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Antarctica, Falkland Islands & South Georgia Photo Co-Charter Expedition 2019

Antarctica, Falkland Islands & South Georgia Photo Co-Charter Expedition 2019

US$13,950 - $US22,950 per person sharing

ORYX LEADER
Jessica Tingley

Fully Booked 

19 Oct 2019 – 6 Nov 2019

Antarctica is surely the ultimate destination! The scenic settings are as magnificent as any on earth, and the scale of nearly everything is grand, to say the least. Complementing these astounding vistas are vast colonies of majestic penguins, brash skuas, giant albatrosses, weird sheathbills, somnolent seals and feeding whales that all add life to the region’s stark and amazing beauty.

 

Our voyage traverses some of the most productive regions of the Southern Ocean; notably the Falkland and South Georgia Islands, both of which are renowned as among the richest of all Subantarctic islands. South Georgia’s rugged beauty is worthy of Antarctica itself, while the Falkland Islands are better known as the battlegrounds for the 1982 Anglo-Argentine War.

 

Several days are spent at sea, cruising from one island group to the next until we find ourselves on the Great White Continent itself. These crossings provide thrilling pelagic birding. Cetaceans are also regular, ranging from the largest whales to the striking Hourglass and Commerson’s Dolphins.

Why this Photo Expedition is for You

Destination Allure

The route will focus entirely on The Falkland (Malvinas) Islands, South Georgia, South Shetlands, and Antarctica Peninsula.

Month of Travel

Our voyage will be the first of the season. Another advantage of this early season cruise is a lower cost structure; and this being our own charter, we will be able to ensure our landings will give us the best photographic and birding opportunities possible.

Charter Ship

We are taking a full Antarctic charter in collaboration with our sister company Rockjumper Birding Tours. We will have a team of ORYX Photographic and Rockjumper Birding tour leaders aboard the very comfortable Akademik Ioffe, one of the best rated small vessels doing this classic route.

Wildlife

Besides offering pristine snowscapes, we will encounter and photograph displaying penguins and other breeding birds, as well as duelling Southern Elephant Seal beachmasters (these giants are usually gone by late November when most expeditions come south).

Experienced Team

Our ORYX Photo Tour leaders consists of renowned wildlife photographers.

ORYX LEADER
Marius Coetzee

ORYX LEADER
Dale Morris

Kirsten Frost

ORYX LEADER
Kirsten Frost

Jessica Tingley

ORYX LEADER
Jessica Tingley

19 Days
30 Guests + 4 ORYX Leaders
  • Destination
  • Departure
    Ushuaia
  • Per Person Sharing
    From US$13,950 to US$22,950
  • Single Supplement
    Please Contact Us
  • Photographic Highlights
    King, Southern Rockhopper & possibly Emperor Penguin, Northern and Southern Royal, Wandering & Light-mantled Albatross, Snowy Sheathbill, South Georgia Diving Petrel, Antarctic Prion, Grey-backed & Black-bellied Storm Petrel, Snow, Antarctic, Blue, Kerguelen & Great-winged Petrel, Striated Caracara, South Georgia Shag, Falkland, Flying & Fuegian Steamer Duck, White-bridled Finch, Black-chinned Siskin, Sedge & Cobb's Wren, Long-tailed Meadowlark, South Georgia Pipit, Black-throated Finch. Humpback, Fin, Sei & Minke Whale, Orca, Commerson’s & Peale’s Dolphin, Weddell, Crabeater, Leopard, Southern Elephant & Antarctic Fur Seal.
  • Guide
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Day 1: Arrival in Ushuaia, boarding ship and departure

This afternoon, we board our ship and begin our journey eastwards toward the Falkland Islands. As we leave the scenic harbour of the world’s most southern city, we enter the famous Beagle Channel. Forming the boundary between Argentina and Chile, we will have rugged cliffs and islands on either side of us and our photography will begin in earnest!
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Day 2: At sea, Northeast toward Falkland Islands

Our lenses will focus on seabirds and marine mammals from the bridge and the stern, where albatrosses and giant petrels should be following our ship.   In addition, information-packed, onboard lectures will serve as entertainment during some of the crossings
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Day 3: The Falkland Islands (Malvinas), West Point and Carcass Islands

