Antarctica Photo Safari 2020
Every year Guts make his pilgrimage to the “White Desert” leading some lucky clients on the adventure of a lifetime and returns each time with amazing tales (and images) of the spectacular wildlife and unbelievable vistas. Following these trips Guts feels confident that he can now lead the ultimate photographic safari to all his favourite places on a very special itinerary accompanied but some of our regular photographic hosts.
Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, Chile, where our Antarctic journey commences, make your way to our signature hotel for an included pre-voyage stay. This evening, we encourage you to visit the welcome desk set up in the lobby of the hotel to check in with the One Ocean Expeditions’ representative and to collect luggage tags for your voyage. Punta Arenas is the gateway to Chilean Patagonia, facilitating easy exploration of the region pre-voyage.
Our journey begins this morning in a central location with a transfer to the pier to embark our expedition ship. After settling into our cabins and exploring our new surroundings, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome refreshment and set sail. No doubt, everyone will be looking forward to the adventure ahead.
Sailing east towards the Falkland Islands we are joined by hundreds of seabirds, including the wandering albatross, who we come to know well on this journey. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions. Photographing these magnificent birds from the deck of the ship takes patience and skill and our photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history of the Southern Ocean and the locations we hope to visit in the coming days.
Having arrived in the Falkland Islands overnight, we launch the Zodiacs and are excited to make our first shore excursion this morning. Our plan will be to explore several locations in the West Falkland archipelago. These remote islands are home to a proliferation of seabirds and migratory birds including the stunning black-browed albatross. Our first penguin sightings will be on West Point Island with its bustling rookeries of rockhoppers. On Carcass Island or Saunders Island we may observe nesting Magellanic penguins as well as oystercatchers, geese and the striated caracara – a bird of prey.
The following morning we arrive in Stanley, the capital of the Falklands Islands. As we wander through the charming streets of brightly painted houses, we learn how this quiet harbour was once a major port in the 19th century for tall ships rounding the fabled Cape Horn. There are several interesting activities to enjoy today. Stanley has an excellent museum that outlines the historic events that took place during the conflict with Argentina in 1982. The waterfront memorial built to commemorate the lives of the British servicemen killed during the war is a sobering reminder of recent history. Stanley’s famed philatelic museum with its impressive collection of historic stamps is another interesting diversion.
We chart a southeasterly course bound for South Georgia. The seabirds once again join us in the Southern Ocean. Our educational presentations continue and are always popular. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the HMS Endurance expedition is central to any trip to South Georgia. Perhaps you will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard photographic guide, learning about image composition, the subtle polar light and all the basics of good camera craft. We will also learn about polar conservation – a theme particularly close to the hearts of our One Ocean Expeditions’ guides and crew.
South Georgia has often been called the ‘Serengeti of the Southern Ocean’ – and as we approach the deep bays of this rugged, rocky outcrop, you will begin to see why. Launching the Zodiacs we begin our exploration of the island, in the vicinity of Elsehul Bay. Large numbers of fur seals and the much larger elephant seal will line the dark sand beaches. Living in the tussock grass, king penguins and their chicks may number up to 100,000 birds in some locations, including Salisbury Plain, St Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour.
The island is also home to large numbers of nesting albatross as they fill the skies above, coming and going from the nest. South Georgia is a thrilling location for history lovers and the rusting relics of the early whaling industry are all around us.
We hope to observe several of the old stations at locations including Leith, Husvik and Stromness. A highlight is a visit to Grytviken – the largest of the whaling stations, situated at the head of Cumberland Bay. It is here we visit the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton. For many, being in the presence of the great explorer will be a highlight of the trip. An excellent museum at Grytviken, maintained by the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the restored church built by the original Norwegian whalers provides a fascinating glimpse into the past.
Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica, leading us perhaps to the South Orkney Islands or Elephant Island. As with all of our itinerary planning, our Expedition Leader and Captain will make a decision based on the conditions at the time. The South Orkney Islands represent the peaks of a submarine mountain range called the Scotia Arc, connecting South Georgia to the South Shetland Islands. Often shrouded in fog and surrounded by ice much of the year, a chance to visit these islands doesn’t come often. As we edge ever closer to the frozen continent, large icebergs announce our arrival in Antarctic waters. If conditions allow, we will hope to see the dark cliffs of Elephant Island appear on the horizon. Shackleton and his men were encamped here for many months, having lost HMS Endurance in the thick sea ice, far to the south in the Weddell Sea in 1915. From the tiny beach at Point Wild, Shackleton and five companions set off on the rescue mission to South Georgia, aboard the tiny lifeboat, James Caird. To this day, the epic ocean crossing is considered one of the greatest in history. If conditions allow, we will attempt a landing at Point Wild on Elephant Island.
Around 60 miles off the coast of the Antarctic mainland we find the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sites could include King George Island, Half Moon Island or Yankee Harbour.
Weather conditions permitting we sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. There are some outstanding hikes at these locations and the old whaling station and aircraft hangar at Deception Island beg for further exploration.
Sailing northeast towards the Falkland Islands we are joined by hundreds of seabirds, including the wandering albatross, who we come to know well on this journey. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions. As we make our way back to Stanley, the educational presentations continue, and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader.
Join our photography experts at the multimedia station and download your precious images. Approaching the coast of the Falkland Islands in the early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
This morning we find ourselves in the port of Stanley. We say goodbye to our crew and make our way to the airport for our return private charter to Santiago (this flight is included in the price of your voyage). On arrival in Santiago our journey comes to an end. Onward regional and international flight connections may be possible this evening. Discuss the options with your booking agent. A transfer is provided to a downtown location for those choosing to stay and explore Santiago and the delights of Chile.
Set Departure: 8 October – 27 October 2020
|Twin Private||Superior||Shackleton Suite|
|$19,995 pps||$20,995 pps||$23,450 pps|
IMPORTANT: We utilize a private air charter where strict weight restrictions apply. Please observe a limit of 20kg. Ask your booking agent for further details, or contact our office should you have any questions.
Polar exploration can be unpredictable. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a ‘guide only’ and may change. The ship’s Captain in conjunction with the Expedition Leader continually review the sailing plan throughout the voyage, making adjustments to the itinerary along the way to take advantage of optimal weather and ice conditions or to maximize our encounters with wildlife. Decades of experience spent exploring these waterways mean we have a large number of outstanding landing sites and Zodiac cruising locations to consider, even when the weather conditions may not be ideal or when heavy ice may hinder our planned route. A flexible approach is something we encourage you to bring to the ship.
The ship will provide you with all the cold weather gear that you will require for your time off the ship which means you won’t have to lug lots of bulky clothing with you, thus allowing more weight for camera gear. One essential piece of gear advice from Guts is to bring plenty of spare batteries. In the cold they need to be replaced more often and storing them inside your jacket, when off the ship, next to your body helps them retain their charges even longer.
Everything is clean and fresh, penguins are just arriving, there is lots of snow, cold crisp air, and the chance to possibly experience snowflakes! There are fewer boats during this time – giving us the opportunity to truly navigate the seas! The elephant seal pups are so friendly during October.
All of the different penguin species, like King, Chinstrap, Gentoo, Adelli etc. I also love to capture the baby elephant seal pups … and of course great iceberg shots!
Watertight bag/box, 3 bodies, and big zoom (200-400), as well as a medium zoom (70-200) and a wide angle lens (16-35). I also bring a tripod along with me.
With the bright white backgrounds, you should overexpose so that the white is white and not grey
The whole ship will dine together, join lectures together, and most importantly disembark together and do a zodiac cruise/land landing together. The ship is designed for ice, and the research vessel can get into areas that the big ones cannot really get to.