Solar Eclipse in Antarctica

  • days: 22
  • from US$26,300

International Flights Not Included

Types of travel:

Countries Visited:

  • Argentina
  • Antarctica
  • South Georgia Island
  • Falklands-Malvinas

Description

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

A total solar eclipse occurs only every 1-2 years, and to witness it in Antarctica* is without doubt a rare occurrence. On this unique voyage, visit Antarctica and experience the incredible white continent in late spring, photograph glistening icebergs, witness thieving Adélie penguins stealing one another’s stones during nest-building, and orca whales hunting in packs. It’s a wonderful time to kayak and to snowshoe while the snow is still pristine.

Perched in a favourable position, hope for clear skies and favourable weather conditions to witness the full solar eclipse. The eclipse in Antarctica is a total solar eclipse, which is only visible from a small area on Earth. Those who are able to see the total eclipse are in the centre of the moon’s shadow when it hits Earth. A total solar eclipse is in itself special, but to possibly experience it in Antarctica is truly a once-in-a-lifetime event. 

In South Georgia, a wildlife hotspot unlike any other, you will encounter elephant and fur seal beachmasters aggressively defending their harems from younger competitors, young wandering albatross test their enormous wings on their maiden flight, walk amongst some of the largest king penguin colonies on Earth and listen to their trumpeting mating calls. For the adventurous few, retrace the steps of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean’s epic alpine crossing from King Haakon Bay to Stromness. Stop in historic Stanley, Britain’s remote outpost, on our return to Ushuaia.

*Viewing the solar eclipse is subject to weather and ice conditions allowing for it to be possible

In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.

Itinerary

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Abbreviation: [B,L,D] Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 1. Arrive Ushuaia

Arrive in Ushuaia, where you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to your downtown hotel (preferred flights only).

DAY 2. Embark the Greg Mortimer in Ushuaia

This morning, enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before exploring Ushuaia on a half-day city tour.

Ushuaia, capital city of the province of Tierra del Fuego, is located on the shores of the Beagle Channel and it is surrounded by the Martial Range, which offers a unique landscape as a result of the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forest. The city tour will visit The Mission, Brown and Solier neighbourhoods, where you can see old houses belonging to the first families in Tierra del Fuego, such as the Beban, the Pastoriza, and the Ramos. Head 11 kilometres (6.8 miles) out of town to Martial Glacier. The ride in the chair lift to the trails leading up to the glacier provides wonderful regional views and of Ushuaia town, the Beagle Channel and its islands. Afterwards, continue to the End of the World Museum with exhibitions explaining the history of Tierra del Fuego.

Transfer to the pier where our expedition team will warmly welcome you on board the Greg Mortimer at approximately 4.00 pm (final embarkation time will be provided in your final documentation). As the Greg Mortimer pulls away from port, we’ll gather on the deck to commence our adventure with spectacular views over Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings. [B,L,D]

DAY 3. Drake Passage Crossing 

As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures, and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.

Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skilfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. [B,L,D]

DAY 4. Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands 

Nearing the tip of the South Shetland Islands on day four, the excitement is palpable with everyone converging on the bridge watching for our first iceberg. The ocean takes on a whole new perspective once we are below the Antarctic Convergence and are surrounded by the surreal presence of floating ice sculptures. The memory of your first big iceberg sighting is likely to remain with you for a lifetime. Weather permitting, we may attempt our first landing in Antarctica by late afternoon. [B,L,D]

DAYS 5-9. Drake Passage & South Shetland Islands 

Over the next few days a host of choices are open to us, and depending on ice and weather conditions, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula is ours to explore. Our experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design our voyage from day to day. This allows us to make best use of the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.

Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-20 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish. We will generally try for two landings or Zodiac excursions each day; cruising along spectacular ice cliffs; following whales that are feeding near the surface; and landing on the continent and its off-shore islands to visit penguin rookeries, seal haul outs, historic huts, and a few of our other favourite spots along the peninsula. There will be plenty of time for sleep when you get home!

