The last trip of this season starts in Ushuaia (Argentina) and finishes in Cape Town (South Africa). During this 51-night voyage we will visit a number of remarkable areas like the South Shetland Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea with her many icebergs. After our visit to Antarctica we will sail towards the sub-Antarctic island South Georgia with its spectacular scenery and outstanding wildlife. Furthermore we plan to visit the remotest inhabited island of the world: Tristan da Cunha. Here, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, lives a small community on top of an active volcano. Our voyage ends in the South African capital Cape Town.
This voyage is an adventure for all nature and sailing lovers. The places where we land offer remarkable wildlife with unique species, sometimes in surprising quantities. Our voyage offers all nature lovers a special opportunity to meet with some of the most unspoiled environment of this world.
Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, is the southernmost city in the world, and the principal gateway to Antarctica. The city is surrounded by coastal forests and by mountains of the Andes. Directly on the Beagle Channel (named after Darwin's expedition ship), Ushuaia is about 600 miles across the Drake Channel from the Antarctic peninsula.
50 Days at Sea
South Shetland Islands, Antarctica
These islands in the Southern Ocean less than 100 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula, consist of a chain of four island groups (of which some are volcanic) including eleven major islands (Elephant and Clarence Islands; King George and Nelson Islands; Robert, Greenwich, Livingston, Snow, and Deception Islands; Smith and Low Islands) and many smaller islands, islets and rocks. They cover an area of roughly 1,400 square miles, and are 80% covered with ice. A whaling station operated at Deception Island from 1912 to 1931. The islands are claimed by the UK, Argentina and Chile.
You will encounter the spectacular Antarctic Peninsula and the surrounding islands and protective coves and waterways. Glide around enormous tabular icebergs by Zodiac, walk along beaches covered with thousands of penguins, and kayak amid abundant marine life.
The Weddell Sea is part of the Southern Ocean and contains the Weddell Gyre. Its land boundaries are defined by the bay formed from the coasts of Coats Land and the Antarctic Peninsula.
Antarctica's Weddell Sea was discovered by the British sealer James Weddell in 1823. This normally ice-bound sea on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula is most well-known for the incredible story of Shackleton's ship, Endurance, which was trapped and was crushed by ice in 1915. After 15 months on the pack-ice Shackleton and his men managed to reach Elephant Island and arrange rescue.
Entrance to this icy world is often via 'Antarctic Sound' - named after the expedition ship of Swedish explorer Nordenskjöld. The sound that separates the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula from Dundee Island is also named “Iceberg Alley”, because of the huge icebergs often seen here coming out from the Weddell Sea.
Tristan da Cunha (British Overseas Territory)
Situated in the middle of the South Atlantic, some 1,700 miles from the nearest mainland (South Africa's Cape of Good Hope) Tristan da Cunha is the remotest island in the world. It's volcanic peak rises out of the ocean crowned with an almost permanent cap of white cloud. Summer on on the island comes from December to March. During the winter months the central peak, rising to a height of 6,594 feet, is covered in snow.
The island is roughly circular in shape with an average diameter a bit over 6 miles, and a total area of 30 square miles of which less than 2 square miles is flat. During the wet season steep valleys become fast running torrents, washing minerals down the slopes to the flat land below. On the northwestern plain, the deposits have formed green fields where the islanders grow their potatoes.
The 25 miles of coastline, comprising magnificient basalt cliffs, some rising steeply to 2,000 feet, is exposed to storms. The surrounding seas are rich in fish, providing Tristan da Cunha with one of its main sources of revenue. The other main source of income is the sale of postage stamps, which are collected by numerous philatelists and collectors all over the world.
When sailing from Brazil to the Cape of Good Hope, the Portuguese navigator Tristao da Cunha discovered the island. However he found it was impossible to land as the sea was tempesteous. The first settler to arrive on the island was an american - Captain Jonathan Lambert - who landed in 1811 and promptly claimed absolute possession of the island. Unfortunately, he drowned while fishing in 1812. In 1816, the British annexed the island and set up a garrison as a precaution against the French who, it was thought, were planning to recue Napoleon from exile on the island of St Helena.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is at the southern tip of Africa, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet at the Cape of Good Hope. Situated at a major crossroads of the maritime world, Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city with residents and visitors of many nationalities. The climate is not too warm in summer, not very cold in winter, and rather Mediterranean in character, with cooling breezes and even strong winds to cool hot days.
You may choose to ride by cable car to the top of Table Mountain, a distinct landfall for mariners for centuries, and now a National Monument with magnificent vistas. On the eastern side of Table Mountain lie Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a National Park, boasting thousands of indigenous plant species.
Visit notorious Robben Island where during Apartheid political prisoners were kept.
There are many restaurants with all sorts of cuisine, as well as pubs and night clubs - in short a very active nightlife for your enjoyment. If you want to go diving, go to Kalik Bay, or swim at one of the many gorgeous beaches close to Cape Town.