PLA27-23, trip log, Falklands – South Georgia – Antarctica

by Oceanwide Expeditions


Day 1: Ushuaia, Embarkation Day

Ushuaia, Embarkation Day
Date: 14.01.2023
Position: 54°78.6 S / 068°17.4’W
Wind: NW3
Weather: cloudy
Air Temperature: +10

Finally, the day arrived for our adventure! Many of us have waited a long time for this day. We embarked on board our home for the next 19 days at about 6pm.

We entered the port and were welcomed by the Expedition Team and the Hotel Team at the Plancius’ gangway. After we had been shown to our rooms, we started to explore the ship and our new environment, soon followed the briefing for the mandatory safety drill and drill itself.

It was interesting to see the fellow passengers in the bulky orange lifevests. Before dinner Ali, our Expedition Leader (EL), invited us to the lounge where we went through some basic information about life on the Plancius, the general plan for the trip and the weather forecast for the upcoming days. She also introduced the expedition guides briefly. Volodymyr, our Hotel Manager, gave us useful advice about practicalities of life on board.

After the drill was complete and the shore staff were ready to free our lines, it was time to leave Ushuaia behind. We set off down the Beagle Channel to enjoy some wonderful views of the landscapes around us. The beautiful mountains together with the light in the evening gave us some stunning views. We even got lucky enough to see some Dusky Dolphins purposing! All this new information was processed with the help of a glass of champagne or a nice orange juice, and we toasted after the Captain introduced himself as well.

For many the travel days to reach the remote town of Ushuaia were long, so most of us went to bed shortly after the fantastic buffet. We enjoyed settling into our new temporary home and cannot wait for the adventures that will begin soon.

Day 2: crossing the Argentinian Sea

crossing the Argentinian Sea
Date: 15.01.2023
Position: 53°29.1’S / 063°27.1’W
Wind: NW5
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +14

We spend our first day on board crossing an interesting area of South America, the area known as the “Argentinian Sea” which is the body of water that separates the Argentinian Waters from the Falkland Islands. We left the port the evening before, and we sailed along the Beagle Channel, an spectacular narrow passage that from Ushuaia, leads to the open sea in the east. Overnight, as we came closer to “Cabo San Diego”, the cape that landmarks the south east “tip” of the island of “Tierra del Fuego” and then, during the early hours of the 15th,  we turned north east in order to sail the Strait of LeMarie yet another narrow passage which separates Staten Island from Tierra del Fuego. We sailed out of this passage during early today. By sunrise it was still possible to see the peaks of Staten Island. Soon after clearing this passage we turned our bow to the East aiming to the north west tip of the Falklands.

As the day started breakfast was served on board, and most of us started to develop what we call the “sea legs”. The weather was relatively smooth for this part of the ocean. We had winds blowing from the North East blowing at less than 20 knots, consequently our ship had a smooth crossing. Nevertheless, some of the waves caused some movement and consequently, a few of us felt a bit sick. Our doctor Marieke provided us with the adequate medicine and hence we had no reason to not to attend our first activities on board.

For this day, our expedition staff prepared a two part lecture under the title  “The Falkland Islands” given by our expedition leader Ali Liddle, who had the chance to spend a few years living and working as a school teacher in the Falklands. The first part of the lecture was a brief description about the history of the islands and how she managed to come to work to these distant islands. This first part was presented by Ali during the first part of the morning.  Shortly after we had our second lecture of the morning, presented by our expedition guide Steffi. Her presentation, made under the title “Sea birds”, was an excellent introduction for all those who wanted to learn more about the beautiful sea birds we can see at sea here in the Southern Ocean. She paid special attention to explain the flying techniques some of these birds use to maximize their energy use while flying.

Lunch was served on board at 12:30 and by this time we were very happy to see more of us joining the restaurant feeling a bit better after the rocky morning we had.

During the first part of the afternoon, our expedition guide Josh offered a second presentation about the Falklands, this time, an interesting exposition about how is to be a “Falklander” and the life on this archipelago. He spoke eloquently about his heritage and the people who preceded him inhabiting the island.

After this nice presentation, we were invited to come to the boot room in order to get our rubber boots, the kind of shoes we will be using to go ashore.

During the early evening we had our first daily recap, the moment when Ali presented the plans for the next day and where she briefed us about how we operate with our zodiacs when we go ashore.  Shortly after this activity, dinner was served in the restaurant.  During the night, we approached the Falklands, sailing quietly under a very dark and starless night.

Day 3: Carcass and West Point Island, Falkland Islands

Carcass and West Point Island, Falkland Islands
Date: 16.01.2023
Position: 51°17.9’S / 060°33.0’W
Wind: SW3
Weather: partly clouds
Air Temperature: +16

Despite the fog which had rolled in the previous night, we were greeted by clear skies in the morning as we anchored off Carcass Island - our first landing spot in the Falkland Islands. After a tasty breakfast, we excitedly began making our way to shore in the zodiacs.

Carcass Island is a rodent-free island, unlike many other offshore islands in the Falklands, so it is a birding hotspot and a great chance for us to see the endemic Cobb’s Wren and the Tussacbirds. We were lucky enough to be greeted by both as we landed at Dyke Bay, with some of us getting some great photos of these inquisitive birds flitting about the shore amongst the rocks and kelp. We were also treated to our first sightings of Penguins as soon as we landed, with groups of Magellanic Penguins on the beach and many more outside their burrows further inland. Our second species of Penguin was spotted soon after, with nesting Gentoos and their many chicks located just up from the beach towards Leopard Beach on the other side of the island.

Once we had enjoyed the sights and sounds of the Penguins, many of us began a hike towards the settlement on the other side of the bay. With the promise of a Falkland’s ‘smoko’ at the lodge in the settlement (i.e. tea and cakes), many of us used the hike to work up an appetite. With little wind and sunshine overhead, the walk was very enjoyable, and it even gave us the chance to see more birds, such as the Grass Wren, Long-tailed Meadowlarks and the world’s most Southerly raptor, the Striated Caracara.

With us all now at the beautiful and sheltered Carcass Island Lodge, we sat down to enjoy the numerous cakes and biscuits on offer. The owner of Carcass, Rob, was there to greet us all and we all enjoyed the unique hospitality on offer, especially the wonderful gardens outside where we could enjoy the small birds around and some more Caracara’s perched in the trees.

Back onboard Plancius we somehow squeezed more food in for lunch, before we made our afternoon landing at the neighbouring West Point Island. After a short steam across from Carcass, we arrived in the beautiful, sheltered bay of West Point settlement. We were in for another unique Falkland treat once we reached the jetty on our zodiacs, discovering some local shearers were also on the island and had welcomed us to have a look inside the shearing shed while they were shearing the sheep.

