Subantarctic Islands expedition cruises

The subantarctic islands lie beyond the southernmost shores of South America, Africa and Australasia, amidst the roiling oceans that circle Antarctica. Few people have even heard of these places, let alone travelled here, and yet these islands are home to some of the most remarkable concentrations of marine wildlife on the planet.

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Subantarctic expeditions

The subantarctic is the loosely defined region at the southern fringes of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, just outside the Antarctic Circle. The islands found at these latitudes are remote, inhospitable and for the most part uninhabited by humans, yet they support an astonishing abundance of marine life.

It's likely you will have heard of South Georgia, where vast colonies of penguins congregate on the beaches and the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried. South Georgia often features on Antarctica cruise itineraries, along with the more temperate Falkland Islands. But this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to subantarctic exploration; for the truly adventurous traveller, there are expeditions to the French Southern Territories, the Tristan da Cunha archipelago and the subantarctic islands of New Zealand and Australia.

With the exception of South Georgia and the Falklands, expedition cruises to these islands are rare. If you spot an itinerary that piques your interest, you should seriously consider booking it, as the cruise line may well not repeat it for several years. The subantarctic islands are of particular interest to birders, with the opportunity to see rare species of penguin, albatross and other seabirds, while the surrounding waters churn with sea lions, elephant seals and whales. You'll also learn about the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration, encounter weird and wonderful endemic flora, and enjoy the thrill of stepping ashore on islands where few other travellers have ever set foot.

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