A Remote Wilderness Experience

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A Birdwatcher’s Paradise

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Our New Voyages

We now offer travelers a rare chance to visit Cape Horn, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia during the austral springtime. These remote destinations in the South Atlantic Ocean are awe-inspiring and for true adventure-seekers.  The Falkland Islands are rich in wildlife and culture. South Georgia is one of the wildest places on Earth, its extreme landscapes frame vibrant beaches that host marine life in a way that is incomparable to anything else. Our new ship, Magellan Explorer, will operate these new sailing routes.

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    Climate

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    Discovery

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    Geography

Wildlife

Penguins

Whales

Seals

Seabirds

Adelie Penguin

The Adelie is the archetypical penguin, named after French explorer Dumont D’Urville’s wife. They are purely black and white, with a characteristic angular head, a distinctive white eye-ring and a tiny bill. Females are smaller in size, but like all penguins, the sexes are alike. The downy chick is uniformly grey.

Chinstrap Pengin

Chinstraps are similar to Adelies in that they are black and white, but they are slightly smaller and have a distinctive black line connecting the black cap to the part below the chin. The chicks are uniform brownish-grey and paler below. On average, the female’s flipper and bill length is smaller than the male’s. They are highly gregarious and monogamous. It is believed they form long-lasting bonds with their mates. They nest in the Antarctic Peninsula area and on Subantarctic Islands. Their population is estimated in 7.5 million pairs, being the second largest of Antarctic inhabitants after the gentoo penguins.

King Penguin

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Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin
Gentoo is the largest of all Pygoscelis penguins. It can be easily recognized by the wide white stripe extending like a bonnet across the top of its head and the red bill. Chicks have grey backs with white fronts. They are the fastest underwater swimming penguins, reaching speeds of 36 km/h. They feed mainly on krill, but also on fish and squid. They are the most numerous penguins nesting in the Antarctic region.

Macaroni Penguin

This beautiful penguin has a characteristic orange tassels meeting between the eyes that distinguishes this species from its slightly smaller relative, the rockhopper penguin. Macaronis nest mainly on Subantarctic islands close to the Antarctic Convergence, and may reach as far south as the Antarctic Peninsula. They lay two eggs at the end of the Austral autumn, the first being larger than the second. Chicks are uniform brownish-grey above and whitish below.

Orca Whale

The orca is the largest member of the dolphin family, and it is probably the most easily recognized of all cetaceans. The most obvious feature is the enormous dorsal fin, which is the tallest and most pointed of any cetaceans. In adult males, it may stand two metres in height, while in females and immature males it is more curved and smaller. They have a striking black and white pattern from throat to abdomen, some of their flanks, and an oval blaze behind the eye white, with the rest mainly black. The huge conical head is pointed with a very slightly rounded beak. Males can reach 7 to 9 metres in length and weigh 3.8 to 5.5 tonnes. Females are noticeably smaller in overall body size, reaching 5 to 7.7 metres length.

Humpback Whale

Humpbacks may be recognized by their enormous flippers, which can reach a third of their total body length. They are normally black, but the undersides of flippers and flukes have varying amounts of white and can be used as aids for individual recognition. They measure 11 to 19 metres and weigh 25.4-35.5 tonnes. Males are usually slightly shorter than females.

Minke Whale

The southern minke whale is a species of minke whale within the suborder of baleen whales. It is the third smallest baleen whale. While it was first scientifically described in the mid-19th century, it wasn’t recognized as a distinct species until the 1990s. Given that it was ignored by the whaling industry due to its small size and low oil yield, the southern minke was able to avoid the fate of other baleen whales and maintained a large population into the 21st century, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. It has survived to become the most abundant baleen whale in the world.

Elephant Seal

The southern elephant seal is the world’s largest seal. It is a heavy-built, long-body seal with proportionately small flippers and some skin folds just behind the head. The dark eyes are large and round. The adults have short stiff hair, usually dark grey dorsally and paler ventrally. Males have squarer and larger heads, with a conspicuous proboscis, while females have more rounded heads with no proboscis. Breeding males may weigh up to a sixth that of a breeding female. Males can grow to 4.5-6.5 metres and 3,700 kg; females can grow to 2.5-4 metres and between 360-800 kg.

Leopard Seal

These seals have long slim bodies, with an almost serpentine appearance and comparatively large reptilian heads with a long snout, powerful jaws, broad gape and relatively small dark eyes. Fore flippers are rather large, situated near the centre of the body. They are colored with dark on the back, almost black or blue–grey on the flanks, and paler ventral colouration; a light area variably spotted with darker grey. They have very long canine teeth, with long pointed cusps on the molar teeth. Females are larger than males (3.8 metres and 500 kg compared to 2.8-3.8 metres and 300 kg).

Crabeater Seal

They are relatively slim and flexible, typically with an elongated, square-shaped head, protruding dog-like snout, a long mouth opening and large flippers. Their eyes are dark and small. Their colouration is predominantly dark brown dorsally becoming blond ventrally, with a marked seasonal and individual variation in coat colour. With age, fur gradually becomes uniformly blond after moult. Many are deeply scarred on the back and body-sides due to attacks by leopard seals and killer whales. Crabeaters actually eat krill, not crabs, as their name suggests. Males reach about 3 metres in length and females are slightly smaller. They can weigh between 180 to 410 kg.