With some of us still a little tired from the hike in the morning, we were offered the chance to drive over to the Black-Browed Albatross and Rockhopper Penguins in a typical Falkland farm vehicle, a Land Rover. While some bounced over in the Rover,

the rest of us again hiked to the colony at the Devil’s Nose. Located on the high cliffs on the West side of the island, the colony is awe-inspiring, with lots of large Rockhopper chicks nestled in amongst the much larger Albatross and their cute chicks sitting on nests. Although only a small circuit above the colony, the views of the birds was incredible, and we all got to share some truly memorable moments with these great seabirds.

Despite wanting to stay forever, we eventually made our way back across the island to make our way back to Plancius. With a beautiful plated dinner prepared we settled in for another good and wholesome fed. While many of us thought the excitement for the day had passed, the Falkland’s had one more surprise in store - a magnificent sunset accompanied by a large congregation of feeding Sei Whales. With most of us out on deck, we enjoyed the huge groups of Prions flying around feeding alongside the Whales in the lovely evening light.

Day 4: Stanley, Falkland Islands

Stanley, Falkland Islands
Date: 17.01.2023
Position: 51°41.3’S / 057°51.0’W
Wind: SW5
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +16

With a memorable day on the outer islands of the Falklands behind us, we focused our intention this morning on the capital of the Islands, Stanley. Even though the wind had picked up and resulted in a few of us getting a little wet while heading ashore, we

soon dried off as the sun continued to shine with hardly a cloud in the sky. We were all greeted by a few South American Sea Lions hauled out on the neighbouring pontoon as we came ashore, although these guys were more content to be snoozing than paying any attention to us.

Once ashore we all went our separate ways, but most of us made our way up the front road of Stanley, Ross Road, where the main shops and sites are located. Stanley is home to approximately 85-90% of the Falkland’s population, about 3600 people, and has been the capital of the Falklands since the 1840s when it was moved from the first settlement, Port Louis. Stanley is a typical small town and is home to all the things you would expect from other small towns across the globe, including a museum, grocery stores, gift shops, cafes, and bars.

Many of us enjoyed the local museum and the surrounding historic dockyard, which was recently renovated in the last decade, and which showcases the unique history of the Islands. From the original discovery and the focus on sealing and maritime navigation, to the birth of large sheep farms and the Island’s role in the whaling industry and Antarctic exploration during the 1900s. It also highlights the 74-day war fought in 1982 between Britain and Argentina over the sovereignty of the Falklands, and which cost the lives of nearly 1000 soldiers, including 3 local civilians.

With everybody up to date with the history of the Islands, many of us stopped by the local gift shops to purchase some local souvenirs and some even stopped by the local cafe to grab a bite to eat and enjoy a nice freshly brewed drink.

Once back onboard we enjoyed another great lunch, and after waiting a little longer for a delivery of local fresh produce than hoped, we began our journey towards South Georgia. Sailing out the Stanley Narrows, we enjoyed some great views of the local beaches nearby the town and got to view the Cape Pembroke lighthouse on the end of the Eastern peninsula of East Falkland.

Once out on the open sea we began seeing the larger Albatrosses, the Wanderers and the Southern Royal, and also smaller seabirds such as Sooty Shearwaters, Petrels and Prions. There were even a few sightings of Whales, although these were brief. For those who fancied more comfortable seats inside, there were two lectures to enjoy; one from Josh who spoke about the Falklands War and the other from Ali, who spoke about her time in the Falklands during the Covid Pandemic as a travelling teacher and a worker on Sea Lion Island.

Despite the swell beginning to roll a little more throughout the evening, we all enjoyed some wonderful time out on deck enjoying the evening sunshine and the many birds following the vessel. After another great buffet dinner, many of us settled down for a drink in the lounge before making our way back to our cabins in preparation for a full day at sea tomorrow and a busy lecture program with lots of informative presentations prepared by the expedition team.

Day 5: at sea towards South Georgia

at sea towards South Georgia
Date: 18.01.2023
Position: 52°19.4’S / 050°38.2’W
Wind: WNW5
Weather: overcast
Air Temperature: +14

We spend our fifth day on board crossing an area of the South Atlantic which lies along the north border of the Scotia Sea a region of the world known for its treacherous waters. This was our first full day at sea after visiting the Falkland Islands, and the second day in our crossing from the Falklands to South Georgia.

We left the continental waters shortly after leaving Port Stanley the day before and we entered true oceanic waters where the depths can reach up to 4 km. This allowed us to witness real pelagic life forms around the ship such as many Wandering Albatross, Black Browed Albatross, and several other types of birds, mostly Prions and other types of Albatrosses. This made our navigation very pleasant and given the calm conditions of the ocean, we enjoyed a joyous morning with a sunny deck and blue skies.

As the day started breakfast was served on board.  By this day, most of us had already developed our “sea legs” and most of us attended the call.

For this day, our expedition staff prepared a set of informative lectures about various topics describing the environment where we are. The first of the lectures for the morning was a presentation about penguins, offered by our biologist Steffi. This lecture was offered to all the German speaking guests we have on board.  In this presentation she described the various types of penguins as well as their habitats and strategies to survive the intense cold of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic waters.

Shortly after, during the second half of the morning, we had our second lecture, presented by veterinarian and biologist Pierre. His presentation, made under the title “Humpback Whales”. This was a superb introduction to all the non-experts about the life and habits of these beautiful cetaceans that populate the oceans of the world. In his presentation, Pierre paid special attention to describe all the aspects of the life cycle of whales, their migrations, their feeding habits and the dangers that can threat them. He showed us various videos and sounds bringing very of his vivid experiences with humpback whales.

Lunch was served on board at 12:30 and by this time of the day we were very happy to see more guests joining the restaurant even though we had no longer calm waters. Since the early morning we encountered heavy swell and consequently the ship rolled every now and then.

For today we planned to launch an Argo floating probe at 14:00. Hence, we were invited to witness how this device was deployed into the open ocean. The Argo is an international collaboration program that uses profiling floats to observe various parameters of the oceans such as temperature, salinity, currents, and bio-optical properties (for more information visit Once the floats are deployed on the surface of the water, the floats “sink” to a parking depth of 1000 m. After 10 days they go deeper to a new parking depth of 2000 m where they stay for another 10 days.  After this, the floats come to the surface, deliver their data to research centres, and begin a new cycle of 20 days.

The launching was a success, and we were all very curious to know and learn more about the program and the findings of this program.

