Atlantic Odyssey: Islands of the South Atlantic

South America and Antarctica to Ascension and beyond: seabirds, island endemics and cetaceans

At a Glance

FOCUS:

Bird & Wildlife Cruise:  birds, whales and dolphins and remote islands.

WHERE:

Ushuaia (Argentina) – South Georgia – Gough and Tristan da Cunha – St Helena – Ascension  – Cape Verde

SAMPLE WILDLIFE:

Numerous Subantarctic, temperate and tropical Atlantic seabirds including including Penguins, Albatrosses and Petrels. Likely species include Northern Rockhopper Penguin, Tristan and Sooty Albatrosses, Atlantic & Spectacled Petrels (40+ species of tubenose are possible) as well as island endemics such as St Helena Plover (Wirebird), Tristan Thrush, South Georgia Pipit and Gough Moorhen. Over 20 species of cetaceans and eight species of seal are also possible.

Dates and Prices:

Dates: 25 March - 25 April 2023

Leader: Ship’s expedition team. A WildWings guide will accompany our group subject to minimum numbers

Prices: from £8,200 (quad cabin)




 
  • Cory's and Great Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • Spectacled Petrels, South Atlantic
  • Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, South Atlantic
  • Spectacled Petrel & Great Shearwaters, S.Atlantic
  • Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, South Atlantic
  • Spectacled Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Great-winged Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Great-winged Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Atlantic Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Atlantic Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Atlantic Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Atlantic Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Atlantic Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Spectacled Petrel & Great Shearwater, S. Atlantic
  • Atlantic Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Great Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • Spectacled Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Spectacled Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Great Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • Spectacled Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Cory's Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • Subantarctic (Little) Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • Subantarctic (Little) Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • Subantarctic (Little) Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • Great Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • MacGillivray's Prion, South Atlantic
  • Subantarctic (Little) Shearwater, South Atlantic
  • MacGillivray's Prion, South Atlantic
  • MacGillivray's Prion, South Atlantic
  • MacGillivray's Prion, South Atlantic
  • Tristan Albatross, South Atlantic
  • MacGillivray's Prion, South Atlantic
  • Tristan Albatross, South Atlantic
  • Soft-plumaged Petrel, South Atlantic
  • Tristan Albatross, South Atlantic
  • Tristan Albatross, South Atlantic
  • MacGillivray's Prion, South Atlantic
  • Tristan Albatross, South Atlantic
  • Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Southern Ocean
  • White Tern (chick)
  • White Tern
  • Northern Giant Petrel, South Atlantic
  • King Penguin, South Georgia
  • Southern Royal Albatross, Southern Ocean
  • Snow Petrel, Southern Ocean
  • Antarctic Tern
  • Cape Petrels, Southern Ocean
  • Humpback Whale, Southern Ocean
  • Gentoo Penguin, Southern Ocean
  • Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Southern Ocean
  • Humpback Whale, Southern Ocean
  • Hourglass Dolphin, Southern Ocean
  • St Andrew's Bay, South Georgia
  • King Penguins, South Georgia
  • Orca (Killer Whales), Southern Ocean
  • Orca (Killer Whales), Southern Ocean
  • King Penguin, South Georgia
  • Macaroni Penguin, South Georgia
  • Humpback Whale, Southern Ocean
  • Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Southern Ocean
  • Antarctic Petrel, Southern Ocean
  • Macaroni Penguins, South Georgia
  • Wandering Albatross, Southern Ocean
  • South Georgia Pintail, South Georgia
  • Sooty Tern

Tour overview

Sailings from the most southerly city in the world, Ushuaia, this iconic voyage visits some truly extraordinary islands and offers the keen birder the opportunity to see a fantastic mixture of seabirds and island endemics. First pioneered by WildWings’ Tony Marr and Chris Collins in 1998, we consider this voyage to be the ‘ultimate’ pelagic trip in the Atlantic and the current itinerary will take you from the very bottom of South America to South Georgia, Tristan da Cunha and St Helena. For those wanting to continue, the ship then sails onwards to Ascension Island and the Cape Verdes, allowing those aboard to look for a completely different suite of birds and cetaceans.

Some of these South Atlantic islands have enormous populations of seabirds and some very special endemic landbirds. The huge sea areas between them are ‘home’ to a great variety of albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters and prions and amongst the likely highlights could be Spectacled Petrel, Atlantic Petrel, Northern Rockhopper Penguin and thousands of King Penguins. The ultimate ocean traveller, the Wandering Albatross, often follows the ship whilst the vessel is in the Southern Ocean and we may even get a chance to see the greeting ceremony of these massive seabirds on their nesting grounds on South Georgia. 

Between 40-50 species of ‘tubenose’ have been logged on previous voyages and for a comprehensive list of the species which have been seen on some previous voyages please see below. With the recent advances in seabird identification, ‘new’ species which have been added in recent years include Scopoli’s Shearwater, MacGillivray’s Prion, St Helena and Ascension Band-rumped Storm-Petrels plus Cape Verde Storm-Petrel and there is always the chance of a surprise with species such as Trinidade Petrel, Juan Fernandez Petrel, Swinhoe’s Storm-Petrel and Salvin’s Albatross all having been previously recorded.

