Small Group Safari

Antarctica Solar Eclipse Voyage on the M/V Plancius

By booking passage on board the ice-strengthened expedition ship M/V Plancius in December 2021, you can not only witness incredible scenes of polar wildlife, but also a total solar eclipse. Explore the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula on this remarkable voyage.

Duration 20 Days
Price From $14,010
When Nov - Dec 2021
Destination Antarctica

Safari Overview

What’s better than seeing the total solar eclipse, a cosmic phenomenon that occurs only about once every 18 months? Seeing it in Antarctica, of course – a place most people are lucky to see once in a lifetime. This incredible solar eclipse voyage gives you the chance to catch this moving celestial event in one of the most amazing locations on Earth. You'll be joined on the M/V Plancius by an expert astronomer, who will share their knowledge with you to ensure you make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Enjoy the dramatic scenery and wildlife of Antarctica.
  • Experience the wildlife paradise of the Falkland Islands.
  • Explore the ‘Serengeti of the South’, the incredible island of South Georgia.
  • Navigate around tabular icebergs in zodiacs.
  • Discover vast penguin rookeries.
  • Watch for whales from the ship’s observation decks.
  • Identify seabirds from the bow of your ship.
  • Cruise by glaciers and into deep fjords.
  • Set foot on the Antarctic continent.
  • Admire the solar eclipse from your vantage point in the Southern Ocean.
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Day by day

Day 1

Nov 23: Arrive Ushuaia - Embark M/V Plancius

Your voyage begins where the world drops off. Ushuaia, Argentina, reputed to be the southernmost city on the planet, is located on the far southern tip of South America. Starting in the afternoon, you'll embark from this small resort town on Tierra del Fuego, nicknamed “The End of the World", and sail the mountain-fringed Beagle Channel for the remainder of the evening.

Overnight: M/V Plancius D

Day 2

Nov 24: At Sea

Several species of albatross follow the vessel into the westerlies, along with storm petrels, shearwaters and diving petrels. Take advantage of this time to enjoy the crossing on deck, photograph this abundant birdlife or just take advantage of this time to learn from the naturalist guides on board and enjoy the facilities.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Day 3

Nov 25: Falkland Islands

The Falkland (Malvinas) Islands offer an abundance of wildlife that is easily approachable, though caution is always advised. These islands are largely unknown gems, the site of a 1982 war between the UK and Argentina. Not only do various species of bird live here, but chances are great you’ll see both Peale’s dolphins and Commerson’s dolphins in the surrounding waters.

Despite its name, Carcass Island is pleasantly rodent-free and hence bounteous with birdlife. Breeding Magellanic penguins and gentoos live here, as well as numerous waders and passerine birds (including Cobb’s wrens and tussock-birds). On Saunders Island you can see the black-browed albatross and its sometimes clumsy landings, along with breeding imperial shags and rockhopper penguins. King penguins, Magellanic penguins and gentoos are also found here.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Day 4

Nov 26: Falkland Islands

The capital of the Falklands and its cultural centre, Port Stanley offers a little Victorian-era charm: colourful houses, well-tended gardens, and English-style pubs are all to be found here. You can also see several century-old clipper ships nearby, silent witnesses to the hardships of 19th-century sailors. The small but interesting museum is also worth a visit, covering the early days of settlement up to the Falklands War. Approximately 2,100 people live in Port Stanley. Feel free to wander at will, though be aware that admission fees to local attractions are not included in the voyage.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Days 5-6

Nov 27-28: At Sea

On your way to South Georgia you will cross the Antarctic Convergence. Entering Antarctic currents, the temperature will drop considerably in the timespan of only a few hours. Nutritious water is brought to the surface by the colliding water columns, which brings a multitude of southern seabirds near the ship, including shearwaters, petrels, prions, skuas, and several species of albatross.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Days 7-10

Nov 29 - Dec 2: South Georgia

Today you arrive at the first South Georgia activity site. Please keep in mind that weather conditions in this area can be challenging, largely dictating the program. You may visit the following sites over the next few days:

Fortuna Bay: Near beaches inhabited by various penguins and seals, you have the chance to follow the final leg of Shackleton’s route to the abandoned whaling village of Stromness. This path cuts across the mountain pass beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall, and as the terrain is partly swampy, be prepared to cross a few small streams.

Salisbury Plain, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour: These sites not only house the three largest king penguin colonies in South Georgia, they’re also three of the world’s largest breeding beaches for southern elephant seals. Only during this time of year do they peak in their breeding cycle. Watch the four-tonne bulls keep a constant vigil (and occasionally fight) over territories where dozens of females have just given birth or are about to deliver. You can also see a substantial number of Antarctic fur seals here during the breeding season (December – January).

Grytviken: In this abandoned whaling station, king penguins walk the streets and elephant seals lie around like they own the place – because they basically do. Here you might be able to visit the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.

Cooper Bay: A zodiac cruise in Cooper Bay offers a great opportunity to see macaroni penguins below a large rookery. Numerous fur and elephant seals are found on the beach, while majestic light-mantled albatrosses can be seen gliding gracefully above.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Day 11

Dec 3: At Sea

There may be sea ice on this route, and at the edge of the ice some south polar skuas and snow petrels could join the other seabirds trailing the vessel south as we continue our journey.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Day 12

Dec 4: Weddell Sea Pack Ice & Total Solar Eclipse

The ship positions itself in the centre of the moon's shadow, and if possible, some distance into the Scotia Sea drift ice. This will add a polar ambience to an already amazing celestial event. You will gather on deck on the morning of December 4th to observe the total eclipse in the most pristine wilderness on Earth.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Days 13-14

Dec 5-6: At Sea

Enormous icebergs and a fair chance of fin whale sightings ensure there’s never a dull moment on this last sea voyage south. You'll also be in with your best chance of spotting Antarctic petrels.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Days 15-17

Dec 7-9: Antarctic Peninsula

If the ice conditions permit, you now sail into the Weddell Sea. Here colossal tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Paulet Island, with its large population of Adélie penguins, is a possible stop. You might also visit Brown Bluff, located in the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound, where you could get the chance to set foot on the Antarctic Continent itself. If conditions aren’t favourable to enter the Weddell Sea from the east, the ship will set course for Elephant Island and head into the Bransfield Strait, between South Shetland Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. Here you can attempt to access the Antarctic Sound from the northwest.

The volcanic islands of the South Shetlands are windswept and often cloaked in mist, but they nonetheless offer many subtle pleasures. A wide variety of flora (mosses, lichens, flowering grasses) and fauna (gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, southern giant petrels) live here. On Deception Island, the ship plunges through Neptune’s Bellows and into the flooded caldera. If a landing here is possible, you will find hot springs, an abandoned whaling station, and thousands of cape petrels. A number of kelp gulls, brown skuas, south polar skuas and Antarctic terns can be spotted here too.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Days 18-19

Dec 10-11: At Sea

Your return voyage is far from lonely. While crossing the Drake Passage, you’re greeted by a vast array of seabirds, which will seem a little more familiar to you now, and you to them.

Overnight: M/V Plancius B, L, D

Day 20

Dec 12: Disembark Ushuaia

Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.

Trip Details

SMALL GROUP SAFARI

This is a small group departure to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula, departing on a single set date in 2021.

Dates and Prices

2021 Departure

Dates   Cabin Type Price 
Nov 23 - Dec 12 Quadruple Porthole From £11,550
  Triple Porthole SOLD OUT
  Twin Porthole From £13,850
  Twin Window From £14,450
  Twin Deluxe From £15,500
  Superior From £16,650
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