Antarctic Solar Eclipse 2021: The Ultimate Bucket List Adventure
On the morning of 4 December, 2021 a total eclipse will plunge the White Continent into an eerie darkness. The cornucopia of icebergs, glaciers, penguins, whales and albatrosses makes any trip to Antarctica utterly incredible. Throw in a mind-altering total solar eclipse and you have what might just be the most surreal adventure opportunity ever. No wonder spots on our 2021 Antarctica Eclipse cruises are already filling up.
Between 5am and 9am on the morning of 4 December 2021, the moon will pass between the earth and the sun for viewers in Antarctica. All total solar eclipses are unusual, but this one is weirder still as the path will take the eclipse from East to West, a phenomenon that only occurs in polar regions. Totality will be reached at 7.34am when, for one minute and 54 seconds, the world’s last frontier will be plunged into total darkness. Read on to find out how you can watch this spellbinding cosmic event from the observation decks of one of Antarctica’s finest expedition ships.
In recognition of this once-in-a-lifetime event, several ships have put together special itineraries to ensure guests are in exactly the right place at exactly the right time on 4 December 2021. While witnessing the eclipse is the main pretext for these expeditions, it is by no means the only attraction. The remote location of the eclipse’s path means that all of the voyages on offer are 20 days long and include visits to South Georgia, the Falkland Islands and Antarctica. South Georgia and the Falklands boast intriguing history, unique cultures and fascinating wildlife, including different penguin and seal species to those found in Antarctica proper. Not to mention incredible birdlife, including majestic albatrosses, giant petrels, and oystercatchers.
Plancius and Ortelius Eclipse Expeditions
These two 116-passenger ships will be making the same journey one day apart. Departing Ushuaia, Argentina on 23 (Plancius) and 24 (Ortelius) November 2021 the ships will make a clockwise loop visiting the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. To witness the total eclipse, the ships will be positioned in the center of the moon shadow, at the edge of the sea ice in the Weddell Sea, between the South Orkneys and South Georgia. The 20-day itineraries will include daily activities, talks and excursions. The comfortable, ice-strengthened ships boast large open deck spaces and observation lounges, making them perfect for expeditions in the Antarctic region. After the adventure of a lifetime, the Plancius will return to Ushuaia on 12 December 2021. Ortelius will dock a day later.
Hondius Eclipse Expedition
The soon-to-be-launched 174-passenger Hondius boasts state-of-the-art features, modern design and a cozy atmosphere, making it the ideal vessel for a bucket-list trip such as this. The Hondius departs Ushuaia on 26 November 2021 and sails in an anti-clockwise direction. Your first stop will be the Antarctic Peninsula. From there you’ll intercept the solar eclipse at the point of its greatest magnitude before going on to visit South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. There will be activities, talks and excursions on every day of the itinerary, not to mention comfortable accommodations and excellent dining throughout. When you get back to Ushuaia on 15 December 2021, you’ll feel as if Christmas has come early.
One Ocean Navigator Eclipse Expedition
The more intimate and luxurious 96-passenger One Ocean Navigator will depart Ushuaia on 23 November 2021. The 19-night/20-day itinerary will take you in a clockwise direction to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. Highlights include experiencing the total solar eclipse near the South Orkney Islands; enjoying close-up encounters with penguins, whales, seals and many bird species; visits to historic sites and science stations; and learning about the environment, wildlife, history and ecology from polar experts. This ship’s smaller capacity will maximise your Antarctica experience due to rules which limit shore visits to 100 people at a time.
Check out these other blogs to find out more about how, when and why to visit Antarctica.
Got a case of eclipse fever?
Now that you know more about the various Antarctic Solar Eclipse Expeditions, contact one of our Destination Experts to book your trip. You’re not gonna get another chance anytime soon…
Credit to Ian Parker / Unsplash for the title image of this blog.