The cetacean list for this expedition is also truly exceptional and the species which have been seen previously include Blue, Humpback, Southern Right and Southern Bottlenose Whales, Shepherd’s, True’s, Arnoux’s, Gervais’ and Strap-toothed Beaked Whales plus a multitude of dolphins including Hourglass, Rough-toothed and Clymene along with the almost mythical Southern Right Whale Dolphin and Spectacled Porpoise.

These are remote islands with colourful histories that very few people have an opportunity to visit and on previous occasions, clients have zodiac cruised offshore from Gough Island, seeing its two endemic land birds, the moorhen and the bunting, but even this has occasionally been eclipsed by landings on Inaccessible Island (heavy swells usually prevent getting ashore here) yielding amazing views of the diminutive and flightless Inaccessible Island Rail.  The bunting on this island has now been split and is regarded as a full and endemic species.  Successful landings have also been made on Nightingale Island in the Tristan group, where the endemic Tristan Thrush (which has been seen on Tristan itself in recent years), Nightingale Bunting and the endangered Wilkin’s (Grosbeak Bunting) are to be found.

With the introduction of a weekly flight between St Helena and South Africa, it is now possible to disembark on the island where Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled and died but for those who have the time, it is possible to continue onwards to Ascension Island and the Cape Verdes giving you the opportunity to see a range of tropical species.

Itinerary

Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina. Sail late afternoon

Days 2-4: At sea, Drake Passage

Days 5-7: South Georgia

Days 8-11: At sea

Day 12: Gough Island

Days 13-16: Tristan da Cunha

Days 17-20: At sea

Days 21-23: St Helena

Day 24-25: At sea

Day 26-27: Ascension Island

Day 28-31: At sea

Day 32: Praia, Santiago, Cape Verde



NB: As applies to all expedition cruises, the exact itinerary will be subject to weather and local conditions. All landings are subject to government permissions.

Potential Seabirds (selected species only)

Brown Noddy, Black Noddy, White Tern, Sabine's Gull, Kelp Gull, Sooty Tern, South American Tern, Antarctic Tern, Chilean Skua, South Polar Skua, Brown Skua, Red-billed Tropicbird, White-tailed Tropicbird, King Penguin, Chinstrap Penguin, Gentoo Penguin, Magellanic Penguin, Macaroni Penguin, Northern Rockhopper Penguin, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel, Grey-backed Storm-Petrel, White-faced Storm-Petrel, White-bellied Storm-Petrel, Black-bellied Storm-Petrel, Snowy (Wandering) Albatross, Tristan Albatross, Southern Royal Albatross, Sooty Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Black-browed, Shy Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Atlantic Yellow-nosed Albatross, Band-rumped Storm-Petrel, Cape Verde Storm-Petrel, (Swinhoe’s  Storm-Petrel), Leach's Storm-Petrel, Southern Giant Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Antarctic Petrel, Cape Petrel, Snow Petrel, Blue Petrel, Broad-billed Prion, MacGillivray’s  Prion, Antarctic Prion, Slender-billed Prion, Fairy Prio, Kerguelen Petrel, Great-winged Petrel, Atlantic Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Fea's Petrel, (Trinidade Petrel), Grey Petrel, White-chinned Petrel, Spectacled Petrel, Scopoli's Shearwater, Cory's Shearwater, Cape Verde Shearwater, Sooty Shearwater, Great Shearwater, Subantarctic (Little) Shearwater, Boyd's Shearwater, Magellanic Diving Petrel, South Georgia Diving Petrel, Common Diving Petrel, Bulwer's Petrel, Ascension Frigatebird, Masked Booby, Brown Booby, Imperial Shag, South Georgia Shag

Potential ‘Island’ Birds (selected species only)

South Georgia Pintail, Gough Moorhen, Inaccessible Island Rail, Snowy Sheathbill, St Helena Plover, Tristan Thrush, South Georgia Pipit, Inaccessible Island Finch, Wilkin's Finch, Nightingale Island Finch, Gough Finch

Potential Cetaceans and Marine Mammals (selected species only)

Southern Right Whale, Humpback Whale, Fin Whale, Blue Whale, Sei Whale, Sperm Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whale, Pygmy Sperm Whale, Arnoux's Beaked Whale, Shepherd's  Beaked Whale, Cuvier’s Beaked Whale, Southern Bottlenose Whale, Gervais's Beaked Whale, Strap-toothed Beaked Whale, Orca (Killer Whale), Dusky Dolphin, Hourglass  Dolphin, Peale's  Dolphin, Southern Right-whale  Dolphin, Rough-toothed Dolphin, Risso's  Dolphin, False Killer Whale, Melon-headed Whale, Long-finned Pilot Whale, Short-finned Pilot Whale, Common Bottlenose Dolphin, Atlantic Spotted Dolphin, Pantropical Spotted Dolphin, Striped Dolphin, Clymene Dolphin, Spinner Dolphin, Common Dolphin, Spectacled Porpoise, Antarctic Fur Seal, South American Fur Seal, Subantarctic Fur Seal, South American Sea Lion, Southern Elephant Seal