Home » Polar Pioneer: In Shackleton’s Footsteps
We sail to the Weddell Sea where pack ice stopped Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Transantarctic Expedition, and retrace his heroic journey to save his men, to Elephant Island, then on to South Georgia. Summer is dramatic in the Weddell Sea, with vast tabular bergs and shifting pack ice that protects fossil-rich islands and historic huts. South Georgia is home to magnificent albatross, fur and elephant seals, and the world’s largest king penguin rookeries. Our “Crossers” attempt to follow Shackleton’s route deep into the island’s rugged interior.
Duration: 18 Days
Step aboard Polar Pioneer in Ushuaia in the late afternoon to a warm welcome, introductory briefing and an evening departure along the Beagle Channel with your shipmates.
As we cross the Drake Passage, our naturalist and historian inform us about Antarctica and prepare us for the weeks ahead. Seabirds, then icebergs entrance us as we approach our first landing in the South Shetland Islands.
An autumn dawn greets us in spectacular Antarctic Sound where we may make a continental landing at towering Brown Bluff before pushing on into the Weddell Sea. Amidst shifting pack ice and tabular icebergs the Endurance story comes alive. If ice conditions allow, we visit world-renowned fossil beds on Seymour, Vega or James Ross islands, perhaps even Nordenskjold's Hut on Snow Hill Island – and learn of a survival story nearly equal to Shackleton's.
Point Wild on Elephant Island is so exposed it's hard to imagine Shackleton's men landing three lifeboats there, let alone surviving four dark winter months before rescue. If conditions allow we hope to take our Zodiacs as close as possible, perhaps even stepping ashore.
Retracing James Caird's epic voyage to South Georgia, we traverse some of the most productive waters in the world, keeping watch for fin, sei and possibly even blue whales. We have time to reflect on our journey so far, and learn more about Shackleton's life-saving crossing to South Georgia.
Entering King Haakon Bay, if conditions allow, we land in tiny Cave Cove to fully appreciate the skills of Worsely, Shackleton's skipper and navigator, then continue to near Peggotty Bluff, where Shackleton, Worsely and Crean set off to cross the island. It is from here where our crossing party alights to tackle the 50km trek.
While our South Georgia ‘Crossers' negotiate the rugged interior, we delight in one of the world's greatest wildlife spectacles – king penguin rookeries half-million strong, chinstrap, gentoo and macaroni penguin colonies, wandering albatross on nests, beaches thick with elephant and fur seals. We hope to join our mountaineers on the final leg of the Shackleton Crossing – the Shackleton Walk – from Fortuna Bay to Stromness, before visiting 'The Boss's' grave and the whaling museum in Grytviken.
We're entertained by whales, dolphins and seabirds as we cross the Scotia Sea to the Falkland Islands. At sea, our final days are a flurry of shared photos, memories and a farewell drink with the Captain.
After an early breakfast, we bid farewell to Polar Pioneer and transfer to Stanley airport for our onward flight to Santiago or Punta Arenas, Chile. Or choose to stay on in the Falkland Islands to continue your adventure.
10.2sqm, deck 3, two lower bunk beds and one upper bunk bed, outside porthole, wash basin, lounge, desk, cupboard with hanging space, air-conditioning control, shared bathroom facilities on the same deck and outside deck accessed via deck 4.
9.8sqm, deck 3, two lower bunk beds, outside porthole, wash basin, lounge, desk, cupboard with hanging space, air-conditioning control, shared bathroom facilities on the same deck and outside deck accessed via deck 3 and 4.
12sqm, deck 4, upper and lower bunk, couch, private ensuite, side-facing window, desk and chair, cupboard with hanging space, air-conditioning control and outside deck access to the main deck.
12sqm, deck 4 & 5, two lower bunk beds (note: #402 and #403 have an upper and lower bunk and a couch), private ensuite, side-facing window, desk and chair, cupboard with hanging space, and air-conditioning control. Outside deck access to main deck (deck 4 cabins only) and outside deck access to the upper deck (deck 5 cabins only)
16.8sqm, deck 5, double bed (in a separate room), private ensuite, side-facing windows, separate lounge area*, desk and chair, cupboard with hanging space, TV, DVD player, mini-fridge, air-conditioning control and outside deck access from deck 5. *Please note: Image depicts cabin #503 only. Cabin #502 has a foldable chair that can be laid out like a bed or couch.
22.5sqm, deck 5, double bed (in a separate room), private ensuite, forward- and side-facing windows, separate lounge area, desk and table area, TV, DVD player and mini-fridge, air-conditioning control and outside deck access from deck 5.