarctic tourism activities is increasing, as is their diversity (camping, climbing, kayaking and scuba-diving, depending on expedition), activities which we encourage you to participate in to gain an even more intimate experience of Antarctica. These activities do, of course, present new management challenges. As a first step towards a more rigorous control of these activities, the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings (ATCMs) have adopted resolutions to enhance information exchange and consultation and to further the development and implementation of site-specific guidelines. This process is on-going but you can rest assured that these activities are closely controlled by the cruise ships operating them and that no damage will be done to the environment.
PeopleThere are no settlements in Antarctica save those enabling research and scientific studies. Resource management issues at landing sites include environmental remediation, heritage conservation, visitor safety, and the creation of interpretive services which simultaneously preserve the story of these places and enlist the respect of their visitors.
Antarctic heritage sites are popular attractions because of their historical significance and because of family and cultural ties to the pioneering settlers who once worked there. Responses to requests for visits range from prohibited entry to conditional invitations. For example, despite the popularity of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s exploits, tourist access is denied to Stromness, South Georgia because of environmental protection concerns, while visitor access to Grytviken, is encouraged.
Antarctic heritage sites in the Ross Sea are permitted with strict controls, and the refurbished 1940s research station at Port Lockroy, in the Antarctic Peninsula Region, actively promotes tourism to share its heritage and to support commercially its postal concession.
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