What to Expect - South Georgia & The Falkland Islands

Between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula lies an enchanting island chain, fragments of a land bridge that once connected the two continents called the Scotia Arc. Swept by krill-rich waters from the Weddell Sea, the islands boast a greater range of wildlife than the Galapagos and in numbers that overwhelm. 
Imagine King penguin colonies 150,000 strong, or 870,000 breeding pairs of rockhopper penguins. Add fur and elephant seals, sea lions, white sand beaches, soaring glaciated peaks and a thrilling history of whaling, polar explorers, pioneers and war, all this on just two of best-known of all Scotia Arc islands – the Falklands and South Georgia. 

Simply put, if you’re planning a trip to Antarctica, add these destinations for the trip of a lifetime.
From Ushuaia, indulge in the ultra-luxury experiences of Scenic Eclipse for just over a day to reach the Falkland Islands. Windswept and scarcely populated, this remote archipelago is a birder’s delight. Enjoy close encounters with magnificent black-browed albatross or ‘mollymawks’, sitting on their mud and straw nests. Delight in penguins, from ground burrowing Magellanics to flamboyant-feathered macaroni and rockhoppers, from gentle gentoos to regal kings. Five species of geese, teals and the antics of the flightless steamer duck will also captivate.

From clifftop vantages, spy bull sea lions aggressively defending their harems, moving quickly on their flippers like lumbering bears. Watch fur and elephant seals gambolling on beaches, dolphins and orcas patrolling offshore. 
Spend a day exploring the very-British capital, Stanley. Choose one of our Scenic Freechoice activities – a walking tour of the town or a Battlefield Tour detailing the Falklands War. If feeling more active, join a Scenic Discovery excursion, walk a wildlife trail and to the Magellanic penguin colony at Gypsy Cove.
Whether we approach South Georgia from north or south your first view is unforgettable. It might be waters off Bird Island roiling with penguins, fur and elephant seals; or the south coast’s ice-encrusted Salvesen Range soaring 2,330 glorious metres above. Over the next days, your Discovery team will guide you to the best bays, beaches and mountainsides of this 170 km long island, showing you why this is the world’s most important penguin and seabird breeding area.

Our Discovery Team leader plans to land as often as possible, to take extended hikes or sit quietly enjoying busy beach activities. Zodiac cruise beneath cliffs where light-mantled sooty albatross nest, walk up a boardwalk for close encounters with majestic wandering albatross and chicks. Photograph South Georgia pipits, just one of several species recovering after a successful pest eradication program.
Since 1775, when Captain Cook became the first to land on South Georgia, the island has been a base camp for sealers, whalers and Antarctic explorers. Norwegians established the island’s first whaling station in Grytviken in 1904, with six others to follow. Of all the explorers, best known is Ernest Shackleton, who with five of his men, sailed a lifeboat 800 nautical miles across the Southern Ocean, then hiked across the island’s unmapped interior to raise a rescue for the men he left behind on Elephant Island. Join your Discovery Team historian in the Grytviken cemetery to raise a toast at the graves of Shackleton and his right-hand man, Frank Wild, and tour the open-air whaling station, museum and gift shop.

Join your Discovery Team guide for all-inclusive kayaking and paddle board excursions off the island’s largest King penguin rookeries, as birds zoom underneath and all around your craft. Become one of the first people ever to explore the deep waters surrounding South Georgia in the custom-built submarine, Scenic Neptune. 

And relax in truly all-inclusive luxury as you continue along the Scotia Arc through waters that are home to all the great whale species, including blue, fin and sei whales. Depending on ice, weather and sea conditions, we may stop by the South Orkney and Elephant islands, as we follow the Scotia Arc to Antarctica.

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Helicopter and submarine activities are weather permitting, subject to availability and regulatory approvals, and incur additional costs.