This morning we wake up in the Falkland Islands! We will spend the entire day on the fascinating western side of the archipelago. The main objective for this morning is to photograph a Black-browed Albatross colony; thousands of Black-browed Albatrosses nesting on a magnificent cliff; pairs in display and a continuous stream of individuals landing and taking off, all at touching distance. Entertaining Southern Rockhopper Penguins also nest among the albatrosses.   This afternoon we plan to proceed to Carcass Island. Our photography here will focus on Magellanic and Gentoo Penguins, Rock and Imperial Shags, the lovely Dolphin Gull, the aptly-named Kelp Goose.
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Day 4: Stanley, Falkland Islands

The roughly 2,000 people inhabiting the historic town of Stanley represent about 80% of the population of the entire Falkland Islands. Our visit will give perspective on the history of British settlement of the islands, plus the 1982 Anglo-Argentine War in which Argentinean forces invaded but were subsequently defeated and expelled by the British.   Time will also be available to explore the museums, shipwrecks, historical trails and shops of Stanley. In the afternoon, we begin our multi-day cruise to dramatic South Georgia.  
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Days 5 to 6: At sea between Falkland Islands and South Georgia

For the seabird photographic enthusiast, these are some of the most exciting waters in the world. As we cruise from the Falklands to South Georgia, we cross the Antarctic Convergence, where the warmer, saline water from the north meets the colder and less salty Antarctic water.   This is a very rich feeding ground for seabirds and marine mammals, attracting large volumes of wildlife from distant breeding islands and waters. Though the Convergence attracts birds from both north and south, we will notice a shift of species and relative numbers between the waters on either side of the Convergence.
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Days 7 to 9: South Georgia Islands

South Georgia Islands can support life throughout the year. Vast numbers of birds and pinnipeds live here year-round – over 500,000 pairs of King Penguins call this island home, and walking through, and photographing their packed colonies is without a doubt one of the single greatest wildlife experiences on the planet.   We have three full days to explore, and capture this mountainous, glaciated island. So, stark, but home to such mind-bogglingly abundant and exciting wildlife. All landings will be weather permitting, but we will make every effort to explore the Salisbury Plain. Here lies one of the world’s largest King Penguin colonies. In addition, we plan a landing at St Andrew’s Bay, where an even bigger King Penguin colony exists. On the beaches, one of our special targets of this early season voyage will be to photograph enormous Southern Elephant Seal beachmasters battling for supremacy.   We also plan to visit Grytviken, the whaling station where the largest individual animal known to have lived on earth, a huge Blue Whale specimen, was butchered. Here we will visit the South Georgia Museum, remnants of the whaling station and the grave of the famed Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.   Over 3 million pairs of Macaroni Penguin breed on the island, but are nowhere near as obvious as the Kings.   Our final day features some of the most dazzling scenery yet, especially around the south-east tip of the island; while the stunning Drygalski Fjord is framed by sharp, non-glaciated mountain peaks.  
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Days 10 to 12: At sea towards Antarctica, possibly Elephant Island

Weather and ice will dictate our crossing of the Scotia Sea from South Georgia to Antarctica, leading us perhaps to Elephant Island.   As we cruise south-west towards Antarctica, we cross increasingly polar waters. True Antarctic species become more prominent, but total numbers and diversity will drop. Our informative onboard lectures will continue to provide breaks from the hours of photographing seabirds, whales, dolphins and icebergs. At some point, we will encounter sea-ice, and it is at the ice-edge where we increase our chances capturing high-Antarctic species, such as Snow Petrel, Chinstrap Penguin and the predatory Leopard Seal   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. If conditions and time allow, we will attempt a landing at Point Wild on Elephant Island.
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Days 13 to 16: The Antarctic Sound, Weddell Sea, South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula

Here we will encounter awe-inspiring tabular icebergs, large fragments of the vast Weddell Ice Shelf, and the ice shelves along the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula. At this time of year, we stand a very reasonable chance to find the holy grail of Antarctica, the Emperor Penguin. We will head as far south through the Antarctic Sound into the Weddell Sea as ice conditions will allow. Each mile southwards towards the Emperor colony on Snow Hill Island will improve our chances of finding one of these incredible birds resting on the ice.   We may take our first landing at Paulet Island, a tiny island boasting a huge colony of beautiful Adelie Penguins. Our first steps on the Antarctic continent itself may be at Brown Bluff, where we will be treated to spectacular scenery, colonies of Gentoo and Adelie Penguins. Mammals in this region include Leopard Seal and its favourite prey, Weddell and Crabeater Seals, as well as Antarctic Minke Whale and pods of Orca.   Next, we will head north again to the South Shetland Island chain. Possible landing sites could include Half Moon Island or King George Island, and dazzling wildlife sightings await us on our excursions to these islands. Weather conditions permitting, we will sail the ship into the flooded volcanic caldera of Deception Island. At one or more of these landings, we can expect to find the delicately-patterned Chinstrap Penguin and South Polar Skua.   Later, we will zigzag back through the Bransfield Strait heading south-westwards towards Mikkelsen Harbour and Cierva Cove. In this area, we will enjoy zodiac excursions through the pack ice, marvelling at the myriad of shapes and colours of these ancient formations. We will have plenty photo opportunities and time to experience the scenery and wildlife of this amazing region. We again plan to make landings on the Antarctic continent. The scenery here, from the colossal icebergs to the seemingly endless Antarctic ice-sheet with distant high mountains, is truly breathtaking.   Later, we sail past or maybe even land on the Orne Islands with its large colonies of Chinstrap Penguin and a beautiful view across the Gerlache Strait to Cuverville Island. Cuverville Island is home to the region’s largest Gentoo Penguin colony and most of the region’s breeding bird species.
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Days 17 to 18: At sea in the Drake Passage

Sadly, we will bid farewell to this frozen wonderland and head north through the famous Drake Passage between Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego.
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Day 19: Return to Ushuaia and disembarkation

Today we cruise into the Beagle Channel and land at Ushuaia in the early morning. This provides another chance to see sea and land birds of Tierra del Fuego, before bidding farewell to the fellow travellers with whom we have shared this remarkable voyage of a lifetime

Location

AntarcticaMaurice Taylor, Switzerland

I arrived home safely at midnight on the 16th and was so busy at work that I’m just finding the time now to write to you. I only have positive things to say about the trip, Antarctica was a fantastic experience, Dale was perfect (as always) and the rest of group very easy to get along with.

It’s late in Geneva and I’ll be brief: there is no doubt that I will join another ORYX expedition, I don’t know when, but soon I hope (and with Dale again for sure).

AntarcticaElise Hardy, USA

I recently got back from Antarctica and it was absolutely spectacular. Out of about 10 photographer-guides I’ve traveled with in the past, Dale is the best overall. He’s a wonderful teacher, has almost no ego, and is always concerned about his clients getting great shots. I never fail to be impressed by his talent in photographing animals and landscapes, his technical ability, attention to detail, and aesthetic sensibility. He’s highly attuned to the animals and their behavior, which is one reason why his photos are so successful. My photos are much better when I travel with him.

I loved the Akademik Ioffe ship and staff. The mostly Canadian staff and Russian crew were excellent and exceeded expectations in professionalism and competence. The food was very good, with many courses and options, and different every single day. The cabins were comfortable with stunning antarctic views. The staff planned activities all day long to fill up the downtime days so we were constantly entertained and the 3 weeks flew by. There were other options for Antarctica, but I’m so glad I chose this one and it’s a memory of a lifetime!

AntarcticaMaurice Taylor, Switzerland

In every respect, we truly did have a wonderful time in Antarctica. I do not know where to start… comprehensive and regular communication from the time of our initial enquiry, the friendly tone of all your emails, your promptness in responding to our enquiries, your care and concern.

The experience on Akademik Ioffe: this was our first cruise and it exceeded all expectations. The professionalism and friendliness of all staff, service, amenities, activities, conservation principles, amazing variety and healthy choices at every meal, a surprise birthday cake from Bob for me on 5 January (every birthday was celebrated with a personalised cake with a candle! – so thoughtful), fellow passengers from all ages and stages!

Graham learnt so much from Dale, not only about his camera, but also about new and varied angles for photographing wildlife! This was also our first photographic tour and we look forward to many more. Graham’s passion for birdwatching and photography was more than fulfilled– he has so many amazing shots and our bird count tally was increased by 50 new species!

It is difficult to relate to others what you experience in Antarctica – the stillness, purity, abundance of wildlife, pristineness, the ocean in every shade of blue, the privilege of being there…

I will recommend our overall experience with you all in a heartbeat!

Thank you again for helping us to achieve this bucket list item in such a memorable way.

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