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.
Our journey commences this morning in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. We meet at a central location before transferring to the airport for your flight to Stanley in the Falkland Islands. (This flight is NOT included in the price of your voyage, as we advise you book it as part of your international flight). After a short 90-minute journey we are met on arrival and transferred to the pier. Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal Britain. It is charming with brightly coloured houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral and several local pubs. There is time to explore the town, before ship embarkation. After settling into our cabins and exploring the ship, we meet our expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as we enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off for the adventure of a lifetime.
Overnight we have navigated down the eastern coast of the Falkland Islands. Approaching Sea Lion Island, we first note the very barren and windswept landscape, exposed to the prevailing weather that originates in the Drake Passage. We launch the zodiacs and go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife found at this location. Three species of penguin including gentoo, magellanic and rockhopper, as well as southern elephant seals and South American sea lions are known to inhabit the area. King cormorants and striated caracaras are just some of the bird species we expect to see. Weather permitting, we may have time to visit neighbouring Bleaker Island – another settlement on the exposed southeastern coast of the Falklands – equally rich in wildlife.
We chart a south-easterly 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. You will pick up some valuable tips from our onboard Pangolin photo guides, 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, Guts 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 six 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. After so much anticipation, we enter the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula in the vicinity of Mikkelson Harbour or Cierva Cove Snow covered mountains soar from the dark waters. Along the shoreline in the bays and harbours of the Peninsula lives an incredible abundance of wildlife. Large rookeries are home to chinstrap, gentoo and Adelie penguins. Seals live on the ice floes, including the powerful leopard seal that we hope to encounter. Gulls, skuas and cormorants are also found nesting and feeding at many sites along the Antarctic Peninsula. We explore by Zodiac boat and ashore where a range of exciting activities await. Locations we hope to visit include Wilhelmina Bay, Orne Harbour, Cuverville Island and the Errera Channel.
Join the Pangolin photo guides taking pictures of stunning icebergs. Or enjoy a hike to the top of a snowy mountain saddle with one of our adventure guides. If the opportunity presents itself, visit a science base or an old historic hut. The sea kayakers may range up to several miles from the ship, for a truly Memorable experience.
After several busy days of exploration along the Antarctic Peninsula, it’s time to return to South America. The educational presentations continue and we enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by our Expedition Leader, Guts. Join our photography experts in the multimedia room and download and process your precious images. If weather conditions allow, we hope to make a rounding of Cape Horn. This fabled stretch of water is home to legendary tales of exploration and early navigation. It’s a fitting place to reflect on a wonderful expedition to some of the most remote corners of the planet. Approaching the entrance to the Beagle Channel in early evening light, we enjoy a special dinner attended by the Captain of the ship.
In the early morning, we arrive into Ushuaia, Argentina. It is time to say farewell to your crew and fellow travellers. Guests will be transported to their hotels or to the airport for return flights home. It will be possible to connect to flights through to Buenos Aires or other destinations in South America. Otherwise, enjoy a night in town or venture further afield to explore the highlights of Patagonia.
Set Departure: 26 October – 14 November 2020
|Twin Semi-Private||Twin Private||Superior||Shackleton Suite||One Ocean Suite|
|$17,995 pps||$19,995 pps||$20,995 pps||$23,450 pps||$25,750 pps|
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 the 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 November.
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.