NEW! The Falklands and South Georgia

The very best sub-Antarctic scenery and wildlife

Destination
Focus
2022 Dates
  • 18 Oct - 08 Nov 2022
Duration22 Days
2022 Price
£11095 pp
. Deposit £1500

pre-flight airport hotel and lounge are inc.

Max Group Size20

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A variation to our other Heatherlea cruises in the Southern Ocean, where we spend less time at sea sailing southwards towards Antarctica and we spend more time really exploring the rarely-visited archipelagos of South Georgia and The Falklands and their incredible history and wildlife.

Few places compare to South Georgia in terms of seeing close-up views of extraordinary birds, mammals and jaw-dropping scenery, and the Falklands are no different - a slice of Britain on the other side of the world! 

On this new, exploratory cruise, we will enjoy both archipelagos, witnessing the world’s largest Black-browed Albatross colony while also seeing some of the largest breeding sites for King Penguin and Elephant Seal on Earth, along with day after day of amazing polar scenery.

We will walk through former whaling stations taken over by seals and penguins and patrolled by petrels and skuas, follow in the footsteps of the pioneer Antarctic explorers, as well as marvel at the unrivalled landscapes of this unique part of the world.

We take in the very best history, culture and wildlife that the Falkland Islands and South Georgia has to offer as we are transported into a landscape of dark rugged rock, pure white snow, and a fantastic variety of wildlife. There will also be thousands of seals, whales, dolphins, and a huge number of oceanic and Antarctic seabirds with a stunning backdrop of inhospitable mountains or beautifully-illuminated seascapes directly from an Attenborough documentary!

We cruise on the M/V Janssonius, an ice-strengthened vessel ideal for this voyage. Our friendly and experienced international expedition staff and crew will be anxious to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, as we navigate around some of the most remote islands on the planet. Our itinerary will be flexible, paying close attention to weather and ice, changing course and using inflatable zodiacs to spend as much time ashore as possible.

PRICES

Fully inclusive of cruise, international flights, overnight hotel in Puerto Madryn prior to embarkation, and our office and guiding services.

All quoted per person in shared cabins:

Quad. Porthole    £11095    

Triple Porthole     £11795    

Twin Porthole      £12495     

Twin Window       £12895   

Twin De Luxe       £13395  

Superior                £13995    

Junior Suite           £14495   

Grand Suite          £14995    

As part of the experience, the expedition staff will invite us to join in their Science Basecamp Activities.

Science Basecamp: Exploring polar science

Science Basecamp activities are all about exploring polar science. During this exciting program, we’ll divide into groups and take part in various research activities led by the scientist-guides.
One group might collect various samples from nature, another might make observations of nearby glaciers, and yet another could study rock formations.

Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details from our office! Read more about our Pre-flight Service here!

Day 1: Mon 17 October 2022        Depart London Heathrow
After relaxing in our complimentary VIP Airport Lounge, we depart London Heathrow on an overnight flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Day 2: Tue 18 October 2022        Ushuaia
Arrive at Buenos Aires early-morning and transfer onward to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost large settlement, found on the barren shores of the island of Tierra del Fuego. This is a wild, windswept place, and whilst bird numbers are lower at this southern latitude, the quality is undeniable.

Depending on time of arrival, the afternoon is free to explore the town or begin birding. At the harbour front, and on nearby ponds you may see Kelp and Dolphin Gull, Upland and Kelp Goose, Fuegian Steamer Duck and South American Tern. Chimanga Caracara are overhead, and you may also see Southern Lapwing, Magellanic and Blackish Oystercatcher, Red Shoveler, Night Heron and Chilean Skua. The first Southern Giant Petrel and Great Grebe may be seen at sea, and landbirds include Austral Thrush, House Wren, Austral Negrito, Chilean Swallow, Black-chinned Siskin and Rufous-collared Sparrow. 

Day 3: Wed 19 October 2022        Farewell The End of The World!
Having enjoyed some birding around the city – often referred to as ‘The End of The World’, we embark from Puerto Madryn in the afternoon, and head for the Falkland Islands. Golfo Nuevo and the waters in the early part of the voyage are renowned for their visiting Southern Right Whales, and we have a good chance of spotting one as we sail toward the open ocean to start our oceanic lists!