There are many exciting places we can choose to visit and our itinerary is deliberately flexible to allow us to pick the best spots on the day based on ice and weather conditions. [B,L,D]

DAY 10. Elephant Island, Weddell Sea 

This morning, if weather permits, we set course for Elephant Island, a half-submerged mountain cloaked with an ice sheet at the outer limits of the South Shetlands. We’ll learn the story of Shackleton and hear how his ship, the Endurance, was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea, before him and his men climbed into three open boats, spending 16 months at sea, before finally making landfall on this tiny toe of rock and ice in the vastness of the Southern Ocean on 14 April, 1916. We plan to sail past Cape Valentine to see the beach where the men first put ashore over 100 years ago. Weather permitting; we hope to follow the coastline 9.65 km/6 miles west to Point Wild, where the men eventually set up camp under two of their upturned open boats and some old tents. If weather permits, we’ll attempt to make a landing on historic Point Wild, Elephant Island.

We then begin to position our ship in prime location for the eagerly awaited solar eclipse. [B,L,D]

DAY 11. Solar Eclipse

According to NASA, the optimum position to experience the solar eclipse is well into the Weddell Sea. The eclipse is visible from the following geographic regions: Antarctica, South Africa, south Atlantic, but the full eclipse will only be visible in Antarctica.

The instant of greatest eclipse takes place on Dec 04 at 07:34:38 TD (Terrestrial Dynamical Time) or (07:33:28 UT1).

Historically, early December would be considered too early to visit South Orkney Islands because of extensive sea ice. However, conditions have been changing every year and it may be possible to get into the South Orkneys on 04 December, 2021 – the unknown is part of what makes the experience even more thrilling.

The eclipse belongs to Saros 152 and is number 13 of 70 eclipses in the series. All eclipses in this series occur at the Moon’s descending node. The total solar eclipse of 2021 Dec 04 is preceded two weeks earlier by a partial lunar eclipse on 2021 Nov 19. These eclipses all take place during a single eclipse season. An eclipse season is a period during which the Sun appears close enough to one of the Moon’s nodes to permit an eclipse to occur. Each season lasts approximately 34 days and repeats at about 173-day intervals. [B,L,D]

DAYS 12-13. Solar Eclipse

En route for South Georgia we’ll head across the Scotia Sea, following the route that Shackleton and five of his men took in order to find help for the rest of their crew. On 24 April, 1916, they piled into the James Caird, the most seaworthy of their open boats, to attempt this perilous journey to South Georgia, some 1290 km (802 miles) distant. Shackleton hoped to reach South Georgia in two weeks. There he would enlist the help of the whalers to return to Elephant Island and rescue the men who had been left behind. As excitement builds for South Georgia, catch up with fellow expeditioners in the bar, keep watch for wildlife alongside our naturalist from the open bridge, or learn more of the Shackleton story from our historian. [B,L,D]

DAYS 14-17. South Georgia 

Over the next few days, marvel at South Georgia’s incredible scenes such as enormous and bustling king penguin colonies, fur seals jostling for space on the beach, jaw-dropping mountain landscapes and learn of Shackleton’s epic rescue journey. On Zodiac-cruises, discover bays filled with raucous and playful fur seals, and land on pebble beaches to meet curious penguins. Challenge yourself on hikes and enjoy dazzling pristine landscapes seen by few. South Georgia is a place where you can truly feel like you’ve really escaped from your normal daily life.

South Georgia is one of the world’s most amazing natural environments. Just a speck in the vastness of the South Atlantic Ocean, and lying wholly within the Antarctic Convergence, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are a life-sustaining haven to some of the world’s largest congregations of wildlife. The surrounding sea is one of the most productive areas on Earth and supports the life of millions of seals, whales, penguins and other seabirds. A mountain range forms the spine of this long, narrow island. Between the mountains, shattered glaciers carve their way through tussock grass to the deeply indented coastline – a landscape that is synonymous with the epic expedition of survival by Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean. Abandoned rusting whaling stations and remnants of explorers reflect a time of long ago, while summer workers conduct scientific and regeneration projects.

