• Swimming with blue whales in Sri Lanka

A marine adventure like no other

A marine adventure like no other

The ultimate marine safari takes you to the best destinations to experience marine life, from close encounters on the Galapagos Islands, to swimming with blue whales!

  • Destinations visited: Antarctica, Galapagos Islands, Iceland, Sri Lanka, Arctic Canada, South Africa, Svalbard 
  • Duration: 57 days 
  • Cost: from £51,500 including international and internal flights, transfers and all meals. 
  • Marine focus: humpback whales, sea lions, marine iguanas, Galapagos penguins, killer whales, blue whales, narwhal, beluga whales, polar bears, dolphins, sharks, sardine shoals, sea turtles and more. 

Leg 1: Penguins and whales in Antarctica

Leg 1: Penguins and whales in Antarctica

Your ultimate marine safari starts in Punta Arenas, Chile, where you will board a plane for a stunning 2 hour flight down to King George Island. 

King penguin, Antarctica
Humpback whale, Antarctica

Just north of the Antarctic Peninsula, this island is located within the wildlife rich Shetland Islands and here you will have time to explore Russia’s Bellingshausen Station, and Chile’s Frei Station, before enjoying a zodiac ride to your home for the next few days, the Ocean Nova. This flight means you avoid the infamous Drake Passage and the rough seas it is renowned for. 

The next four days are spent exploring the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, cruising spectacular fjords and past magnificent icebergs. The aim is to make landings each day on your zodiacs, searching for sea birds, seals, whales and penguins. Your journey will be unique and flexible, taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the nature and wildlife and getting you as close as possible to the marine-life of the seventh continent. Possible landing sites include Paradise Bay, the Lemaire Channel, Hope Bay, Port Lockroy and much, much more. 

An intimate expedition ship with space for up to 73 guests, the Ocean Nova is the perfect size to take on Antarctica. You wont be travelling the Drake Passage, so your trip will be in complete comfort around the south.

Leg 2: Sea lions and turtles in the Galapagos Islands 

Leg 2: Sea lions and turtles in the Galapagos Islands 

From Antarctica you fly back to Punta Arenas, then on to Quito in Ecuador. From here you fly to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands to board your next ship, the sumptuous M/Y Grace. 

Galapagos Islands Holidays
Swimming with turtles, Galapagos Islands

You have 8 days in the Galapagos exploring some of our favourite islands, including Chinese Hat, Santa Fe, South Plaza, Genovese, Fernandia, Isabel, Santa Cruz and Espanola. These islands provide the best experiences in the archipelago; from snorkelling with sea lions, white-tipped sharks, marine iguanas and turtles, to panga rides along the cliffs, and visiting the famous Galapagos tortoises. 

Explore volcanoes and sandy beaches, and some of the closest wildlife encounters possible with animals that have no fear of humans. Your last stop is the small Mosquera Island where if you keep your eyes peeled, you might spot dolphins and orcas. 

This intimate ship has room for 18 guests ,explore the Galapagos Islands in luxury on this boutique-style yacht. 

Leg 3: Killer whales in Iceland

Leg 3: Killer whales in Iceland

This extraordinary section of your marine safari heads to the far west of Iceland. Starting at the Silfra Rift, you have the unique chance to experience diving or snorkelling between two continents, in a crack between the North American and Eurasian Continental plates. 

Silfra Rift, Iceland
Killer whale research

A stunning underwater spectacle as you delve between two vertical rocky walls, which at the moment you can touch at the same time, in water that is so clean you could drink it then and there. After this, you travel to the Western Fjord to spot orca and, hopefully, the northern lights. Spend a couple of days out in the Orca Research boat, tracking this magnificent marine animals. 

During your time in Iceland you will also see incredible waterfalls, bursting geysers and bubbling mud pools, hike to one of the biggest waterfalls in Europe and enjoy some amazing panoramas, including that of Blue Lagoon.  

Where you'll Stay

Your accommodation throughout Iceland will vary, between homestays, research vessels, and even a small house.

Leg 4: Blue whales in Sri Lanka

Leg 4: Blue whales in Sri Lanka

You now fly to Sri Lanka and travel to Weligama Bay, one of the best places in the world to see blue whales.

Blue whale safari, Sri Lanka
Swimming with blue whales in Sri Lanka

You have 7 days here where, pending the weather conditions, you head out each day with a researcher and expert photographer and watch out for the whales. The aim is to swim with them and be photographed with them, and with the perfect weather conditions this time of year, you are likely to have several unbeatable encounters. 

Although the aim is to swim with blue whales, you can also encounter and swim with dolphins, turtles and pilot whales, and even sperm whales which grow to over 16 metres. In your spare time, explore the local town of Galle, relax on the beach and explore the lighthouse at Dondra. 

On a secluded beach in a quiet cove, this hotel is right on the Southern tip of Sri Lanka in the perfect place for seeing the marine-life, especially whales and dolphins.

Leg 5: Narwhal in Arctic Canada

Leg 5: Narwhal in Arctic Canada

Your next stop is Arctic Bay, right in the Canadian Arctic. At this time of year, this is the best way of seeing narwhal as they search the bay for food during their migration, alongside belugas and other Arctic marine life.

Narwhal tusks, Arctic Canada safari
Kayak with narwhal

Staying at the intrepid Arctic Safari Camp, your itinerary is dictated by your preferences, the wildlife and the weather. Snorkel with the magnificent narwhal, track polar bears on foot or paddle out to sea in search of walrus. 

A comfortable mobile camp set up in the prime location for spotting the excellent marine-life in Arctic Bay, one of the world’s most astoundingly beautiful locations.

Leg 6: Dolphins, whales and sharks in South Africa

Leg 6: Dolphins, whales and sharks in South Africa

On to South Africa and you head to Port St. John's where you will have a week at the epicentre of one of the most incredible, yet unknown great event in nature, the sardine run. 

Sardine Run, South Africa
Sardine Run, South Africa

Dolphins create huge bait balls from the fish near the surface, then swoop in for mouthfuls and other predators such as whales and sharks get in on the action. Each day the microlight goes out looking for the huge shoals, which stick relatively close to the surface.

Once located, you head out to experience it, you can dive beneath the surface and snorkel or dive, or watch the bubbling waters from South Africa’s wild coast and by boat, and see everything from sharks and dolphins to humpback whales and gannets, as well as Cape fur seals, sail fish and even African Jack-ass penguins.

In a majestic location on the banks of the Umzimvubu River, this intimate lodge is in the prime position for observing the sardine run and has its very own 18 seater catamaran. There are just 18 thatched cottages, as well as a pool and access to excellent facilities.

Leg 7: Whales, bears and walruses in Svalbard

Leg 7: Whales, bears and walruses in Svalbard

You head further north, all the way to the Arctic Circle to the archipelago of Svalbard. Here you board the lovely M/S Malmo, a small Arctic expedition ship that can easily navigate the more intricate icy passages in search of wildlife.

Polar bear close up, Svalbard
Bearded seal, Svalbard

Exploring the narrow waterways, we make landings every day in different spots, with the aim of seeing as much wildlife as possible. Here in the Arctic wilderness, there is no set itinerary as you traverse to the best places to see as much as possible on your northern journey. Explore with zodiacs and walk on land, watch for whales and polar bears, as well as walrus and seals, and land based mammals such as Arctic fox and hare. 

Sister ship to the well-known M/S Stockholm, the Malmo has room for just 12 guests and is the perfect size to navigate the far reaches of Arctic Svalbard.

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