Weddell Seal

This seal species was not discovered until 1823 when Captain James Weddell captured six specimens during his voyage to the South Pole. They are amongst the largest and fattest seals, with proportionately small flippers and heads, and large dark eyes. Both sexes are similar in size and appearance, but females are generally slightly larger, and males have thicker necks and broader heads. They reach 2.5-3 metres and weigh between 400-600 kg. They have a short, dense coat of a dark bluish-grey colour, which is irregularly streaked. They can become browner prior to moult.

Blue-Eyed Shag

There is no clear agreement on how many species of cormorants inhabit the southern islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. There could be as many as seven or as few as two surrounding Antarctica, depending on what taxonomic diversity they have. All are reasonably similar, but the Antarctic shag is unmistakable in range, because no other blue-eyed shag overlaps with it. They are rather large and have a black and white shag, with a bright blue-eyed ring, with a long wispy black erectile crest.
Size 77 cm
Wing 32-33 cm
Weight 2.5-3 kg

Snowy Sheathbill

The snowy sheathbill is a medium-sized, plump hen-like, all-white bird. They are not seabirds because, for example, their feet are not webbed, but are in their own family akin to waders. They cannot be mistaken for anything else as they strut and squabble around penguin colonies. They have elaborate courtship displays and are monogamous and permanently pair-bonded species. They feed on intertidal life and on invertebrates.
Size 34-40 cm
Wingspan 70 cm
Weight 400-700 gr.
Size 77 cm
Wing 32-33 cm
Weight 2.5-3 kg

Southern Giant Petrel

Giant petrels are the largest of the petrel family, which make up the order of tubenose or procellariiform seabirds, along with albatrosses, shearwaters, storm petrels and diving petrels. The crucial feature used to distinguish the northern giant petrel from the closely related southern giant petrel is the colour of the bill tip: reddish-brown in the northern, and greenish in the southern. This characteristic is not always easy to spot at sea. Some southerns are all white, except for the odd dark feathers. This colour phase does not occur in northerns, helping with specific identification. White phase southerns are more common at southerly breeding sites, and are absent at the northerly ones.
Size 85-100 cm
Wing 46-58 cm
Wingspan 150-210 cm
Weight 3.8-5 kg
Size 77 cm
Wing 32-33 cm
Weight 2.5-3 kg

Polar Skua

The polar skua is able to fly furthest south of all other Antarctic birds. It is light brown in colour with a yellow neck. While flying, you can see a lighter band that crosses the lower surface of the wings. It has a dark beak, which is curved at the end. Feet are dark grey and almost black.
Size 85-100 cm
Wing 46-58 cm
Wingspan 150-210 cm
Weight 3.8-5 kg
Size 77 cm
Wing 32-33 cm
Weight 2.5-3 kg

Wandering Albatross

The wandering albatross is the largest bird of the Southern Ocean. In all stages, adult birds appear very white on the body and upper wings, becoming even pure white with age. They have dark vermiculations on the body and upper wings. Juveniles have long wings and a long body; overall blackish chocolate-brown, but contrasting white face from forehead to upper foreneck, and white underwing.
Size 110-135 cm
Wing 62-79 cm
Wingspan 250-350 cm
Weight 6.3-11.3 kg

Black-Browed Albatross

The black-browed albatross is one of the smaller black and white ‘mollymawks’ with a pale head. This albatross can be identified at a distance by its underwing pattern featuring a wide dark leading edge. At close range, the adult birds have a yellow eye that makes identification easy.
Size 80-96 cm
Wing 50-56 cm
Wingspan 210-250 cm
Weight 2.9 to 4.6 kg

Cape or Pintado Petrel

The cape petrel is an unmistakable medium-sized petrel, with round head and highly distinctive black and white upper parts and upper wings, smaller than the Antarctic petrel. Its speckled appearance has earned its other common name, pintado, which means ‘painted’ in Spanish. The cape petrel has a circumpolar distribution at sea. It has a wide breeding range from the Antarctic continent to the more southerly Subantarctic islands, where it breeds in November and December in loose colonies on level rocky grounds or gravel, and moderately high cliffs.
Size 35-42 cm
Wing 24-28 cm
Wingspan 80-91 cm
Weight 440-500 gr.
Size 85-100 cm
Wing 46-58 cm
Wingspan 150-210 cm
Weight 3.8-5 kg

Sites of interest

South Georgia

The Falklands

Cape Horn

A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21
A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21
A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21
A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21
A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21
A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21
A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21
A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21

Ocean Harbour

A deep bay named after the whaling station that once operated here. There is a small cemetery. Also visible are the remains of the Bayard, a three-masted iron hulled ship that wrecked here in 1911. Elephant seals, fur seals, king penguins. Reindeer were introduced in Ocean Harbour by the Norwegians in 1911. They have since been exterminated in an effort to salvage the original wildlife of South Georgia.

A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21

Grytviken

A former whaling settlement founded in 1904, today South Georgia’s administrative capital. Shackleton’s grave, the South Georgia Museum, and Grytviken Church. No longer has permanent residents, only temporary staff during the summer.

A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21

Fortuna Bay

Beautiful location, glowering mountains, icebergs, moss covered slopes and waterfalls. Lots of wildlife, including a large number of big bull Elephant Seals and fur seals. A chance to take part in “Shackleton’s Walk” to Stromness (weather permitting).

A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21

St Andrews Bay

A massive King Penguin colony, with an estimated population of more than 1.4 million. The colony sits at the base of a large and scenic glacier.

A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21

Port Stanley

A Brand New Journey: ANTARCTICA XXI becomes Antarctica21

Cape Horn Monument

This sculpture pays homage to sailors that perished attempting to round Cape Horn.

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