As we explore South Georgia, we will have the opportunity to reflect on Shackleton’s epic journey. If conditions permit, we plan to follow in Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean’s footsteps and complete the final leg of their walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. On this expedition, we will make a special stop at King Haakon Bay to drop off our Mountaineers to start their 3-day crossing of South Georgia. [B,L,D]

DAYS 18-19. Sea Crossing 

En route to the Falklands~Malvinas, you will be entranced by the ceaseless flight of the many seabirds that follow our wake, skilfully using the air currents created by the ship to gain momentum. On this leg, we are usually travelling into the prevailing weather so it is difficult to estimate our arrival time in the Falklands~Malvinas. Our lecture program will continue and highlight all of the amazing sights we have witnessed over the past few days. We’ll have ample time to enjoy the rest of our time observing the sea birds, whale watching from the bridge, or simply relaxing with a book. [B,L,D]

DAY 20. Falklands~Malvinas

Located 477 kilometres/296 miles east of southern Argentina, the Falklands~Malvinas are a unique mix of wildlife hotspot and inhabited outpost. An archipelago of over 700 islands, but consisting of two main islands, East and West, only seven of the islands are inhabited. The cold nutrient-rich waters surrounding the islands makes them a prime location for marine life including seabirds and seals. Our time in the Falkland~Malvinas includes a short walk in historic Stanley town, and Sealion Island located in East Falkland’s south, where you can get insight into the unique experience of Sealion Island Nature Reserve. You will discover how the raw beauty and solitude of the island makes it a haven for wildlife and visitors alike. In 2009, Sealion Island was officially declared a National Nature Reserve, with no introduced predators living on the island.

Tussac grass covers much of the island providing an ideal habitat for elephant seals and sea lions that can be found on many of the island’s spectacular beaches. A plethora of birds such as thrushes, finches, tussac birds and Magellanic penguins also inhabit the tussac. Pods of orcas, Peale’s dolphins and leopard seals are regularly seen in the waters around the island.

The island’s southern giant petrels, with a wingspan of two metres, act as a welcoming party to ships as they approach Sealion Island. Rockhopper, gentoo and Magellanic penguins come to Sealion Island to breed. Macaroni, king penguins and Striated and Crested Caracaras are also common seen on the island. [B,L,D]

DAY 21. Sea Crossing 

You may choose to spend the sea days returning to Ushuaia editing your photos, enjoying the onboard facilities, or listening to an informative lecture. Celebrate the end of an unforgettable voyage with newfound friends at a special Captain’s farewell dinner. [B,L,D]

DAY 22. Disembark in Ushuaia 

Upon disembarkation, transfer to Ushuaia airport to continue on your onward journey.

Inclusions

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Travel

  • All cruising on board the polar expedition ship, the Greg Mortimer
  • All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises
  • Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1 (preferred flights only)
  • Luggage transfer from your hotel in Ushuaia to the ship on Day 2

Accommodation & Meals

  • On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
  • Cost based on Twin Aurora Stateroom
  • One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Ushuaia on Day 1
  • All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
  • Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
  • Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages

Inclusions 

  • Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
  • Free access to onboard doctor for consultations relating to sea-sickness. A standard fee of US $60.00 (reclaimable through your travel insurance provider) applies for medical consultations not related to sea-sickness
  • A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
  • Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information
  • A printed photo book produced with photos from your voyage
  • Port surcharges, permits and landing fees

Exclusions

  • International or domestic flights to or within South America, unless specified
  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, gratuities, Wi-Fi,email or phone charges.

Please Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or increase/decrease the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’.

Dates & Prices

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Dates & Prices

Starts Ends Save Total Cost* Status Book
24/11/21 15/12/21   US$26,300 On Request  
Valid From: This tour does not include flights from Australia to South America. Please contact our office for the latest special fares to match your independent tour.
Other departure cities:
Tips: Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $15-$20pp US per day
Taxes:
Single supplement: On application

Single Travellers, please note:

  • No single supplement is required if you are happy to share. You would be matched up with a fellow expeditioner of the same gender.
  • If you prefer exclusive use of the cabin a single supplement would apply. Please contact Bunnik Tours for more details.
  • Triple share cabins are also available on a limited basis.

Cabin upgrades and itinerary length variations may be available, please contact Bunnik Tours for more details.

