Snow Hill – The Ultimate Emperor Penguin Quest with Marius Coetzee
ORYX Guest and Marius Coetzee recently embarked on an extraordinary expedition that rewrote the script of polar exploration. Joining a select group of adventurous souls aboard the state-of-the-art ship Ultramarine, they set sail for the remote Snow Hill Island, etching their names in polar history. The mission: to reach the elusive Emperor penguin rookery, an experience hailed as one of the planet’s most exclusive wildlife encounters.
The Ultramarine, equipped with twin-engine helicopters, became there portal to this rarely-visited rookery. Flying to the vicinity of Snow Hill, they walked across thick sea ice, standing mere meters away from the coveted Emperor penguin species. Picture scenes reminiscent of “March of the Penguins” and BBC’s “Frozen Planet” – penguins tobogganing across the ice, their antics leaving ORYX Guest and Marius Coetzee speechless.
For two awe-inspiring days, together they reveled in the majestic moments on ice alongside over 4,000 pairs of breeding Emperor penguins and their adorable chicks. The Weddell Sea unfolded its wonders before them, and they set foot on the seventh continent’s eastern Peninsula, savoring every step of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Crossing the Drake Passage was an adventure in itself, with unpredictable and exciting moments. Navigating into the Weddell Sea, they were treated to onboard presentations by polar experts, unraveling the mysteries of the ice-dwelling Emperor penguins.
The climax of their expedition unfolded as they approached Snow Hill Island. Helicopters ferried them closer to the rookery, revealing a breath taking landscape of snow-capped peaks and colossal tabular icebergs. Walking amidst the penguins, they witnessed their tight-knit community and marvelled at their quirky yet efficient behaviours.
Back on the Ultramarine, the expedition continued with Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and hands-on learning opportunities. Bespoke educational programs enriched their understanding of the region, courtesy of penguin scientists, biologists, and polar historians.
As they sailed back across the Drake Passage, memories of seabirds, whales, and shared adventures filled the air. Disembarking in Ushuaia, their journey concluded with a tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park before a charter flight back to Buenos Aires.
This expedition wasn’t just a photo tour; it was a testament to the spirit of exploration and the thrill of embracing the unexpected in the world’s most remote corners. Joining the ranks of those who dared to venture where few have gone, together ORYX Guest and Marius Coetzee etched their own legendary story in the icy landscapes of Antarctica.
ORYX Guest Testimonial: Antarctica – Snow Hill Emperor Penguin Expedition 2023.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine a trip to Antarctic like the one booked through ORYX Photo Tours. Leave it to ORYX to find the best ship with the best, most professional crew in Antartica.
This was my second visit to Antartica. The first time included the standard tourist itinerary with a different company. This trip was booked, specifically to see the Emperor Penguins on Snow Hill Island. Thanks to the incredible attention to detail by the staff of ORYX, everything on the trip went smoothly. Combine ORYX’s selection of the ship, their planning, and great weather, this trip was truly perfect.
Separate from seeing a very remote part of Antartica, this trip was an opportunity for me to reflect on my photography skills. I started traveling with ORYX about 4-5 years ago. I selected ORYX with the main goal of improving my photography skills while traveling. I can truly say, that I have come along way thanks to ORYX. From learning how to shoot using settings and not just auto, every time I travel with ORYX Photo Tours is like taking a master class in photography. In addition when the time came for me to change my camera equipment, Marius Coetzee, the owner of ORYX was a great resource and helped me select the equipment that was perfect for me.
Looking forward to traveling again with ORYX in 2024 and 2025. Already have the trips booked! I am confident that anyone that books with ORYX will be well served.