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Antarctica, The Falklands and South Georgia with Dick Filby

AT A GLANCE

FOCUS

Bird & Wildlife Cruise:
birds, whales & dolphins, mammals, scenery, historical sites & photography

WHERE

Ushuaia (Argentina) – South Atlantic -  Falkland Islands – Scotia Sea -  South Georgia – Antarctic Peninsula & Islands – Drake Passage – Ushuaia

SAMPLE WILDLIFE

Penguins including King & Macaroni, albatrosses including Wandering, Black-browed and Light-mantled Sooty, other tubenoses eg petrels, prions, diving-petrels, storm-petrels and shearwaters etc, various shags, geese, duck including steamer-ducks, waders, skuas, gulls and terns plus Falkland & S Georgian endemics. Potential marine mammals include Southern Elephant, Leopard, Weddell, Crab-eater and other seals, Humpback, Orca, Fin, Antarctic Minke and other whales. Dolphins could include Peale’s, Commerson’s and Hourglass.

CLIMATE

Summer Polar

ACCOMMODATION

90+ passenger comfortable expedition ship. Cabins with, and without private facilities. 

The ‘ultimate’ itinerary, guaranteed departure with Dick Filby onboard!

Antarctica is truly like nowhere else on Earth, a continent of dramatic ice-covered mountains, never-ending snowfields, innumerable glaciers and colossal icebergs fractured into fantastic shapes.  Captivated and spellbound by the incredible and ever changing beauty of our surroundings, you will thrill to the unique wildlife spectacles that unfold daily on these trips. 

Throughout these voyages, landings are made at the best areas for wildlife.  Sturdy Zodiac inflatables allow us to go ashore at the remotest of places with ease and comfort.  The days spent at sea on these trips are a major highlight for wildlife observation too. A key element of our success is that by travelling in a group we will have many keen eyes, ensuring that more birds and cetaceans are spotted than on the average voyage.  

WildWings have been sending people to Antarctica for over 20 years now and we have learnt that the best bird and wildlife experience needs the right itinerary, on the right ship with the right staff. Our unique partnership with our preferred operator, One Ocean Expeditions, allows us to offer this ‘ultimate itinerary’, featuring Dick Filby, one of the UK’s most experienced Antarctic tour leaders. Dick will be joining their larger than average expedition teams onboard, and will work closely with the expedition leaders to maximise the wildlife opportunities throughout each voyage. In addition to their expedition staff, One Ocean Expeditions are unique in offering the services of their Adventure Concierges onboard too, to look after every last little detail. There may also be an opportunity on all our special voyages to spend a night, ‘camping’ ashore, for those that wish, a wonderful additional wilderness experience (subject to local conditions on the day). We offer these voyages with a pre-voyage hotel night in Ushuaia and can also offer an optional guided birding excursion to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park and other local birding sites.

 

These voyages offer all the expected birds and mammals of the Antarctic Peninsula including the crossings of the Drake Passage. Chinstrap, Adelie and Gentoo Penguins, Wandering, Royals, Black-browed, Grey-headed and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, both Giant Petrels, Southern Fulmar, Cape, (Lesser) Snow, Soft-plumaged, Blue and White-chinned Petrels, Antarctic and Slender-billed Prions, Wilson’s and Black-bellied Storm-Petrels, Common Diving Petrel, Antarctic Shags, Snowy Sheathbill, Chilean, Brown and South Polar Skuas, Dolphin and Kelp Gulls plus Antarctic Terns being the expected birds species. If you are lucky in the Drake Passage other species may include Great-winged, Atlantic, Kerguelan and/or Grey Petrels and down around the ice, Antarctic Petrels can appear at any time. The expected cetaceans on these voyages would be Humpback, Antarctic Minke and Killer Whales plus Peale’s and Hourglass Dolphins but many more species are possible and seen such as Blue, Fin and Southern Right Whales. 

Other marine mammals should include Weddell, Crabeater, Antarctic Fur and Leopard Seals.  In addition to the spectacular wildlife you will also wonder at the ice, its shapes, colours and hues and soak in some of the most amazing scenery on earth in the ever changing light. Photographic (still and video) opportunities are superb throughout. 