Days 4 - 5: Thu & Fri 20 & 21 October 2022        Life on the ocean waves
For two days, we acclimatise to life on the open sea, and start to learn the various seabirds and cetaceans of the Southern Ocean. There is rarely a dull moment on the decks as several bird species will follow us as we head southeast - albatrosses, storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels will test our ID skills, and we may see whales and dolphins as well.

Days 6 - 7 : Sat & Sun 22 & 23 October 2022        The Falklands
The Falkland Islands remain largely unknown gems. The islands offer an abundance of wildlife that is easily approachable, with not only many species of bird, but chances are we’ll see both Peale’s Dolphin and Commerson’s Dolphin in the surrounding waters. Birds may include ‘Johnny Rook’ – the local name of the very localised Striated Caracara, Falklands Steamer Duck, and several species of Antarctic Goose (including Upland, Ruddy-headed and Kelp Geese).

During our time in the area, we may visit the following sites:

Steeple Jason – Home to the world’s largest Black-browed Albatross colony  -totalling approximately 113,000 birds! Steeple Jason is a wild and rarely visited island buffeted by wind and waves. Weather and swell conditions will dictate whether we spend time here.

Carcass Island – Despite its name, this island is pleasantly rodent-free and hence abounds with birdlife. Anything from breeding Magellanic Penguin and Gentoo Penguin to numerous waders and passerines (including Cobb’s Wren and Blackish Cinclodes (often called the Tussock Bird)) live here.

Saunders Island – On Saunders Island you can see the Black-browed Albatross and its sometimes-clumsy landings, along with breeding Imperial Shag and Rockhopper penguin. King, Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins are also found here, making it one of the greatest places on Earth to get to know your penguin species! 

Westpoint Island – Landing in a small cove, we will be able to walk through the Tussac Grass to see an enormous breeding colony of Black-browed Albatrosses where they live side by side with Rockhopper Penguins.

Grave Cove – Nesting Gentoo Penguins and excellent hiking opportunities are found around Grave Cove, with the chance to enjoy the scenery and wildlife that the islands has to offer.

Days 8 - 9: Mon & Tue 24 & 25 October 2022        Time to wrap up warm!
En route to South Georgia, we cross the Antarctic Convergence. This is where cold, northward-flowing Antarctic waters meet the relatively warmer waters of the sub-Antarctic, bringing nutrients to the surface of the sea. This phenomenon attracts a multitude of seabirds, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas as well as Minke, Humpback and Fin Whales and Orca. The air temperature cools considerably within the space of a few hours, so don’t forget to wear that extra layer as you enjoy the wealth of wildlife on show!

Days 10 - 16: Wed 26 October - Tue 1 November 2022        South Georgia
The disputed British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is home to five million seals and 65 million seabirds, including the largest global populations of Light-mantled Sooty and Grey-headed Albatrosses, Northern Giant Petrel and White-chinned Petrel. This inhospitable, mountainous archipelago has played a major role in Antarctic exploration as well as being a haven for wildlife.

Weather and sea state will decide our itinerary whilst in South Georgia, but our visit may include:

Prion Island – This location is closed during the early part of the Wandering Albatross breeding season (November 20 – January 7), mainly to stop disturbance of breeding Fur Seals on the landing beach. The previous summer’s albatross chicks are almost ready to fledge, and adults are seeking out their old partners after a year and a half at sea.

Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour – These sites not only house the three largest King Penguin colonies in South Georgia, they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for Southern Elephant Seal. Only during this time of year do they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the four-ton bulls keep a constant vigil (and occasionally engage in some bloody fighting) over territories where dozens of females have just given birth or are about to deliver their pups. There is also a substantial number of Antarctic Fur Seals here from late-November onwards.

Fortuna Bay – A beautiful outwash plain from Fortuna Glacier is home to a large number of King Penguin and seals. We may also have the chance to take a hike following the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. The boggy path cuts across the mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall. Antarctic Tern, South Polar Skua can be seen in this area.