Once the Argo float was launched, we continued with our program of presentations for the afternoon. At 15:00 our expedition guide Josh offered an interesting review about the first explorers who reached the South Pole, the Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen and later, the British team led by Robert Falcon Scott. During his exposition, Josh mentioned some of the facts of this so-called “race to the pole” and how it ended tragically for Scott’s party. This presentation brought some of the highlights of the “heroic” era of Antarctic exploration.

After this nice presentation, we then had the second presentation of the afternoon, this time given by Eduardo our assistant expedition leader. Under the title, “The exploration of the bottom of the oceans” Eduardo took us on a journey of discovery covering three main topics. In the first part, he described the sea features we encounter below the waves at the bottom of the oceans.  Then in the second part, he spoke about the history of the exploration of the bottom of the oceans touching major expeditions such as the one of the HMS Challenger and the most modern ones made using deep-sea vehicles. Finally, he presented some of the major discoveries that all these activities have brought to the scientific community and how these discoveries have helped to understand the past and future geology of planet Earth. Additionally, he spoke about the significance of the life forms discovered deep below the waves, making emphasis on the hydrothermal vents. 

During the early evening we had our daily recap, with Ali presenting the weather and the plans for the next day. Additionally, Eduardo gave a recap about the Argo floats, Annelou gave a recap about the history of the Aurora Islands, a group of islands sought by early navigators in the South Atlantic but that were never to be seen again. The last recap was presented by Elodie who spoke about the cloud formations we witness over the mountains of South Georgia.   Shortly after this activity, dinner was served in the restaurant.  During the night, we continued our sailing towards South Georgia under a dark starless night.

Day 6: at sea towards South Georgia

at sea towards South Georgia
Date: 19.01.2023
Position: 52°58.7’S / 042°52.2’W
Wind: WSW5
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +8

Ali woke us up this morning to a rolling sea. The ship has been rocking the entire night with objects moving in our cabins. We have set our clocks to South Georgia time, so we lost one hour of sleep. Most of us still managed to join breakfast in the dining room, but we all struggled walking around with our plates.

Soon after breakfast we attended an introduction to South Georgia by Ali, as we will be arriving tomorrow. Ali has been coming to South Georgia since 1997 when she spent 9 months there working as the post mistress. Then we proceeded to the biosecurity briefing for South Georgia which emphasises on the importance to preserve this fragile ecosystem by avoiding introducing invasive species and germs. Rats and mice have been eradicated, but we could potentially introduce plant seeds with our gear, and the transmission of germs from one landing site to the next is also a risk. After the briefing we were called deck by deck to proceed to the observation lounge to clean our gear. Our outer layers, backpacks and camera bags had to be vacuumed, with special attention to velcro which were cleaned with brushes. This procedure took the end of the morning and the beginning of the afternoon.

Josh then proceeded giving us a lecture about life in South Georgia. He spent 4 months working as a government officer at King Edward Point in 2020. At the same time Pierre gave his lecture on humpback whales for our German guests in the dining room. The sea conditions were quite challenging but almost all of us managed to make it to the presentations.

At 6:30pm we all met in the observation lounge where we watched another briefing about South Georgia and Ali gave us information about our landing tomorrow in Salisbury Plain. We expect to find a beach filled with fur seals, elephant seals and of course the impressive colony of 70000 king penguins. The wind forecast seemed to be ok for tomorrow. As we listened to Ali, we could see the first iceberg in front of Plancius. We were all very excited, even knowing that this is the first of many, and that the ones to come in Antarctica will be far more impressive than this one. Steffi gave a short recap on the different definitions on where Antarctica starts, and from her biological point of view, as we crossed the Antarctic convergence, we are in Antarctica already.

We all headed for dinner after recap and then met at the bar for a nightcap. We were very excited about our adventures to come.

Day 7: Salisbury Plain & Prince Olav Harbour

Salisbury Plain & Prince Olav Harbour
Date: 20.01.2023
Position: 54°03.3’S / 037°19.3’W
Wind: S3/4
Weather: overcast
Air Temperature: +8

Our first day in South Georgia began! Ali woke us up early in the morning, the weather appeared a bit overcast but dry and the wind just blew gentle. All seemed alright for a landing at Salisbury Plain. The Expedition Team left already early towards the beach to prepare everything but soon they took us over as well. The first impressions of the beach were just WOW! We did our best to concentrate and listen to the briefing but as soon as we went of the zodiac, we just were speechless what we saw. The beach full of little fur seal pups and king penguins, and in the water close to the beach many colourful king penguins as well.  

We did a small hike towards the colony on the back of the beach, and we enjoyed all these little pups running around, playing in groups, bathing in incredible stinky pools or just trying to impress us. Some older females were still around to care for their pups. We walked between the king penguins, and we also saw many moulting penguins. They were not afraid of us, and we enjoyed their presence and see these beautiful special birds up so close.

When we arrived at the colony, we were overwhelmed by how many penguins we saw. The colony is home to 70.000 breeding pairs. We could observe older chicks ready to fledge and losing their brown downs. Many other penguins just started the breeding cycle and just had an egg on their feet, well protected by the warmth of the belly, the breeding patch, and the feathers. The breeding cycle is quite complicated for the king penguins and takes about 14 months. In theory, they can have 2 chicks in 3 years but normally, just one will survive. We have yet so much to learn about this incredible place.

The morning passed by quick, but we enjoyed every minute that Ali offered us, even though four hours are not always enough.

After a great lunch, offered by our favourite Kitchen Team, we got into Prince Olav Harbour. While we approached it looked quite windy, but as we got more shelter, the wind dropped down to 15 knots. The Expedition team dropped the Zodiacs, and we got on a trip around the area. The old whaling station was original a sealing station in the 19th century, then was abandoned and was active again in the 20th century to produce oil blubber of marine mammals. The station kept active until 1931. Also, an interesting shipwreck was possible to observe, the old “Brutus”. The ship is one of the first steel ships manufactured in 1831 and was used as a coal storage for the station later in its life. All that is left now, is the overgrown shipwreck and the story that it tells of the past. The birds decided it is an incredible place for their nesting.

While we moved around the bay with the huge areas of kelp forest, we observed the wildlife around. We saw many fur seals in the water and on land, kelp gulls, Giant Petrels, and other seabirds in search of food.

The weather showed its “South Georgian” way, which means we got soaked by the rain but that did not stop our explorer attitude. A rainbow kept our mood high. We used all available time to enjoy, and the Hotel Team welcomed us back with some hot juice with a whiskey shot, not too bad this kind of life onboard Plancius!