There is no doubt amongst those that have travelled to the Antarctic region on voyages that have included South Georgia - be they birders, naturalists or the general tourist - that they rate this unique island as awesome as the Antarctic itself. The scenery is incredible; the penguin rookeries immense - how King Penguins are usually everybody’s favourite. You have not lived until you have seen nesting Wandering Albatrosses. The beaches filled wall-to-wall with Fur Seals have to be seen to be believed. Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses are the most haunting of all the albatross, and that the sea crossing, filled with birds and often whales, is a major highlight in itself.  Preceded with the splendours of the Falklands, and followed with the best of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetlands, this is truly the ultimate Antarctic trip.  

Most people only do one Antarctic trip in their life, and, if they do not include South Georgia, then they may always regret it. There is no doubt that we consider this to be the perfect itinerary forthetrip of a lifetime.  As we travel, we will also marvel at the exploits of the early explorers, especially Shackleton, and in particular his incredible open boat journey from Elephant Island culminating in the traverse of South Georgia to save his men.  All this they accomplished without the help of modern navigation aids or high performance clothing. These voyages include the Falklands and South Georgia therefore offers additional species such as King, Macaroni and Magellanic Penguins, albatross colony visits, Gray-backed Storm-Petrel, Georgian Diving Petrel, South Georgia Shag, Sub-Antarctic Skua plus ‘land’ endemics such as Falklands Flightless Steamer Ducks, South Georgia Pintail and Pipit, Striated Caracara etc. We also plan to sail through the northern Weddell Sea on our way down to  Antarctica and will look for larger tabular bergs, which may contain resting flocks of thousands of Antarctic and Snow Petrels (as were seen in 2010). Additional marine mammals should include Commerson’s Dolphins, South American Sea Lions and Southern Elephant Seals. Our 2016 departure also enjoyed 2 Emperor Penguins, 2 White-headed Petrels plus Burmeister’s Porpoise. 

The vessel for these expedition cruises will be one of our favourite ships, either the Vavilov, or her sister, Ioffe. With a maximum passenger capacity of about 90, we can expect to make two landings and/or Zodiac cruises each day. These vessels offers a number of advantages over the 50 or so passenger ships, not least their larger size meaning greater stability on the open ocean, very important for maximising sea watching on the crossings of the Drake Passage and Scotia Sea.

They are very stable and a ‘scope and tripod can often be used on deck, whilst at sea! Originally built for scientific polar exploration, they have lots of open deck space in all directions, ideal for sea-watching and photography and are very quiet too, allowing for closer encounters with cetaceans. These ships have a high ice-class rating, and their experienced staff and crew are dedicated to ensuring that you have a successful, comfortable, safe and enjoyable trip and that you see as much of the wildlife as possible.  The Zodiac drivers will take us safely ashore, and also on more leisurely cruises as well, so we gain an even more intimate and unique perspective of the seabirds and marine mammals in this stunning wilderness.

The atmosphere on board is relaxing and informal and meals are taken at a single open sitting in the spacious dining room.  Western chefs produce an international choice of great food throughout the voyage. At certain points during your voyage a speedy or take away dining option maybe available to minimise time in the dining room and maximise time on deck for those that wish. The cabins are all comfortable and all have an outside view (porthole or window), desk and chair plus storage space and power points. All cabins (except the triples) include bathrobes, toiletry kits, a hairdryer and a tea/coffee maker. In addition, the suites also have a CD player/mini-stereo with Ipod dock (and use of the ship’s CDs), snack basket and bottle of wine on embarkation, vanity kit plus use of binoculars and a wildlife book Other on board facilities include an fitness room, sauna and polar plunge pool, lounge, presentation room, multi-media room, gift shop and a well-stocked library.  The mud-room allows boots and outdoor coats to be kept by the Zodiac gangways. The spacious bridge is usually open for those who wish to learn about navigation, see the ship's charts, or simply sea watch in comfort and is stocked with wildlife ID guides and spare pairs of binoculars.

‘Non-birding’ partner’s invariably enjoy these cruises too, the ships are comfortable, stable, the food good, plenty of new interesting friends to make and experiences to share and the most stunning scenery in the world.

