Home » M/V Hondius: Antarctic Solar Eclipse 2021
Make your next big adventure twice as extraordinary by combining two spectacular natural wonders – Antarctica and a complete solar eclipse! After crossing the Drake Passage, spend a few days taking in the breathtaking mountains, glaciers, feisty leopard seals and whales along the Antarctic Peninsula. Sail to the Weddell Sea Pack Ice to the ideal spot to experience the eclipse. It’s not over yet – next marvel at the thousand-strong penguin colonies of South Georgia, hear the roars of male elephant seals before discovering the turbulent history of the Falkland Islands. Truly unforgettable!
Duration: 20 Days
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 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.
Over the next two days on the Drake Passage, you enjoy some of the same experiences encountered by the great polar explorers who first charted these regions: cool salt breezes, rolling seas, maybe even a fin whale spouting up sea spray. After passing the Antarctic Convergence – Antarctica’s natural boundary, formed when north-flowing cold waters collide with warmer sub-Antarctic seas – you are in the circum-Antarctic upwelling zone. Not only does the marine life change, the avian life changes too. Wandering albatrosses, grey-headed albatrosses, black-browed albatrosses, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, cape pigeons, southern fulmars, Wilson’s storm petrels, blue petrels, and Antarctic petrels are a few of the birds you might see.
This extended voyage gives you the chance to sail even farther down the icy coast of the western Antarctic Peninsula. In the Gerlache Strait are several opportunities for great landings where you might set foot on the Antarctic Continent, surrounded by an epic landscape of alpine peaks and mammoth glaciers calving at sea level. Gentoo penguins, leopard seals, Weddell seals, humpback whales, and minke whales are often seen here.
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. Here you can 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.
If ice permits, you sail into the Weddell Sea. Here colossal tabular icebergs herald your arrival to the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula. You might visit Brown Bluff, located in the ice-clogged Antarctic Sound, where you could get the chance to set foot on the continent. Paulet Island, with its large population of Adélie penguins, is another possible stop.
Giant icebergs and a good chance of fin whale sightings enliven this segment of the voyage. Also, your best chance to spot Antarctic petrels is here. Depending on ice and weather conditions, the aim is to venture into the pack ice to find the best possible position for viewing the solar eclipse.
The ship positions itself in the center of the shadow of the moon, and if possible, some distance into the Scotia Sea drift ice. The ice edge will be about 60°S, 41°W.
Some coordinates for the path of the moon’s shadow:
7.06 UTC: 58.47.7 S – 42.45.2 W, 1.39 minutes, 8 degrees above horizon
7.08 UTC: 60.42.4 S – 40.59.8 W, 1.42 minutes, 9 degrees above horizon
7.10 UTC: 62.22.3 S – 39.48.0 W, 1.44 minutes, 11 degrees above horizon
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 north.
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.
Over the next several days, you may visit the following sites:
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 seeing gracefully gliding above.
King PenguinsGrytviken – 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 see the South Georgia Museum as well as Shackleton’s grave.
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-ton 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).
Cross the Antarctic Convergence. The temperature gradually cools, and nutritious water rises to the surface of the sea due to colliding water columns. This phenomenon sometimes attracts a multitude of seabirds near the ship, including several species of albatross, shearwaters, petrels, prions, and skuas.
The capital of the Falklands and center of its culture, Port Stanley offers a little Victorian-era charm: colorful 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.
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.
Several species of albatross follow the vessel into the westerlies, along with storm petrels, shearwaters, and diving petrels.
Every adventure, no matter how grand, must eventually come to an end. It’s now time to disembark in Ushuaia, but with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
|26 Nov 2021 - 15 Dec 2021||$16400 USD pp|
|Quad Porthole Cabin||$16400 USD pp||Contact us|
|Triple Porthole Cabin||$17900 USD pp||Contact us|
|Twin Porthole Cabin||$19800 USD pp||Contact us|
|Twin Window Cabin||$20600 USD pp||Contact us|
|Twin Deluxe Cabin||$22100 USD pp||Contact us|
|Superior Cabin||$23700 USD pp||Contact us|
|Junior Suite||$25400 USD pp||Contact us|
|Grand Suite with private balcony||$29150 USD pp||Contact us|
|Hondius Suite||$33500 USD pp||Contact us|
2 portholes, 2 upper & 2 lower berths, small sofa, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe.
2 portholes, 2 lower berths & 1 upper berth, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe.
2 portholes, 2 lower berths, small sofa, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe.
1 window, 2 lower berths, small sofa, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe.
2 windows, 2 lower berths, small sofa, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe, minibar
2 windows, 1 double bed, small sofa, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe, minibar
1 double window, 1 double bed, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe, minibar
1 double window, 1 double bed, private balcony, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe, minibar
4 windows, 1 double bed, sofa, private shower & toilet, flatscreen TV, desk & chair, telephone and wifi, coffee & tea maker, hair dryer, safe, minibar, walk-in closet.
Important: Price is subject to change due to currency movements.
All itineraries are for guidance only. Programs may vary depending on local ice, weather, and wildlife conditions. The on-board expedition leader will determine the final itinerary. Flexibility is paramount for expedition cruises. Average cruising speed of m/v Plancius, m/v Ortelius and m/v Hondius is 10.5 knots.