After a well-deserved shower, Ali shared the plans for tomorrow with us, an incredible dinner was served and after a drink most people headed to bed. Well, we guess some people were still looking at the endless number of pictures they took during the day!

Day 8: Stromness & Grytviken

Stromness & Grytviken
Date: 21.01.2023
Position: 54°09.3’S / 036°40.4’W
Wind: VAR 3/5
Weather: clear sky
Air Temperature: +8

Plan A for the morning was a zodiac cruise through Hercules Bay, which was supposed to be a beautifully sheltered bay. This morning however, the winds were blowing so strong inside the bay that the air was filled with the mist of the nearby waterfall and the morning sun painted rainbows and unicorns. A magical ambiance, but maybe not the best time to go zodiac cruising here. We therefore relocated the ship into the nearby bay of Stromness. Ali and the Captain spent some time assessing the conditions until we finally got our ‘Go!’. And what an incredibly beautiful morning this plan B turned into! Clear blue skies over the black mountains dipping their tussac-green feet into the dark blue ocean… On shore we were greeted by the excited howls of the baby fur seals playing on the beach in front of the rusty old whaling station of Stromness. We dropped our life-vest and made our way over to Esther, who was standing next to a little group of puppies. Amidst these pretty, dark brown creatures played a leucistic one, a blond fur seal pup, too cute to be real. We could have spent the entire day just watching the seals play on the beach.

But Stromness had more to offer. Josh led us up the valley on a nice decent walk along the final descent of Shackleton’s walk over South Georgia. We went until the end of the valley from where we could see “Shackleton’s Waterfall”, that he came down in 1916 after his incredible voyage across the sea in a small lifeboat from Elephant Island all the way over to the west coast of South Georgia. An unbelievable story…
We leisurely hiked back down to the beach and enjoyed the beautiful scenery around us until we got shuttled back to the ship for lunch.

In the afternoon we made our way over to Grytviken, which was once the biggest whaling station of the Southern hemisphere. Before we were able to go on land, we needed to go through the bio-security check by the government officer of South Georgia. We had already cleaned all our outer layers from potential threats such as foreign seeds hidden in small deposits of dirt or dust in our pockets, backpacks, or Velcro. At the bottom of the staircase, we got a last check from the expedition team before they send us out to the official inspection before we were allowed to board the zodiacs. We were super proud and happy to hear that we passed the bio-security test with a 100%!!! 

Once we landed in Grytviken, we first visited the cemetery and the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who got buried here in 1922. We had to make our way around a huge pile of moulting elephant seals that were blocking the path to the cemetery but once we reached the white wooden gate, Eduardo and Pierre welcomed us with a glass of Shackleton’s Whiskey, so we all had a toast to “the boss”.

Afterwards we had the afternoon to roam freely through the remains of the old whaling station. A somewhat sobering place and remainder of the dark chapters of Antarctic exploration and exploitation. Today, the sun was shining in the idyllic little bay and in every corner of Grytviken you could see how nature is claiming back the land. Fur seals and elephant seals live and play around the old buildings and grass and moss are covering the remaining ships. The South Georgia Heritage Trust has restored some of the old buildings and made them accessible for guests so we could get a better idea of how life used to be on the old whaling station. An interesting little walking tour was offered by the museum staff, and we were able to visit the small Norwegian church as well as the post office and the South Georgia Museum. All in all, it was an incredibly informative afternoon, and the abandoned, rusty red buildings created a beautiful contrast to the rough beauty of the surrounding nature.

Once we got back to the ship, we changed into more comfortable, but still warm clothing, since the Hotel Management Team invited us to an Antarctic barbecue in the evening sun on the outer deck. We shared our extraordinary dinner with the government officer and his wife, the staff from the local post office and the museum and the few other people living and working in and around Grytviken. The perfect way to end this incredible day in South Georgia.

Day 9: St. Andrews Bay & Godthul

St. Andrews Bay & Godthul
Date: 22.01.2023
Position: 54°26.3’S / 036°10.6’W
Wind: W3
Weather: overcast
Air Temperature: +7

At 4 am, Plancius was at anchor in front of St. Andrews Bay, the biggest king penguin colony of South Georgia. Through the windows of our ship, we could see the horizon with some magical colors. Before us, the scenery was stunning, we could see some high glaciated peaks with flowing glaciers, a barren and desolate landscape covered with thousands of pinnipeds and penguins that make the atmosphere of this place quite special. In the sky, there wasn’t a single cloud, and a light wind was undulating the surface of the sea.

As soon as we arrived ashore, we just got the first rays of sun illuminating the amazing scenery. As usually, the beach is very crowded, and we were welcomed by a group of elephant seals and baby fur seals. Some penguins were going in and out from the shore to the sea to feed. The early mornings lights were given a surreal atmosphere to the place.

The expedition team has already prepared and flagged the route until a nice high viewpoint to have a look at the penguin colony. After an easy 15 minutes’ walk, we reached the point where we had to cross the river. Helped by our staff team and ABs, we were able to cross without problems. As soon as we arrived at the point of view, the display was difficult to describe as we were overwhelmed by the place and the huge amount of wildlife; it is difficult to imagine that we are standing in front of half of millions of king penguins! At the time of the year, the colony is mainly occupied by adults incubating an egg and by chicks that are about to fledge.

Around 8am, we could go back to the ship for a quick breakfast or staying at the colony to spend more time with the penguins. Meanwhile, the expedition Team opened a new path to the lagoon that allows us to experience a new point of view, closer to the glacier. Around 11:45, the last guests were leaving the shore with a large smile and with this relieved feeling to have spent an amazing morning.

Although we spent 7 hours on land, the day is not over because it is only 12am. For the afternoon, Plancius is taking the direction of a sheltered cove, Godthul, which means “Good Cove” and was named by Norwegian sealers and whalers. For the afternoon activities, we had three choices: a long hike until a pass that offers nice view over the bay; a medium lake to reach a lake and a gentoo penguins and finally the non-hikers had the opportunity to do a Zodiac cruising around the bay.

As soon as we arrived ashore, we were welcomed by our beloved fur seals and their cute pups. We even had the opportunity to see a blondie female; this genetic modification happens once in every 1000 births. The hikers walked through the very thick tussac grass to reach a plateau where the gentoo penguins established their colony. It was full of chicks that were about to fledge and started molting; we could observe the chicks running everywhere and playing in the pond. Meanwhile the long hikers were reaching the pass below Edda Hill in stormy, cloudy, and wet weather. Seeing the smile on their faces when they came back, it seemed that they all enjoyed this adventurous hike!

The day is ending with the traditional recap where Ali presented the plan for the next day: exciting adventures are coming ahead!