The November voyages also include Bruce Pearson onboard as ‘artist in residence’, one of the UK’s (and arguably the world’s) best living wildlife artists. Bruce’s love of the southern oceans and it’s wildlife goes back many years and is celebrated in his recently published book, Troubled Waters, trailing the albatross, an artist’s journey (Langford Press). Bruce will be joining Dick and the larger than average expedition team onboard. He will give lectures and hold workshops throughout the voyage, giving tips and advice on drawing and painting. WildWings will make a donation equivalent to £100 per person to the Birdlife International ‘Save the Albatross Campaign’ (administered in the UK by the RSPB) for each passenger who books on this special voyage.  The November departures will also have a photographic symposium running throughout the voyage, with additional specialist staff onboard available to help you get the most from your own images.            

If you want to experience the most incredible place on earth, don't miss this chance to join the best leaders on the best ship, on the ultimate Antarctic wildlife itinerary……

Day 1: Arrive Ushuaia, overnight hotel.

Day 2: Optional Birding excursion to Tierra del Fuego National Park. Board vessel and sail down the Beagle Channel.

Day 3: At sea.

Days 4 - 5: The Falkland Islands (planned landings may include Carcass and West Point Islands plus Port Stanley)

Days 6 - 7: At sea, we will cross the Antarctic Convergence which can be a wildlife hotspot (see 2010 trip report).

Days 8 - 10: South Georgia (planned landings may include Salisbury Plain, Prion Island for nesting Wandering Albatross, Grytviken, King Haakon Bay, Peggotty Bluff, Cooper, Royal and Hercules Bays plus Zodiac cruises)

Days 11 – 13: At sea via the South Orkneys and northern Weddell Sea (subject to ice conditions).

Days 14 - 17: The Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands (planned landings may include Elephant Island, King George, Half Moon, Aicho, Livingstone and Deception Islands, Paradise Harbour or Hope Bay on the continent itself plus Zodiac cruises).

Days 18-19: At sea, crossing the Drake Passage.

Day 20: Disembark Ushuaia after breakfast.

NB: The exact voyage itineraries are subject to ice, weather and local conditions at the time.

Please note: All itineraries are subject to weather, local conditions and final approval by the relevant authorities.

Antarctica, the Falklands & South Georgia (Ioffe) 30th November – 18th December 2017 

Leaders: The ship’s expedition team including Dick Filby, Bruce Pearson and (this voyage will be a wildlife and photography special).

Special inclusions – Pre-cruise night hotel in Ushuaia.

Early booking prices, valid until 28/2/17

Prices per person sharing:

£10,775       Triple with washbasin (upper & lower berths) 

£12,455       Twin with semi-private facilities (lower berths)       
NB Bathroom shared between two cabins only. 

£14,119      Twin with private facilities (lower berths)

£14,869      Twin superior with private facilities (lower berths)

£16,445      Shackleton Suite (double & single berth)

£18,119     One Ocean Suite

Deposit 20%

WildWings will donate £100 per person to the Save the Albatross Campaign from bookings for this voyage. 

Single cabins 1.5 twin share price.

Exchange rate £1 = US$1.20

US Dollar prices available for non-UK residents. 

Price includes:  Accommodation and all meals aboard ship (with free tea and coffee 24 hours), port taxes, Zodiac landings, services of WildWing’s Dick Filby onboard, plus Bruce Pearson (November sailings only) and the rest of the ship’s expedition staff including lecture and film programmes at sea, pre-voyage WildWings hotel night in Ushuaia (with breakfast), daily sea watching sessions (at sea), evening checklist, use of onboard library, WildWings pre-voyage information pack and day-by-day checklist of mammals and birds, group transfers in Ushuaia to and from ship, Birding excursion to TDFNP on day of sailing (January departures only!), souvenir voyage CD log and free onboard wet weather gear and boot loan onboard

Price excludes: Flights UK – Ushuaia (available from £1199 including pre-paid taxes and security/fuel surcharges), additional pre and or post cruise hotel nights in Ushuaia and/or Buenos Aires if required, Birding excursion to TDFNP on day of sailing (included for January departures), other meals and all drinks in Argentina, other drinks, laundry and items of a personal nature onboard, crew gratuities (we suggest $10 per passenger per day aboard ship), passport fees, travel insurance. 

 

The next departures are expected to be in November 2017 and January 2018, please contact us for details when finalised in the meantime. 