Fitness to Travel

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Let's Talk Fitness

Levels-of-Fitness-sml

At Bunnik Tours we don’t put specific age limits on our tours, but we also recognise some travellers may find our itineraries challenging.
We have a duty of care to all tour participants and the tour guides, so we do impose a firm policy on the level of fitness required by all our clients to attempt to ensure your safety and the safety of other travellers on our tours.
At Bunnik Tours our goal is for all our travellers to enjoy their tour, not struggle through it! Which is why we want to work with you to ensure you are on the best possible trip for your fitness level. We do reserve the right to refuse bookings if we feel that the requirements of the tour are too demanding.
Bunnik Tours are for independently minded travellers with good levels of mobility.

Our tours include:
1. Generous amounts of free time
2. Lots of walking
3. Local and authentic experiences including various modes of transport and accommodation

In some regions travellers can also expect:
1. Long days of travelling, at times on dirt and gravel roads in Africa
2. Extended periods at high altitude (3,000-4,000 metres) in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Ethiopia
3. Extended periods of walking/hiking through humid forest areas in Rwanda, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica
4. Limited medical facilities in remote areas

Bunnik Tours travellers are required to at least:
1. Be able to walk 2-3 hours on uneven surfaces without the use of any walking aid, on any given day
2. Walk up multiple flights of stairs and short, steep hills
3. Stand for 20 minutes without needing to sit down, often in hot/humid climates
4. Carry their own luggage
5. Get on and off various modes of transport without assistance, including small boats

Accommodation

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

Accommodation

Accommodation is subject to change and every effort is made to avoid this. However if a change does become necessary, accommodation of a similar standard will be used.

Aurora Expeditions Greg Mortimer

After a long day exploring the wonders of your destination, you need somewhere where you can simply relax and take a break from real life.

The Greg Mortimer is the perfect place to take five and recuperate after exploring – with creature comforts and wellbeing considered as part of the overall design. All staterooms have private bathrooms, personal storage options, twin and double-bed configuration options, ample storage, international power outlets and daily cabin service, as well as all the basic amenities that you'll need onboard.

Of course, the prospect of unexpected wildlife encounters is always on the table so your accommodation needs to have a view as well! Across four of the five stateroom categories, you'll find large floor to ceiling windows that offer prime observation opportunities around the clock. Additionally, there are private balconies in roughly 80% of the staterooms, allowing you to watch the world float past and take in the salty air of the open ocean. We have introduced three cabin categories to our Balcony Stateroom category. These have been classified into category A, B or C depending on the cabin size and deck location.

Aurora Expeditions: Cabin types available

Optional Tours

Please note this tour is priced in US Dollars (USD).

ON BOARD CRUISE SHIP

Sea Kayaking - From $1,470pp US
Kayaking in the far-flung corners of the world is an experience guaranteed to refresh your soul. Paddling in small groups, you'll glide between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs dotted with wildlife.

Photography - FREE
All of our expeditions and itineraries offer fantastic photography experiences. However, on selected expeditions, a photography expert will offer lectures and presentations.

Snorkelling - From $740pp US
No experience needed! This is your chance to don a dry-suit and take the ultimate plunge into the icy waters of Antarctica and the Arctic for an up-close underwater experience. Not for the faint-hearted!

Snowshoeing - From $370pp US
Snowshoeing is our new and unique way to explore Antarctica. Snowshoeing makes walking up gentle slopes a breeze, allowing you to explore places others struggle to reach in boots alone.

Shackleton Crossing (on foot) - From $2,220pp US
Attempt to repeat the epic crossing of Sir Ernest Shackleton on this trek for up to three days from King Haakon Bay to Stromness. This is an extreme mountain environment and there participants must have a suitable level of alpine climbing and trekking experience. Most of the journey is on glaciers and requires some ropework, knowledge of glacier travel techniques is required.

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  • Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a total solar eclipse in Antarctica
  • In South Georgia, retrace Shackleton’s legendary mountain crossing (on foot) – additional cost
  • Glide past glittering grounded bergs on your kayaking adventures in Antarctica
  • Encounter fur seal beach masters protecting their harem in ferocious battles in South Georgia
  • Witness Adélie penguins nest-building, occasionally stealing rocks from their unsuspecting neighbours

Trip Info

Group Size

Min: 1

Transportation

Polar Expedition ship, Greg Mortimer

Tips

Tipping payable locally, suggested amounts are approx. $15-$20pp US per day

Tour Highlights

Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The ship's Captain and Expedition Leader will adjust the itinerary to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife

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