Day 10: Drygalski Fjord and Larsen Harbour

Drygalski Fjord and Larsen Harbour
Date: 23.01.2023
Position: 54°49.7’S / 035°57.0’W
Wind: VAR 3/5
Weather: overcast
Air Temperature: +11

Our last day in South Georgia! We woke up with excitement and renewed energy as our last day was promised to be awesome. Arriving at Cooper Bay around 8 am however, we were told by our Expedition Staff that the wind was too extreme. Most of us went outside to see for ourselves and seeing the swell and feeling the gust of wind that were over 40 knots, most people were more than happy to enjoy the weather from the Plancius onboard and not from the Zodiacs themselves. Although we could not zodiac cruise in Cooper Bay, we did spot loads of sea birds. In the water we still luckily spotted several large groups of macaroni penguins and even some chinstraps as well. We also saw several light mantled sooty albatrosses fly by! These incredible birds have a beautiful color and are easy to recognize.

It was decided that we headed straight to the Drygalski Fjord, which was quite close and as we sailed towards the Fjord, most of us were out on the deck to enjoy the stunning scenery and wildlife around us. Drygalski Fjord was named after Professor Erich von Drygalski, leader of the German Antarctic Expedition 1901-1903.

As this area of South Georgia is more exposed than other parts of the coasts, the landscape looked rougher. Sailing into the 14 kilometer inland deep Fjord, everybody was amazed. We have not seen anything like this on South Georgia before! It felt like we already were seeing some bits of Antarctica, with stunning mountain peaks, rough rocks, and lots of snow and ice. The Fjord was filled with floating ice coming from the glaciers that surrounded us. As we sailed deeper into Drygalski Fjord, Annelou explained over the announcement system that we were seeing some of the oldest rock found in South Georgia. A fault running from the length of the Fjord separates the Northern shore from the Southern shore; the Northern shore exposes the Drygalski complex, and the Southern shore the Larsen Harbour Complex. The Larsen Harbour complex exists of remnants of an ocean floor which was formed by volcanic activity, while the Drygalski complex exists of remnants of the once existing supercontinent Gondwana.

We got a close-up view from the Risting and Jenkins glaciers; we even heard some ice carving, even though we did not see it breaking. When we sailed into the fjord, the water looked beautiful clear. When we got further, a sharp boundary occurred in the water, due to the meltwater of the glaciers, which looked almost milky. While sailing in the Fjord, we got lucky enough to see four leopard seals on pieces of floating ice! They were resting and they were quite well visible. We even saw one or two snow petrols flying around the ship.

After a quick lunch, we went on a zodiac cruise to Larsen Harbour, a smaller fjord near Drygalski fjord. The sun was out and there was a little breeze. We saw lots of fur seals, but we came for the Weddell seals! They are the most southernly breeding seals of the world, but there is a small population of around 30 in Larsen Harbour as well. We got lucky enough to see at least 10 of them. They usually live solitary. After this last beautiful zodiac cruise in South Georgia, it was time to go back to the ship…

Everybody was exhausted but very content and happy. Most people went for a short nap and afterwards we enjoyed the extended recap in the evening. Ali talked about the size of seabirds, with her excellent science assistant Steffi, and Elodie followed up with a recap about glaciers. Annelou told us about katabatic winds, which we by now all have experienced on the outer decks at some point in time. Eduardo finished by telling the interesting story of the German and Norwegian Expeditions to Antarctica and South Georgia. While we were sad to leave South Georgia, we have had an incredible time, and our trip is not over yet. While sailing to the open ocean, we already saw some big tabular icebergs. This is very promising for the next coming days!

Day 11: on the way to the Antarctic Peninsula

on the way to the Antarctic Peninsula
Date: 24.01.2023
Position: 56°53.5’S / 041°42.0’W
Wind: W2
Weather: overcast
Air Temperature: +7

The first of our 2 seadays heading to South Orkneys started really smooth, not much movements on the ship, just 15-20 knots of wind. In the morning we started with our Lecture programme for the day. Eduardo told us more about Alien Oceans on other planets. The lecture was interesting, as many of us never thought so much about other planets and the universe. The following lecture was about seals, and we got more information about the different types and what is the difference between true and eared seals. At least one can run much fast than the others. It was a nice wrap up on the past day in South Georgia and a good forecast for the new species we would see. Ali did the lecture in English in the lounge while Steffi was doing it in German in the restaurant. In between we had time for a coffee and even the whole crew of the ship seemed to enjoy the calm day at sea.

For lunch the Galley Team prepared nice Mexican wraps and we even were able to observe some whales out of the window.

Most people were using probably the chance for a short nap, as the ship was almost empty after lunch. The Team made every effort that we will not get bored, so the next lectures about the whaling and sealing times in the Southern Ocean started already at 14:30. While Josh was telling about this interesting but also sad topic in the lounge, Esther presented in the Dining room to our German fellow passengers. But the lecture about butchering thousands of whales was interrupted by an interesting whale sighting of beaked whales. What could be better than being interrupted by wildlife in their natural habitat. Unfortunately, the whales were quick gone, as most species of them are known as deep divers and their time on the surface to fill up the oxygen storage is normally limited.

Just after a short break Elodie told us more about Continental Ice, Shelve Ice and Tabular Icebergs around the Antarctic continent. We could not wait to see ice!

Before Recap Ali hosted an auction to the benefit of the South Georgia Heritage Trust that also funded the rat eradication programme in the past years. We started this social event first with a free drink sponsored by Oceanwide Expedition for our 100% Biosecurity Check Result. We deserved that, for sure. The auction was entertaining, and some specials goods were sold. The best items were for sure the amazing painting of an artist about South Georgia on a chart. The final prize was 600 British Pounds, but also other nice stuff, like the flag of our trip or the leftover of our toast to Shackleton changed the owner for a good price. We made a good effort to support the South Georgia Heritage Trust and their future work to monitor and protect the incredible habitat of this remote island.

After another fantastic dinner and a few drinks at the bar, we went to bed and were dreaming of the upcoming adventure that would happen soon.

Day 12: sea day & A76a

sea day & A76a
Date: 25.01.2023
Position: 59°22.4’S / 048°51.4’W
Wind: NNW3
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +4

Overnight the ship has started to roll again, the swell we’re experiencing is the remainder of a decent storm that is supposed to hit the South Orkneys tomorrow and is the reason why we are headed directly towards Elephant Island instead. Like every morning we got woken up by Ali’s lovely morning announcement and Volodymyr calling us for breakfast. The wind outside was quite calm, and the sun was out, but we’ve had waves splashing up to the windows of the dining room.