Akademik Ioffe (One Ocean Navigator)

Russian, former research vessels carrying up to 96/92 passengers respectively. Officers and crew professional and friendly. Western expedition staff with their unique ‘expedition concierges’ too (usually 15+ staff in total). Comfortable with good food. A real expedition feel. All cabins with portholes or windows. Stable, fast and quiet. (WildWing’s Dick Filby will be the onboard ornithologist on a number of sailings to Antarctica including the Falklands and South Georgia)


    Photo

    Artist

    The ‘ultimate’ Antarctic itinerary, with artist Bruce Pearson and birder Dick Filby onboard. A special voyage in aid of the ‘Save the Albatross Campaign’

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    Photo

    Tour Leader

    Dick has been leading birding and wildlife trips for WildWings for over 20 years in the Polar Regions, Oceania, Alaska, the Russian Far East, Spitsbergen, Galapagos, Colorado and Poland.

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"I will single out Dick Filby as a superb part of the holiday and his knowledge, patience, enthusiasm, spotting ability and friendliness ensured that every hour of wildlife watching produced the maximum"

D&H.L Antarctica 2012

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‘It was a fantastic holiday – thanks for your advice and assistance’

A & R.C. Antarctica, The Falklands & South Georgia March 2014

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"This was one of the best (if not the best) tours that we have ever taken."

AFSG - Nov 2013 J & M. T. Dec 2013

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"It was our 60th birthday treat to each other and turned out to be everything and more than we had imagined.Wild Wings and Dick Filby were professional at all times. Onboard everyone had a lot of time and patience with me as I am not an avid birder. All up it was more than we ever hoped for and thank you all for your contribution to make it this way for us. We would recommend your company to others and will happily travel with you again when the time is right. Thank you all."

AFSG January 2013 - R.G.Sep 2013

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‘it was an incredible experience and one that is almost impossible to put into words….We had an experience that was all you and the brochure had predicted and more’

Antarctic Peninsula D&H.L.Feb 2012

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“We are back from trip to Antarctica and it was absolutely amazing!!! We had the time of our lives. Everything was just excellent, excursions, wildlife….everything was way better than expected. I wanted to thank you for all your help through the booking process and all the information you gave us. We are already telling all our friends not to hesitate to contact you. Thank you again for everything!” 


Antarctica A.H.J March 2012

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‘More than met my expectations’

Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia - A.M-S. December 2014

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‘This was the adventure of a lifetime…the memory will stay with me forever’

Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia - H.W-M. December 2014

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‘Holiday of a lifetime; awesome, Bruce, Dick and Denise were all brilliant’ 

Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia - J.M. December 2014

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‘Could not be bettered..an unbeatable team!’

Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia - J.T December 2014

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"We had a fantastic time, 7 penguins, 5 albatross species and great whale encounters. Dick was a great leader and extremely helpful."

Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia - M&F.S. March 2013

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“Hi John, E-mailing you is on my to do list, right before editing 8,000 more pictures. I wanted to thank you for answering all our questions and encouraging us to make the trip. It was an absolute trip of a lifetime for me. If anyone were to ask me, I don’t think you have seen the best of the Antarctic region if you haven’t been to South Georgia. The King Penguin colonies there were unbelievable. In addition to Denise and Dick and Bruce who you know are wonderful, all the ship’s staff was outstanding in their knowledge, enthusiasm and helpfulness. John, I must convey how pleasant it was to deal with you. It was a very personalized experience and I appreciate it.”

Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia - M.S. December 2015

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‘An amazing experience, truly the experience of a lifetime’

Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia M.G. January 2014

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‘ Just to say we would choose WildWings before booking with other operators offering the same trips!’

Antarctica, The Falklands & South Georgia March 2014

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‘WildWings had the ship, itinerary and expertise we wanted…all the staff, including the Zodiac crews were fantastic….thank you for an unforgettable trip’

C.T. Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia with Dick Filby Feb 2014

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"Amazing scenery, lots of good birds, staff and crew on ship excellent!"

G&J.C WPO 2012

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‘We had a fantastic time, 7 penguins, 5 albatross species and great whale encounters. Dick was a great leader and extremely helpful.’

M&F.S. AFSG - March 2013

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