Antarctica- off the beaten track on board of RCGS Resolute journey is the perfect combination of fly and cruise. This 11 days journey will take you to explore the white continent during the early days of the Antarctic season. After winter the landscape in Antarctica will have towering glaciers, massive icebergs and snow-covered landscapes which will give the opportunity to do snowshoeing, ski touring. Spend the days off the ship exploring by Zodiac, making shore landings in the company of expert guides. By breaking into small special-interest groups, you’ll discover Antarctica and its remarkable wildlife through photography, Zodiac excursions, and for the more adventurous, camping and sea kayaking. Visits to historic sites and active scientific research locations add another dimension to the voyage. These are some of the reasons that make this popular voyage the perfect introduction to the white continent.
This classic 10-night expedition features a long list of highlights, including a visit to Elephant Island – a location forever connected to the remarkable story of survival by Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men. It includes a day spent exploring the icy Weddell Sea and many of the well-known landing sites along the length of the Antarctic Peninsula. Add a few of the lesser-known hidden gems – and this has all the makings of an exceptional and unique journey. A final highlight of the voyage will be a visit to the enchanting South Shetland Islands. Here, we hope to visit Deception Island and other nearby locations such as the Aitcho Islands. This carefully-designed itinerary provides an incredible diversity of both sights and experiences and showcases all the favourite sites.
About the vessel: RCGS Resolute (max 146 passengers) is modern and offers expedition cruising with the highest ice rating. It features comfortable and spacious cabins spread over six decks, and all have outside views. Enjoy the sumptuous meals in either of our two dining rooms. Both dining rooms have ample and open seating paired with modern furnishings and large picture windows with 180-degree views. The Observation Lounge is one of the most popular locations for guests to gather and enjoy incredible panoramic views. Between excursions relax in the saltwater plunge pool, wellness centre, Jacuzzi, steam room or sauna. Other facilities include theatre style presentation room, library, and gift-shop. You will receive a complimentary expedition kit that consists of a jacket, waders, drybag and binoculars to be used on voyages. Quite simply, she is one of the most comfortable and capable expedition ships in the world today.
Fly Santiago/ Stanley (Falkland Islands)
We depart Santiago this morning on our private air charter direct to Stanley, the small capital of the Falkland Islands. We are met on arrival and transfer from the airport into town. There is time to explore the town or enjoy a guided visit to nearby Gypsy Cove which provides our first opportunity for observing the local wildlife, including nesting Magellanic penguins and other sea birds.
Giant petrels, albatross and smaller Cape petrels are your companions as you transit the Drake Passage. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of your modern research vessel. Throughout the day your onboard experts will teach you with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history.
Continue your navigation through the famous Drake Passage, this body of water between South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica, connects the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean with the south-eastern part of the Pacific Ocean.
Antarctic Sound, the Weddell Sea and Northern Gerlache Strait
Navigating into Antarctic Sound witness for the first time the vastness and majesty of the Antarctic icecap. It is an awe-inspiring sight. We notice a significant increase in the number of huge tabular icebergs entering the Weddell. These massive icebergs break from the huge ice shelves to the south drifting here on the prevailing currents. Adélie penguin rookeries of staggering exist here – some contain more than 100,000 nesting birds. We have several fantastic locations to consider, but the ice conditions will likely dictate the landing sites. Gourdin Island and Brown Bluff are two such locations featuring substantial penguin rookeries. The region is also full of history of early exploration and has fascinating geological sites with thousands of fossils strewn over the shoreline. We have a busy day of exploration onshore, in the Zodiacs and on the ship.
The days are spent exploring on and off the ship in the company of our expert guides. Popular activities include guided hikes on shore, visits to wildlife colonies, and exploration of historic huts and science stations. Zodiac cruising in the ice is always a thrill. Based on on-site conditions, the ski touring group may set off to explore the pristine terrain with our experienced mountaineering guides.
Southern Gerlache Strait
Anvers Island is one of the largest of the off-shore ‘barrier’ islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. There are several outstanding sites here as well as on neighbouring Wiencke Island. These locations provide us with opportunities to venture onshore, breaking into smaller groups. Enjoy a short or longer hike, wander over to observe penguins guarding their precious eggs or newborns on the nest, cruise in the Zodiacs or just sit and soak it all in. The choice is yours. A short transit across the Gerlache Strait brings us along the actual continental landmass of Antarctica. A potential shore landing at Paradise Harbour will be a highlight for many – as you step foot on the continent proper, for the very first time.
The expedition snow-shoe group may follow in the tracks of the skiers, climbing to high points which afford breathtaking views. The sea kayakers will head out on excursions which may last all day. Photography enthusiasts will enjoy the chance to spend an entire day with our expedition photographer on an all-day field workshop.
South Shetland Islands
The adventure is not over, and if the weather conditions allow, we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera at Deception Island. This is a very dramatic place, and history is all around us as we explore the old whaling station. The nearby Aitcho Islands provide some great hiking routes showcasing the colourful mosses and lichens found on the island. Gentoo and chinstrap penguins nest here and on the beaches, and we usually encounter seals coming and going from the surrounding waters. Fort Point situated on Greenwich Island is another possible location for a visit.
Drake Passage – Return to Stanley
As we make our way back to Stanley and the Falkland Islands, the educational presentations continue, and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader.
Fly Stanley (Falkland Islands)/ Santiago
This morning we find ourselves back in the port of Stanley. We say goodbye to our crew and after some free time in town, make our way to the airport for our return charter flight to Santiago. On arrival in Santiago, our journey comes to an end.