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The Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica

We boarded the Akademik Ioffe in the afternoon of 28th January 2002 in Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world, and began our 18-night voyage to the seventh continent.

We sailed down the Beagle Channel and reached the Falklands some 40 hours later. Our landings at Westpoint Island and Carcass Island were rewarded by close views of black browed albatrosses, three species of penguins: rockhopper, magellanic and gentoo and various other birds. We spent half a day in Port Stanley and had a very English pub lunch before continuing our voyage to South Georgia.

We arrived at South Georgia—a wildlife paradise—after nearly three days at sea. We encountered hundreds of thousands of king penguins at Salisbury Plain happy to walk just feet away from us. Then there were seals, more penguins, birds and even reindeer. South Georgia is also full of history about Shackleton and whalers.

Another three days in the sometimes (or mostly?) stormy Southern Ocean before the landing on King George Island where we visited Chilean and Russian research stations and sent postcards back home.

On 12th February, we finally set foot on the Antarctic continent at Neko Harbour (latitude 64°50’S). Unfortunately we couldn’t go further south because of icebergs but we were delighted to see breaching humpback whales a few times. There was a particular one that breached more than 40 times. Our fingers were totally numb from clicking the camera shutters in the cold.

We made it back to Ushuaia on 15th February after two days sailing across the relatively calm Drake Passage and rounding Cape Horn.

Altogether, we saw seven species of penguins, eight whales/dolphins, four seals, and 28 birds. It was a fascinating experience and we developed an appetite for adventurous travelling because of this.

 

An unforgettable once in a lifetime adventure

penguins, whales, icebergs, wilderness ....