This truly iconic photographic expedition takes us to some of the world’s last pristine wildernesses as we explore the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Shetlands and, finally, the fabled White continent itself. On this journey we will be treated to spectacular vistas, hauntingly beautiful icebergs and the planet’s greatest concentrations of marine birds and wildlife.
Once aboard our comfortable expedition cruise ship, we will depart from Ushuaia (the world’s southernmost city) for the Falklands. This windswept archipelago is home to a handful of sheep farmers and a British military base, but is most famous amongst naturalists for its sub-Antarctic wildlife. Our visit will include the charming capital, Port Stanley, but the bulk of our time will be spent exploring the impressive seabird colonies of the remote outer islands. We can expect to see and photograph Rockhopper, Gentoo and Magellanic Penguin rookeries, and colonies of regal Black-browed Albatross and Blue-eyed Shags. Mammals are also a feature and, with a bit of luck, we will encounter South American Sea Lion and the attractive Commerson’s Dolphin.
Thereafter, we steam to the breathtakingly beautiful island of South Georgia. This rugged island boasts mighty glaciers, snow-covered mountains, deep fjords and several stunning emerald green bays. We will also explore the village of Grytviken, formerly a whaling station, giving us an insight into the once thriving yet appalling industry that once existed here. On the island we will have the opportunity to photograph vast, crowded nesting colonies of the magnificent King Penguin, the world’s second largest Penguin species, in addition to colonies of Macaroni Penguins and nesting sites of the exquisite Light-mantled and regal Wandering Albatrosses. Huge Southern Elephant Seals dominate the beaches and Antarctic Fur Seals abound, offering fantastic photographic opportunities.
After our mind-boggling experiences in South Georgia, we then set sail for the remote South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. If sea conditions allow, we will land at Elephant Island en route to the Shetlands. This island is best known as the refuge site of Shackleton’s crew who, in 1916, were stranded here for four entire months. Colonies of Gentoo, Adelie and Chinstrap Penguins also inhabit the island, and once again we will find ourselves clicking away at these amusing and endearing creatures.
Our voyage then takes us through the Bransfield Strait until we finally set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula at the aptly named Paradise Bay. Further penguin colonies will entertain us here, while Antarctic Terns and elegant Snow Petrels hover overhead, and Snowy Sheathbills scavenge the seal and penguin rookeries. We will also navigate the Lemaire Channel, one of the most spectacular waterways known to man. This is a narrow passage between sheer cliffs that plummet directly into the sea, and landscape photographic opportunities of towering icebergs and magnificently sculpted sea ice are second to none.
Here we will also visit Deception Island, an active volcano situated off the Antarctic Peninsula. After landing at Whaler’s Bay, we disembark and walk to the world’s largest rookery of Chinstrap Penguins, with an estimated 100,000 breeding pairs, a real photographic paradise! Thereafter we begin our return across the Drake Passage. These waters offer some of the world’s most exciting seabird photography and should produce numerous albatross species, giant petrels, diving petrels, shearwaters and prions – even the legendary Emperor Penguin is a possibility. Finally, we disembark at Ushuaia, with the splendor of the Antarctic no doubt deeply embedded in our memories – and our memory cards.
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Antarctica Antarctica Leisure Pursuit Photography and Videography Wildlife Viewing