Leith Harbour, Stromness, Husvik – These sites are dominated by former whaling factories which show the huge scale of the whaling industry in the early 20th century. As well as the derelict settlements and industrial ghost towns, Elephant and Fur Seals breed and moult here. Gentoo Penguins also occupy the landing sites. Antarctic Prions and South Georgia Diving Petrels may be observed, especially in the area of Husvik.  

Grytviken – In this eerie, abandoned whaling station, King Penguins walk the streets and Elephant Seals lie around like they own the place – because they basically do! We may be able to see the South Georgia Museum, the famous church, the abandoned cinema, and the rest of the deserted village which used to be home to 500 inhabitants. We will also get to see Shackleton’s grave, where he was laid to rest following his death in 1922.

Cobblers Cove, Godthul – From Cobblers Cove we will hope to visit Rookery Point to see Macaroni Penguins. Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses nest along the coastline and Southern Giant Petrels can be observed as well. Godthul (Norwegian for “good cove”) was named by Norwegian whalers and seal-hunters and bones from their prey can still be found along the shoreline today. The beaches are home to Gentoo Penguins and seals.

Royal Bay (Moltke Harbour, Will Point & Brisbane Point) – Moltke Harbour in Royal Bay was named by the German International Polar Year Expedition in 1882, and some of the remains of their dwellings are still visible. The scenery of Royal Bay is beautiful - dark sandy beaches with bright green tussocks and overlooked by the snow and ice-covered Ross Glacier. Cruising about on a zodiac in Royal Bay is spectacular, and an exhilarating experience as it is one of the windiest bays on the island! Approximately 30,000 pairs of King Penguins also live here.

Cooper Bay – The largest Chinstrap Penguin population can be found in Cooper Bay, and Gentoo and Macaroni Penguins are also present. It is another haven for birdlife, with Antarctic Tern, White-chinned Petrel, Blue-eyed Shag and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross also being seen in this area.

Drygalski Fjord – The ship sails through this narrow fjord, offering spectacular views of a spectacular landscape with 2,000 metre high mountains rising from the waves at close range.

Annenkov Island – Passing Pickersgill Islands we reach the rarely visited Annenkov Island which was first discovered by James Cook in 1775. It was later renamed by the Russian expedition of Fabian von Bellingshausen in 1819. Annenkov is rocky, with a variety of ridges, peaks and hills where a variety of fossils have been found over the years.

King Haakon Bay – British explorer Ernest Shackleton reached King Haakon Bay after his ship had got crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea. He made the 800-mile journey here on the open boat “James Caird” from Elephant Island where his party was stranded. From here he crossed to Stromness to ask for help to rescue his party. These days, Elephant Seals dominate the beaches, but we will look out for the plethora of birdlife, including South Georgia Pipit, Antarctic Prions as well as Common Diving and Blue petrels.  

Days 17 - 21: Wed 2 - Mon 6 November 2022        Westward bound
There may be icebergs and some sea ice on this section of our route, and South Polar Skuas and Snow Petrels are likely to join the albatrosses and petrels trailing the vessel towards the Drake Passage.

Our return voyage to mainland Argentina is far from lonely - while crossing the Drake Passage, we will re-acquaint ourselves with the vast array of seabirds that accompanied us on our passage south, except identification is easier, and spotting whales and other mammals is also easier! It’s the last chance for some onboard photography as we traverse the waves of the mighty Southern Ocean for the last time.

Day 22: Tue 7 November 2022        Terra Firma
In the morning, we arrive and disembark back in Ushuaia after a monumental journey across the far south of the world. From here, we fly home to London via Buenos Aires, arriving back in the UK on Day 23, Wed 8 November 2022.

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (e.g. weather).

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • full-board accommodation (as specified) during voyage. Includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and all excursions, talks and reports provided by Expedition Leaders.
  • return scheduled flight from London Heathrow - Buenos Aires - Ushuaia, airport taxes, baggage and hand luggage up to airline-included limit.
  • airport transfers in Ushuaia, ground transportation, accommodation and meals as specified.
  • the Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers you organisation of everything you need at the airport, and your holiday price includes pre-flight hotel and VIP Lounge. We also organise car parking, regional flights, and upgrades, which are chargeable.
  • the services of your Leaders.