After breakfast we all went out on deck to see the gigantic iceberg A76 that forced us to change course. It looked like we were going to hit a wall of ice. No end could be seen to either side. F

The iceberg broke off the Filchner Ice Shelf (part of Ronne Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea) in May 2021 and is currently on its’ way towards South Georgia. Even though it has split into three pieces by now, it is still the largest iceberg in the world at this moment. When it first broke off, it was 170km long and 45km wide. The part we passed today was called A76a (the largest of the currently 3 parts of A76) and it was 135km long, 26km wide and approximately 30-40m high. The size of the iceberg underneath the water surface must have been around 8-times this height. A truly massively impressive piece of ice… and a once-in-a-lifetime-experience for all of us since we will never get to see this specific iceberg at its’ current shape and location ever again. Close to this giant swam many smaller icebergs, many still bigger than our ship. And the ocean waves that broke on the bergs looked like house-high water explosions. What a special experience…

After this very unique morning, we got back to more serious business: bio security, round 3. After achieving 100% in South Georgia, we now knew exactly what to look for and therefore were done cleaning our outer gear pretty fast.

We then enjoyed a good lunch in the moving restaurant and many of us went for a little nap before the afternoon lecture programme. The ones who stayed awake were lucky to spot a good amount of fin whales passing the ship, some even so close that we could see their massive blowholes.

Following today’s topic, Elodie gave us insights into how sea ice forms and which role it plays in the fragile eco system of Antarctica.

Since we’ll be arriving at Elephant Island tomorrow, Josh gave a presentation about Shackleton and his incredible journey to South Georgia. A story that has inspired thousands of people throughout the last century.

The day ended with our recap and the plans for tomorrow. We’re excited to see land again after two days at sea.

Right is a picture of the waypoints and the trace that we onboard Plancius followed to get around the iceberg, as it was blocking our original path!

Day 13: Elephant Island

Elephant Island
Date: 26.01.2023
Position: 61°16.3’S / 055°09.7’W
Wind: W5/4
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +7

We spend our thirteenth day on board making landfall to Elephant Island early in the morning. After crossing the Scotia Sea, we came to Point Wild. Our Plan A was to make a zodiac cruise in the area. Here we wanted to show the place where the 22 men from Shackleton’s Endurance expedition waited patiently for Shackleton’s rescue. It is here also the place where a few hundreds of chinstrap penguins nest.

To commemorate the rescue, the Chilean Navy built here a monument, the bust of Piloto Pardo, the captain of the trawler Yelcho which came finally in August 1916 to rescue the men stranded there. Regrettably our plans here were thwarted by the heavy swell and fog present in the area. Hence our Expedition Leader Ali decided to wait to see if conditions would improve. We were lucky with the fog, it lifted above the horizon, and we were able to see from the decks Pardo’s bust. Similarly, we were able to see the glaciated surface of the area around point Wild and to have an overall view of how desolated and inaccessible Elephant Island is.

We were lucky with the fog but not with the swell and the wind. The wind kept on blowing above 30 knots and the swell consequently did not decrease. Hence it was decided to go for a Plan B: to visit Cape Lookout. It took us about one hour and a half to cross the island from one side to the other area for a possible activity. It took us one hour to cross the northern side of the island and when we came to Cape Lookout, conditions were much better.

Here we did our planned zodiac cruise and before 10 AM we launched 10 zodiacs. Here we had the chance to contemplate a colony of chinstrap penguins and a colony of macaroni penguins. We managed to negotiate with the waves and the swell and all of us got the chance to see both penguins as well as a few other guests of the islands such as fur seals and leopard seals.

For the afternoon of this day, our expedition staff prepared a set of informative lectures about various topics describing some of the aspects related to the environment where we are.  At 15:00 our biologist on board Steffi offered a presentation under the title Krill. In her presentation, Steffi described how these little creatures are the basis of all marine life in antarctica and how they despite their size, are the creatures that feed the largest mammals of the ocean. 

After this nice presentation, we then had our second presentation of the afternoon, this time given by our Earth Scientist on board, Annelou.  In her presentation she described how by studying the contents of ice samples, scientist learn about the past climate of planet Earth. In her presentation under the title “Ice Core Drilling”, Annelou explained in detail how ice samples are collected from the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland and how these cores contain valuable information to quantify the changes of our oceans, atmosphere, and climate over the last hundreds of thousands of years.

During the early evening we had our daily recap, with Ali presenting the weather and the plans for the next day. Ali took the opportunity to talk about the convoluted story related to the rescue of the expedition led by Anton Carl Larsen in the Antarctic Sound and how he and his stranded crew was rescued miraculously by a fortunate encounter and then by the Corvette Uruguay from Argentina. This is one of the most incredible stories of Antarctica’s Heroic Age of Exploration.

Additionally, Elodie gave an interesting recap called “Breaking News from Antarctica”, where she informed us about the latest iceberg A81 which calved from the Brunt Ice-Shelf on the 23rd of January 2023. This iceberg seems to have calved close to Halley Station in the Weddell Sea. This iceberg has the same area of Great London Area covering an area larger than a thousand square kilometres.   Shortly after this activity, dinner was served in the restaurant.  During the night, we continued our sailing towards the Weddell Sea under a dark foggy night.

Day 14: Paulet Island & Brown Bluff

Paulet Island & Brown Bluff
Date: 27.01.2023
Position: 63°34.9’S / 055°47.6’W
Wind: VAR2
Weather: overcast
Air Temperature: 0

Early wake-up for some of us as we enter the Antarctic Sound. Early birds get out on the decks at 4:30 am to see the sunrise and look for whales! And we are rewarded with fin whales, humpback whales, and an amazing sunrise. Right after breakfast we approach Paulet Island, and we prepare for our first landing in Antarctica. Ali has warned us about the ubiquitous penguin poo, and the smell does not lie… There is a little swell on the landing site, but our zodiac drivers take us to shore safe and sound. We then meet the thousands of Adelie penguins, and the extent of their dejections. It is impossible to avoid them, everything is covered in it… Nevertheless, the colony is amazing, with the chicks being already quite big. It is so much fun observing the chicks chasing the parents around the colony until these give in and regurgitate. There are a couple of fur seals around, but they are not disturbed nor interested by our presence at all. We have a nice long landing, and we return to the ship after heavily cleaning our boots, only condition for Steffi to let us get back on the zodiacs.

After a nice lunch we have a 3 hour transit to Brown Bluff where we plan to land in the afternoon, and where we will do our continental landing and our polar plunge. But nature has other plans for us. As we are on the outside decks looking at the incredible scenery and looking for wildlife, it does not take Ali 10 minutes to announce that she has spotted killer whales in the distance, and that the ship is changing course to try to observe them. It takes us a little while to get there, but indeed there are 40+ orcas swimming alongside 2-3 fin whales.

