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.
On this departure, you’ll be joined by Fred Espenak, known as “Mr. Eclipse,” who has participated in 29 eclipse expeditions around the world. Fred will share his extensive eclipse insights throughout the voyage.
Fred Espenak is a retired NASA astronomer and the agency’s leading expert on eclipses. Known as “Mr. Eclipse”, he has written dozens of books on eclipses, generated predictions and maps for over 10,000 solar eclipses, and created three websites devoted to eclipses. Espenak has participated in 29 total solar eclipse expeditions that have taken him all over the world. His photographs have been published in numerous magazines and appeared on the USPS postage stamp commemorating the 2017 eclipse across the USA.
He and his wife, Pat were aboard Quark’s epic trip to Antarctica’s last total solar eclipse in 2003, where he was a consultant and lecturer.
• Explore the Antarctic Peninsula by ship, Zodiac and foot
• Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife with our onboard lecturers
• Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Antarctic, with an optional kayaking excursion
• Witness a rare total solar eclipse from the deck of Ocean Diamond in the Scotia Sea between the Orkney
• Islands and South Georgia.
• See South Georgia’s incredible wildlife, including 30 breeding bird species and four penguin species
• Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyages to South Georgia and pause for a moment at his grave site
• Wander the quaint British town of Stanley in the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)
Vessel Type: Expedition
Length: 124 metres
Passenger Capacity: 224
Built / refurbished: 1974 / 2012
The 224 passenger vessel was completely refurbished in Norway in 2012 and is perfect for our exploration being large enough to provide stability, speed, spacious cabins and ample public space, yet small enough to manoeuvre in remote areas. The vessel is outfitted with the most current navigational and communications technology as well as with retractable stabilisers for smooth sailing. The vessel is ice strengthened and features 18 Zodiacs for our forays ashore.
Your Cabin/Suite With a maximum of 224 passengers, the Ocean Diamond offers cabins across its five decks. There a range of cabins and suites available and all feature outside views (porthole, window or balcony), full private en-suite bathrooms featuring bathtub and shower, a writing desk, individual temperature control, in-room safe, refrigerator, satellite phone access, hairdryer and flat-screen television and DVD player. Cabins range in size from 17 square metres to 30 square metres.
Your Space The Ocean Diamond features spacious public areas and ample deck space from where you can admire the beautiful passing landscapes. Public areas and facilities include an observation lounge with bar, a fitness centre, pool with bar, sun deck, lecture threatre with state of the art audio visual equipment, library and lounge. The restaurant serves all passengers in one, open seating and cuisine onboard is international. There is also a gift shop, clinic and a spa onboard.
Your Dining The single sitting restaurant is located on the Lower Deck and is both spacious and light. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style and dinner is served to your table. All meals include a vegetarian option. Afternoon tea also served daily around the afternoon excursions and coffee, tea and water are available complimentary around the clock. Weather permitting, there will be the opportunity to dine outside on occasion.
Life Onboard The atmosphere onboard is focused on exploration and discovery with all the creature comforts you would expect from a vessel of this calibre. The onboard crew offer excellent service and in addition the expedition team will enrich your experience with their knowledge of the region. Through a lecture programme and shore expeditions, they will share their expertise and passion with you. After a day of exploration ashore, you will return to the comfort of a sophisticated ship with a friendly crew and informal atmosphere. A fleet of Zodiacs are used for landings and nature cruises, and during your voyage you will have the opportunity to visit the Captain and Officers on the Bridge to learn more about your journey, further fostering the expeditionary nature of our voyage.
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!
Days 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.
Days 5 to 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!
Days 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.
Days 11 to 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.
Days 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.
Days 17 & 18 — Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas):
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.Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore, grab a pint at the local pub or visit numerous churches and museums.In terms of wildlife, the archipelago is home to Magellanic, gentoo and southern rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species—the flightless Falkland steamer duck and possibly the elusive Cobb’s wren.Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands.
Day 19 — At Sea:
After more than two weeks of endless wildlife encounters, 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 experiences.
Day 20 — Disembarkation in Ushuaia, Argentina:
After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. Airport transfers will be provided for those departing on the first homeward flights. Other guests will be transferred to town.
Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.
Approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq. m) in size, this cabin has a two twin beds and an upper bed, and two portholes. Located on the Lower Deck, these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin. Please note that porthole covers may be closed during sea days or during inclement weather as a safety precaution.
Approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq. m) in size, these cabins have one double bed or two twin beds, and a picture window (the view is obstructed). Located on the Captain’s Deck, these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin.
Between 183 and 200 sq. ft. (17 and 19 sq. m) in size, these cabins have one double bed or two twin beds, and a picture window. Located on the Upper, Main and Captain’s Decks, these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin.
Approximately 400 sq. ft. (37 sq. m) in size, these suites have one double bed or two twin beds, and two picture windows. Located on the Main Deck, these suites have two private bathrooms, and a separate sitting area with a sofa, chair, and small table. Two refrigerators, TVs, and DVD players are included in each cabin.
Approximately 325 sq. ft. (30 sq. m) in size, including the balcony, this suite has one double bed or two twin beds, and a full-size window with a sliding glass door that leads to a private deck with chairs. Located on the Observation Deck, this suite has a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin.
Approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq. m) in size, these cabins have one double bed and two portholes. Located on the Lower Deck, these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin. Please note that porthole covers may be closed during sea days or during inclement weather as a safety precaution.
Approximately 200 sq. ft. (19 sq. m) in size, these cabins have one double bed, and a picture window (the view is obstructed by the lifeboats). Located on the Captain’s Deck these cabins have a private bathroom with shower. A refrigerator, TV, and DVD player are included in each cabin.
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