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • holiday insurance, optional tips to ship's crew/other staff, drinks, and other personal expenses.
  • lunch in Ushuaia on Day 2 and Day 3.
     

More holiday information

Accommodation: is in comfortable cabins with en-suite facilities. See full details here. All hotel accommodation is included on the basis of shared rooms, please ask for detail of single supplement in Ushuaia.
Food: food on board is very good European cuisine, with a choice for all courses. Breakfast and lunch are usually an extensive buffet. There is a well stocked Bar run by the crew's Hotel staff, who are efficient, courteous and very helpful.
Mobility/Walking: is generally light/moderate, and an average level of fitness is required. There are no lifts on M/V Janssonius, though if you are mobile enough to manage stairs, you should be able to enjoy all aspects of this holiday. Staff are patient and courteous, and assistance is provided at both ends of zodiac voyages, all of which are optional. Land conditions can be wet and slippery, with uphill and downhill gradients, though an option to engage in very little walking when ashore is usually available. When on land all participants will be under the management of the Expedition Leader and their team, and must take note of instructions which are there for your safety and benefit.
Weather: will be cold, though can be surprisingly warm and pleasant. we travel in late spring/early summer, though of course at this latitude bad weather is quite possible. Warm clothing is essential, though your large vessel offers more than adequate cover and heating. Daytime temperatures can be around 5 - 6'C .
Insects: biting insects are not expected, though there will be flies on the boggy landscape. Little other insect life is expected.
Group size: you will part of a ship's complement of up to 100 clients. There is no restriction to how many of these will be Heatherlea clients.
Flights: from London Heathrow are included. Local flights can be arranged from any airport linked to Heathrow. We will of course be happy to make personal arrangements for your convenience.
Photography: Opportunities are good to excellent, particularly for birdlife including albatrosses, penguins, seals and above all scenery.

Your leaders: Kevin Shaw is the nominated Heatherlea Leader. The voyage will be under the supervision a resident on-board Expedition Leader, plus crew leaders of a very high standard. 

Our Vessel - M/V Janssonius

M/V Janssonius is the sister vessel of the M/VHondius, the world’s first-registered Polar Class 6 passenger vessel, which Heatherlea has travelled on previously in both the Arctic and Antarctic. This makes her among the most structurally fortified and technologically advanced polar cruise ships on the seas. Janssonius fully complies with the mandatory requirements of the Polar Code as adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for safe and environmentally sound ship operation in the polar regions. Using some of the latest sustainable technology, Janssonius employs LED lighting, steam heat, biodegradable paints and lubricants, and flexible power management systems to keep fuel efficiency high and CO2 emissions low. Janssonius is also equipped with stabilisers that make her highly suitable for swift, safe, and nimble exploration of Antarctic waters.

Janssonius offers comfortable accommodation for 170 passengers in six grand suites with balconies, eight junior suites, eight superior cabins, 11 twin deluxe cabins, 14 twin window cabins, 27 twin porthole cabins, two triple porthole cabins, and four quadruple porthole cabins. One deck of Janssonius is reserved for multi-language lectures and presentations in a large observation lounge as well as in a separate lecture room. But while the ship’s interiors are cozy and classically conceived in mid-century modern décor, her tough small-scale design enables her to react quickly to moment-by-moment weather changes and wildlife opportunities.

The main focus of the expedition team is always exploration, wildlife, and outdoor activities. For this reason, Janssonius carries a powerful fleet of Zodiac boats to guarantee swift and safe transit from ship to shore. She also has three separate gangways for efficient outings as well as an indoor Zodiac boarding area that can also be used for special outdoor activities such as kayaking. While cruising, Janssonius carries 72 crew and staff members, including expedition and hotel staff, all of whom will be at your service during your polar expedition trip. Janssonius is equipped with two main engines and can reach a maximum speed of 15 knots.

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.
Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.
The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;
We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

Other birding and wildlife holidays in Antarctica

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

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About Heatherlea Holidays

Contact Information

The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

T: 01479 821248

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