But they do not seem to be chasing them. They seem to be Type B small or Gerlache Strait orcas, an ecotype that feeds predominantly on penguins. We even observe them swimming alongside a fur seal which does not appear to be the least scared. We observe them for about an hour, as they approach the ship several times, and then we go back to our plan to sail to Brown Bluff, slightly delayed by this incredible encounter!!!

We arrive in Brown Bluff at about 4:30pm and the landing site is amazing, with scattered icebergs, a beautiful beach with thousands of penguins, and a glacier on the left side of the beach. The sun is out again. We have an amazing time observing both gentoo and adelie penguins, and we spot a white morph of giant petrel.

At the end of the landing some of our guests are brave enough to do their polar plunge, and a Weddell seal is part of the beach team. As the sun sets, we are taken back to the ship, making our way through infinite rafts of penguins returning to the colony.

After dinner we all head out on the decks as we sail back through the Antarctic Sound and we watch a beautiful set of colours as the sun reaches down towards the horizon. Whales, leopard seals, icebergs, birds… what more can you ask for after a day like this?

Day 15: Devil Island and Zodiac Cruise in the Weddell Sea

Devil Island and Zodiac Cruise in the Weddell Sea
Date: 28.01.2023
Position: 63°47.6’S / 057°18.4’W
Wind: N3
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +5

A new day in Antarctica started and it started really well. Some of us got up quite early to enjoy the sunrise in one of the most isolated places on earth. Well deserved, amazing sunrise and some whales, what could we ask more for.

For most of us it started a bit later. Ali woke us up and we watched out the window and the view was amazing. Calm sea, icebergs and the volcanic view over Vega Island and its little neighbour Devil Island. The Expedition Team went out, early as usual and the Zodiacs picked us up at 8:30. We walked along on the nice beach enjoying our new friends the Adelie Penguins. The young chicks were running around everywhere, searching for their parents and a new supply of food. We saw plenty of feeding behaviour and the little chicks did not mind explaining their parents how hungry they are. The chicks were chasing the parents all over the place, in the hope to get more food. We were actually quite impressed how much food the parents could deliver after one foraging trip.

Additional we got a small highlight, Ali gave us the chance to go for a walk and climb the horns of the devils. Well, some say it was the northern peak. It was a nice hike in the volcanic scenery and amazing blue icebergs in the sea around us. The weather, again, treated us nice and we enjoyed warm temperatures and sunshine. This was not enough for the moment, we additional got a small drive by at the icebergs and one lazy leopard seal enjoyed the sun on an icefloe as well. What a great morning in Antarctica.

For the afternoon the plan was Expedition! The plan to find an Emperor penguin, with our luck, should be manageable. Well sometimes even we run out of luck. There was less ice than expected, what makes it quite difficult. But the ice was incredible, so we went out for a ride into the ice with our beloved Zodiacs. We did not find Emperors but the biggest number of leopard seal in a small area we could imagine. The guides even mentioned that they never saw so many of these solitary top predators in one spot. So, we just float around and check out the next leopard seal and after number 10, we got even again excited about the Adelie penguins on wonderful blue icebergs. This was a wonderful last activity close at the Antarctic continent.

Ali invited us for the daily recap into the lounge and told us, that we would head north towards the South Shetland Island to explore a nice area. Additional she also provided the weather forecast….and our luck is back, we also get the unique chance to experience a real Drake. The wind forecast showed a lot of orange and purple what means Rock’n roll. Well not everybody was happy about that, but not much we can change about.

During the recap Steffi brought us the proof that ice is not only beautiful, it can also sing. In grounded icebergs water is getting squeezed through little channels by current and tide and that makes interesting sounds. On top of it Eduardo explained us why ice appears blue and takes the reference of Snow White and the seven Dwarfs. Steffi and Eduardo showed with plenty of running effort how the spectrum of light travels through ice. The little blue dwarf Eduardo got through and Steffi, the yellow dwarf, got slowed down and got stuck in the ice. Now we know!

What a fantastic day, one more to go.

Day 16: towards Drake Passage

towards Drake Passage
Date: 29.01.2023
Position: 62°25.2’S / 059°53.6’W
Wind: SE 5/7
Weather: snowfall
Air Temperature: +2

At around 8am, Plancius, surrounded by fog and snow, is at anchor in front of Half Moon Island, a small island that belongs to the South Shetland Islands. Half Moon is the site where we planned to do our morning activity that would allow us to see mor chinstrap penguins. The air temperature is around minus 1°C, there is 30 knots of wind, the swell is impressive. Expedition Leader Ali tries to postpone the landing to see if the conditions improve; after waiting for a little bit more than 1 hour, Ali decided to set sail and have a look at Yankee Harbour, another site just around the corner. Same conditions occur at Yankee Harbour; strong wind and swell, the perfect combo for unsafe landing conditions.

After Plan A & B, Ali always has a Plan C in her pocket. It is decided to go to Barrientos Islands, near the English Strait, a couple of hours away from Yankee Harbour. We hope for the best! During this time, Pierre gave an interesting lecture about killer whales. We all know everything about these fascinating marine mammals; from the social structure, the behaviour to the treats that these animals must face nowadays with climate change.

Around 11am, Plancius was in front of Aitcho Island. The coastline is rugged, wild, remote, made of basaltic rocks battled by the harsh weather conditions. Same problems occur here as well: too much swell and wind. So, we decided to wrap up and to head North towards the infamous Drake Passage. As soon as we leave the sheltered coves, we start to feel the swell and Plancius started rolling from side to side. It is time to take a last glimpse at those landscapes that made us dreamt during the last couple of days, taking a last picture of this marvellous world.

During the afternoon, we had the opportunity to watch in the Lounge a couple of documentaries about nature and wildlife that give us the desire to keep exploring our amazing planet. At 18:30, it is time for the traditional recap and the plans for the next days. Ali showed us some weather forecasts of the Drake Passage; windy and swelly conditions are coming ahead of us!

Day 17: crossing Drake Passage

crossing Drake Passage
Date: 30.01.2023
Position: 59°03.6’S / 062°54.1’W
Wind: NW6
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +8

Another day at sea and a decent Drake-Shake today. The dining room was rather empty this morning as many of us were forced to use these last days on the ship to catch up on some sleep, making sure we’re feeling fresh for further travels once we get back to Ushuaia.

