EXCLUSIVE TO GREG MORTIMER: The Solar Eclipse expedition in Antarctica in Nov 2021 will have two NASA special guests lecturers. Dr Michelle Thaller is a NASA astronomer, and Dr Andrew Booth is a NASA Engineer. Dr Booth is a lead engineer on NASA’s WFIRST mission, intending to unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, and search for exoplanets. While Dr Thaller currently presents ‘How the Universe Works and Space’s Deepest Secrets’ on the Discovery Science Channel. They will conduct a series of talks of the solar eclipse on Antarctica’s role in science and astronomy.
“The extreme environment of Antarctica is used by NASA to simulate places as far away as Mars and the moons of Jupiter. We promise to take passengers along for a scientific journey they’ll never forget!” Dr Michelle Thaller, Assistant Director for Science Communication. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre.
Total solar eclipses occur when the New Moon comes between the Sun and Earth. It covers the entire Sun for a few minutes, and it becomes very dark outside. It only happens every one to two years, witnessing it in Antarctica is, without a doubt, a rare occurrence. To see a total solar eclipse in Antarctica is in itself extraordinary, but to also be guided by a NASA astronomer is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Not only will you see the Solar Eclipse in Antarctica from a favourable location, but you will also experience the white continent in late spring. As a result, you can witness penguins nest building, whales feeding and photograph glistening icebergs.
In South Georgia, we’ll encounter elephant seal beach masters guarding their harems. Moreover, you will have the opportunity to walk among some of the largest king penguin colonies on earth. For the adventurous, you will be able to retrace Shackleton’s epic crossing from King Haakon Bay to Stromness.
About the vessel: The Greg Mortimer is a new and custom-designed ship, at the cutting edge of nautical technology. It features the patented X-BOW™, hydraulic viewing platforms and environmentally friendly virtual anchoring. It has four dedicated sea level launching platforms that provide smoother and safer zodiac transfers. Once you are back from the explorations, you will be able to relax in the Wellness Centre comprising with sauna, spa and gym equipment. Whatsmore, all staterooms have private bathrooms and twin and double-bed configuration options. It has ample storage, international power outlets, daily cabin service, as well as all the necessary amenities.
– 23 Nov 2021 to 08 Dec 2021 (16 days – Sail – Solar Eclipse Voyage Antarctic Peninsula) Sylvia Earle
– 24 Nov 2021 to 15 Dec 2021 (22 days – Sail – Solar Eclipse Voyage South Georgia & Antarctica) Greg Mortimer
Spend the day exploring Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the Americas.
Free day in Ushuaia. Later this evening you will embark and we will set sail along the Beagle Channel.
Enjoy informative talks and presentations, and watch out for seabirds as you cross the Drake Passage.
By late afternoon, glimpse your first iceberg as you reach the South Shetland Islands on the Antarctic Peninsula. Soaring, ice-clad mountains; mirror-smooth waterways and islands boisterous with wildlife await. Discover historic huts, penguin rookeries and sculpted icebergs across a region ripe for adventure. The Peninsula is Antarctica’s most accessible playground.
Be mesmerised by the frozen continent. Walk among handsome chinstrap and peaceful gentoo penguins. Kayakers paddle through glassy channels or Zodiac-cruise amid grounded bergs and watch for blows of humpback, minke and orcas. Pinch yourself, you’re on the world’s most spectacular continent!
Let’s face it – you don’t want windowless rooms when travelling around some of the most beautiful locations around the world. This is why the Greg Mortimer is designed with plenty of dedicated observation spaces – ideal for keen bird spotters, wildlife watchers and those wanting to watch the scenery go past. From the indoor 180-degree lounge and outdoor 360-degree open deck to the 270-degree open sundeck, there are plenty of observation points to share around the ship! If these are full, then you can take up a spot on one of the two hydraulic viewing platforms on deck 5.
When you’re relaxing during a sea day or you have a little downtime on the ship between excursions, what is there to do onboard the Greg Mortimer? Plenty!
On all expeditions, there are experts who lead presentations in the spacious lecture room so you can understand the region a little better. These often include topics as broad as history and culture to biology and climate change, these presentations aim to educate and entertain.
If you’re keen to just watch the surroundings and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife, you have access to two bars/lounges where the stunning floor to ceiling windows offer a special perspective on the landscape.
The Greg Mortimer is also decked out with other facilities for your enjoyment. There is a library on Deck 7 with books and maps and a Wellness Centre complete with gym equipment, sauna and spa. Keen photographers and artists will revel in the multimedia room on deck 5.
Elephant Island: Weather-permitting, you’ll set course for Elephant Island and hear the story of how Shackleton’s ship the Endurance was crushed in the pack ice in the Weddell Sea. The ship will then be moved into prime position for the eagerly awaited solar eclipse.
According to NASA, the optimum position to experience the solar eclipse is well into the Weddell Sea with the instant of greatest eclipse taking place on December 04 at approximately 0734 hours.
Days at sea offer opportunities for talks and presentations ahead of your arrival to South Georgia.
Follow in Shackleton’s historic footsteps and be mesmerised by this wildlife oasis. Vast king penguin colonies, seal pup swim schools and elephant seal battles for breeding supremacy, play out against a backdrop of glaciated mountains. Witness large king penguin chicks that have survived the winter mixed in with new parents shuffling around with eggs on their feet, the courtship dance of the wandering albatross, as well as macaroni penguins on the search for snow-free nest sites
From the moment you step onto the Greg Mortimer, the crew aims to give you the best hospitality service possible. Starting with the official Captain’s Welcome, you’re welcome to 24 hours complimentary coffee, tea and snack facilities in addition to a range of different menu options and courses for each meal.
Meals are served in a large restaurant with family style dining, perfect to swap stories with your new expedition family. Additionally, a private dining area will also be available on request. Enjoy the range of house wine, beers and soft drinks included with dinner after a long day in the wild, preparing yourself for another exciting day to follow.
Over the following days, enjoy mid-spring in South Georgia. Hear the heroic story of Shackleton and his men and retrace Shackleton’s epic voyage and perhaps hike from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. Natural history experts and polar specialists share their knowledge, kayakers enjoy extended paddling excursions. Enjoy Zodiac-cruises, walk amongst the world’s largest king penguin colonies and beaches crammed with fur seals where bulls fight to defend their territories. South Georgia will leave you with long-lasting memories and stories of adventure to share.
Although the ship is fun, the real enjoyment comes from the many shore excursions that are available. Depending on the weather and itinerary, it’s possible to take two to three landings daily, taking a look at everything from rock formations and ancient ruins to cute groups of penguins. We know time is of the essence in these wild locations, so the Greg Mortimer has been designed with more Zodiacs (15) than any other Aurora ship, which means you can maximise your time onshore.
From four dedicated sea level launching platforms, transfers are quicker, safer and enable you to get closer to the action for a longer period of time. Just remember to charge your camera before you step onto the Zodiac!
There’s ample time to compare and edit photos, enjoy a massage, or stay active in the fitness centre on the journey to Stanley.
Discover historic Stanley, the Falkland’s~Malvinas British capital. Albatross, rockhopper penguins and cormorants share these windswept, birdlife-rich islands with sea lions and sheep. Visit Stanley for war history and a touch of Britannia.
En route to Ushuaia, pass close to Isla de los Estados (Staten Island).
The team on the Greg Mortimer will put on a special farewell four-course dinner and cocktails, a perfect way to reflect on your time on the ship and consolidate lifelong friendships with the people you’ve met on-board.
Bid farewell to new friends before disembarking in Ushuaia.