SOLAR ECLIPSE 2021: TOTALITY IN ANTARCTICA WITH SOUTH GEORGIA
Total Solar Eclipses are rare in Antarctica, and 16 years ago, a group of Quark Expeditions passengers became the first humans ever to witness a Total Solar Eclipse on the 7th continent. In 2021, we will bring back our special guest expert from the epic 2003 voyage, retired NASA scientist Fred Espenak, to join us on one of two special voyages: Solar Eclipse 2021: Totality in Antarctica, with South Georgia and Falkland Islands.
Designed for eclipse chasers, this itinerary offers the rare opportunity to witness the total eclipse of the sun while also setting foot in Antarctica, as well as a chance to explore the rarely visited sub-Antarctic Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia. During your voyage, you will have the opportunity to participate in talks led by Fred Espenak, known as “Mr. Eclipse,” who has participated in 29 eclipse expeditions around the world, while also learn about the region, its wildlife and history, during onboard presentations by our team of polar experts.
On December 4, the day of the Total Solar Eclipse, you will receive a pair of eclipse glasses, and an invitation to a special evening celebration where you can relive your eclipse experience with fellow passengers. The excitement of the voyage continues as your ship then departs for South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, where you will explore regions rich in wildlife and polar history.
Day 1 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina
You will begin your journey in Ushuaia, a small but bustling port at the tip of South America. It’s the ideal gateway for you to explore the southern extent of Patagonia while preparing for your adventure ahead. Get active in the mountains or enjoy handcrafted chocolate at a café in town.
Day 2 Embarkation Day
Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the historic Beagle Channel, which transects the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the extreme south of South America. Expect an air of anticipation as you depart!
Day 3-4 Crossing the Drake Passage
Your days at sea are filled with presentations led by your Expedition Team who will prepare you for the wildlife, glaciology and history that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, spend time on deck looking for wildlife or chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.
Day 5-7 South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula
The most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. The experience is hard to put into words, since few places are as untouched and enduring as Antarctica.
You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes. At one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete isolation and silence, and at the next moment you’ll be inspired by nature as a calving glacier crashes into a brilliant blue sea or a penguin waddles by to inspect your footwear.
Your Expedition Team will take care of you at each excursion, whether you are Zodiac cruising, visiting a historical site or consorting with penguin colonies. Chinstrap, Adélie and gentoo penguins are found here, along with Weddell, fur, crabeater and leopard seals. Keep a lookout for Antarctic whales, such as minkes, while on a Zodiac cruise. Each day and each excursion will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy.
As exciting as the Zodiac excursions and landings are, perhaps you’ll treat yourself to an extra-special Antarctic experience by partaking in an optional paddling excursion (at an extra cost) or cast reason aside and jump into Antarctic waters for the Polar Plunge!
Day 8-9 At Sea
Say goodbye to the Antarctic Peninsula, as your next destination is the Scotia Sea, between the South Orkney Islands and South Georgia, where you’ll witness a rare natural phenomenon: an eclipse of the sun in Antarctica! Our Expedition Team will prepare you in advance with expert presentations and workshops on astronomy, meteorology and other related topics to help prepare you for that once-in-a-lifetime event: total solar eclipse in Antarctica. Joining you for the eclipse is world-renowned eclipse expert Fred Espenak. Known as “Mr. Eclipse,” Fred is a retired NASA scientist and has participated in 29 eclipse expeditions around the world.
Day 10 Solar Eclipse at Sea
Early this morning, you will be summoned on deck to witness an extraordinary, much-awaited moment: a solar eclipse, the very brief period (1 minute, 40 seconds) when the moon blocks the sun’s light, plunging the polar regions into darkness. Every guest will be provided with a pair of eclipse glasses before the momentous event. You’ll savor the stillness of this magical moment with your fellow umbraphiles (eclipse chasers), knowing you’re among the few to have witnessed this once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
As with all eclipse sightings, visibility is influenced by the weather and cloud conditions. Unique to this experience will be its location at sea, and the more extreme latitude which places the eclipse low on the horizon, making a successful sighting that much more difficult, and more rewarding should all the stars align for the eclipse to be visible. After the eclipse concludes around breakfast time, feel free to celebrate the unforgettable moment or return to your bed.
In addition to the eclipse glasses, guests will also receive an invitation to a special evening celebration to commemorate their special total eclipse voyage.
Day 11-14 South Georgia
South Georgia is one of the most fertile breeding grounds in the world for sub-Antarctic wildlife, with beaches blanketed with penguins. It won’t take you long to realize that you are in a bird paradise, as burrowing seabirds, albatross and petrels can be seen in abundance.
You’ll find that South Georgia, once a popular base for whalers and sealers, is also scattered with abandoned relics and evidence of human activity from centuries gone by. Your Expedition Team will help bring those days to life while you visit old whaling stations and enjoy presentations on the South Georgia of then and now.
One of the most significant sites you will visit on the island is Grytviken. This settlement is one of the first whaling stations established in sub-Antarctic waters. Many travelers find that this place has a special appeal, as it is home to the remains of Sir Ernest Shackleton, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.
Day 15-16 At Sea
After more than two weeks of unique wildlife encounters and remarkable landscapes, your journey home begins. Spend time on deck watching for seabirds and whales, enjoy presentations by your Expedition Team, or simply relax and reminisce about your incredible experiences.
Day 17 Falkland Islands
Upon your arrival in the Falklands (Malvinas), your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this sub-Antarctic region. The archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore during daily Zodiac excursions and landings.
Distinct and comfortable, refined and roomy—these attributes and more describe World Explorer. Not only is it among our fastest ships, but it is also one of our finest, with six tiers of deluxe accommodation.
The personal space is exceptional. Every suite has either a private walk-out or French balcony for direct ocean views. World Explorer also delivers plenty of public areas to unwind in after a day outdoors, including the glass-domed Observation Lounge for quiet contemplation and full skyline views, the Explorer Lounge for a drink and a chat, and the library for more intimate relaxing and reading. Presentations and discussions are facilitated in a dedicated lecture theatre.
Health and wellness facilities feature an outdoor track, a small gym and a sauna, plus a spa with change rooms, showers and lockers. For the active adventurers, add-ons include kayaking, camping and stand-up paddleboarding.
Staff and Crew: 130
Draft: 4.7 Meters
Guests: 172 (140 on Antarctic Express Programs)
Propulsion: 2 X Rolls Royce 9,000 Kw Hybrid Diesel/electric
Lifeboats: 2, Fully-enclosed
Length: 126 Meters
Ice Class: 1b
Breadth: 19 Meters
Cruising Speed: 16 Knots, in Open Water