The team made sure to keep us entertained with various lectures and documentaries throughout the day. In the morning we embarked on a journey with Eduardo into the history of 500 years of circumnavigating the world. We learned about the adventurous stories of Magellan and Elcano, Francis Drake, Willem C. Schouten and Jakob Lemaire. After this voyage into times long passed, Ali invited us to take a glimpse into the lives of the “Ice Maidens” – the stories of women in Antarctica. She told us more about the loyal wives of famous explorers and brave women who stood their ground in a world that was ruled by men. When Ali started in 2009, she was one of the only women working in the industry. Today, almost half of our expedition team is female.

Our lunch was still accompanied by big waves, we needed to make sure to hold on to our tables to not fall over with our chair. We’re still amazed by our brilliant team of waitresses and waiters who balance so gracefully through the dining room!

In the afternoon, Annelou gave a lecture about the geomorphology of the polar regions we have visited explaining the geological features of the rock formations we have seen. The formation of these sites gives us a better understanding of how the places we have seen came to exist. 

After a little coffee and tea break with delicious muffins from our baker Roger, we were invited to the lounge to watch another episode of the BBC Blue Planet documentary. This time it was about the Big Blue – the vast open ocean that we were crossing on several occasions during this journey.

Our daily recap brought an overview of tomorrows’ weather and the timetable for our arrival in South America. Additionally, Ali took us on a little virtual tour though the engine room of Plancius. Due to safety and insurance reasons, we can’t go down there in person, but it was great to get some information during this recap. Plancius operates with three diesel generators that create electricity for the ship’s propulsion which is the main reason why she is such a silent ship – perfect for the polar regions. Another interesting fact is that there’s a system on board that uses a reversed osmosis process to turn salt water into drinking water, which gets checked every single day. And then the question that many people ask after a tour like this: how much fuel do we actually use? To break down the numbers into smaller bites that are easier to digest: on a full sea day, every person uses around 60 litres of fuel. That’s a similar amount if we’re going on a road trip back home.

The recap ended with a little history of the Beaufort Scale and how people used to try to measure wind speed and its’ effects on the sea in the past. We currently had around 35 knots of wind which equals around wind force 7 on the Beaufort Scale: “near gale”. Esther invited us to keep observing the sea and the behaviour of the waves, guess the wind force and then go up to the bridge to check if we were right.

Our last full sea day ended with a delicious dinner and some nice talks with a drink in the lounge. We’re looking forward to seeing land again tomorrow.

Day 18: Drake Passage and Beagle Channel

Drake Passage and Beagle Channel
Date: 31.01.2023
Position: 55°20.4’S / 066°11.2’W
Wind: WNW3
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: +14

After a few days rolling around in the Drake Passage, it was a relief to most of us to feel the swell easing when we awoke as we neared South America again. If we were not already on deck enjoying the sights of the seabirds and the pitching seas, we were again awoken for the penultimate time by the now familiar voice of our expedition leader, Ali.

With our usual wholesome breakfast finished, many of us made it up to the bridge and out on deck to spy the first sights of Tierra Del Fuego and the surrounding islands on the horizon. Maybe a welcome sight for some who had been suffering from ‘Drake Shake’ the previous couple of days. We were all treated to our final morning of lectures from the excellent expedition team. Pierre was first up with his brilliant insights into the International Whaling Commission (IWC), an organisation he has been apart of for almost 20 years on behalf of his homeland, Luxembourg. He also gave us a brief overview of the work he is involved with through CCAMLR, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources. After a short recess and a quick coffee, we were then treated to another fantastic presentation by Eduardo on the role of science in Antarctica and the role of Antarctica on science, while Steffi simultaneously gave a lecture in German on the adaptations creatures have made to live in such cold environments such as those we visited on this trip.

After some brilliant lectures, we rushed to the dining room where we all feasted on the pizza and chips the galley team had been brewing up all morning. With all the lectures finished, many of us took to the outer decks to enjoy the views as we entered the Beagle Channel after lunch, while another BBC wildlife documentary was screened in the lounge. We were joined by Dusky Dolphins and Sei Whales as we entered the mouth of the Channel, with the dolphins putting on an impressive show bow riding and playing around the ship.

With the afternoon snack served and the pilot coming onboard, we began our final approach to Ushuaia. The evening’s activities gave us all a chance to reflect together on the amazing adventures and encounters we have had over the past two and a half weeks. First, we all got to share a drink at Captain’s Cocktails before toasting to the journey and enjoying one final recap from the Expedition team. Pierre had prepared a brilliant slideshow of the trip, which encapsulated all the wonderful things we have seen on the trip and took us back to begin of our trip in the Falklands to our final stops in Antarctica.

After enjoying a final wonderful plated dinner - with lamb, trout, salmon, and baked Alaska all on the menu – many of us enjoyed a catch up together before preparing for our departure the following morning.

Day 19: Disembarkation in Ushuaia

Disembarkation in Ushuaia
Date: 01.02.2023
Position: 54°78.6 S / 068°17.4’W
Wind: NW3
Weather: cloudy
Air Temperature: +10

While we enjoyed a last breakfast on board, our suitcases were taken off the ship. It is a sad moment to disembark from the Plancius, which has been a comfortable and cozy home during this unforgettable journey. We have shared many unique moments, seen a range of rarely sighted wildlife, and made new friends. Loaded with fond memories we now must head home.

We will continue our adventures, whether it be returning home or experiencing what South America has to offer. On the pier, beside our little blue ship moored alongside in Ushuaia, we say our goodbyes, many hugs, and a few tears… and until next time, we wish each other good health and fair winds.

Thank you all for travelling with us on this voyage, for your enthusiasm, support, and good company. We really hope to see you again in the future, wherever that might be!

The expedition team has enjoyed exploring together with all the guests. Of course, these operations only run smoothy due to the coordination between all the departments on board Plancius. So, to all the dedicated and determined individuals involved in this adventure, we all give our thanks and appreciation.

Of course, this would not be possible without you, the guests. Thank you for travelling with us on this voyage, for your enthusiasm, support, and good company. We very much hope to see you again in the future, wherever that might be!

Total distance sailed on our voyage: 3264,5 nautical miles
Southernmost position: 64°02.3’S / 057°52.9’W  

On behalf of Oceanwide Expeditions, Captain Remmert-Jan Koster, Expedition Leader Ali Liddle, Hotel Manager Volodymyr Cherednychenko and all the crew and staff of M/V Plancius, it has been a pleasure travelling with you.


Tripcode: PLA27-23
Dates: 14 Jan - 1 Feb, 2023
Duration: 18 nights
Ship: m/v Plancius
Embark: Ushuaia
Disembark: Ushuaia

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