South Georgia and Falklands photography expedition

Description of South Georgia and Falklands photography expedition

There may be better places to photograph in the world than South Georgia, perhaps the plains of East Africa when the herds are in full flight, but it is debatable. South Georgia is a combination of staggering scenery: with towering mountains, sparkling hanging glaciers and charcoal volcanic beaches choked with literally millions of King penguins and countless other species.

he legacy of Ernest Henry Shackleton is never far away, this distant South Atlantic faunal stronghold being the final part of his epic journey after the Endurance had become entombed in a crushing and mortal grip of Weddell Sea ice. The most valuable commodity on any Antarctic journey is time and with a spanking new 96 berth vessel specifically designed for these waters, with magnificent facilities and with an impressive top speed, we will be making the most of this fortnight. The Magellan is in a class of its own and perfect for this sort of adventure. This is a photographic expedition which, put simply, aims to utterly maximise every daylight hour in both South Georgia and the Falklands. Weather is a capricious mistress at best in the South Atlantic and therefore we cannot be bound by rigid timetables. Fortunately going this early in the season means very few other vessels. It also means very few Fur seals which can compromise landings later into November. There should be huge Elephant seals competing for beach space, often resulting in violent skirmishes in the surf. Having had to move the clock in the past to enjoy sunrise in the past (honestly) it will be good to enjoy some dawn and dusk. Rest assured there is also plenty of daylight too.

Flying straight into Stanley saves a lot of sea time as most departures leave from Ushuaia and the plan will be to do at least two big Falklands landings as well as some time in the capital Stanley.

For photographers, wilderness fans, and those who have ever dreamed about spending time in this remote backwater, this is a must. Many people travel to the South Atlantic and have their journeys compromised by having to split landings on account of the 100 people maximum. This ship is 96 berth and not this size by co-incidence and the two weeks on board are going to be very exciting if perhaps a little exhausting. Most journeys to South Georgia are on cruise ships allocating maybe three days at best in this fabled faunal nirvana. This almost borders on insult and this expedition (notice the different description please) plans a whole week at least in South Georgia before returning to the fertile Falkland islands. Hundreds of times I have heard people bemoaning the fact they did not have long enough in South Georgia, well, not on this expedition. The colonies of St Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour and Salisbury Plain are the biggest penguin colonies anywhere and need long, extended landings. Despite being a formidable obstacle to their almost crusade-like journey to Stromness whaling station, Worsley, Crean, McNeish and the Boss himself were captivated by this island as you will be .... the comfort levels have improved a little since the James Caird though!

Highlights:

Special photography departure

Travel on the Magellan Explorer, a brand new fast 96 berth expedition vessel

All cabins en suite

Accompanied by lecturers and experienced crew

Plenty of photographic advice and instruction

Flexible itinerary

Extended time and landings in South Georgia and the Falklands

Huge King penguin colonies of St Andrews Bay, Salisbury Plain and Gold Harbour

Witness millions of King penguins, Gentoo and Macaroni penguins, Elephant seals fighting as well as Giant petrels, Cape petrels, skuas and seals

Good possibility of seeing huge grounded icebergs

Early season which means very few other vessels

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Check dates

2021: 2 Oct
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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Reducing Emissions and Waste:
Our eco-conscious approach means we travel to remote and pristine destinations differently than others in the industry. Our vessel burns Marine Gas Oil (MGO) – a clean burning fuel with a low emission factor- and despite being far more expensive, it is the only fuel we consider using. We also reduce consumption and emissions by tailoring our itinerary to operate at a more leisurely pace, rather than going full steam ahead at all times. Our smaller Zodiac landing crafts are more lightweight and nimble and they are powered by low-emission engines as well. We offer a carbon offsetting option for clients and make a collective effort to minimise excess waste on board, disposing of everything on land.

On Board Efforts:
We strictly adhere to all international policies regarding disposal of waste at sea and only use recycled and acid free paper on board and in brochures. Clients are also encouraged to recycle and reduce waste by providing a re-usable water bottle for the trip. Cabins are fitted with eco-friendly amenities and even the laundry is done with green detergents.

Local Sourcing:
We plan to take advantage of local products as a means of boosting communities local to us and reducing our carbon footprint on the whole. This is evident in the meals provided, which are created with sustainability in mind. Seafood, for example, will always be fresh and purchased based on the responsible management of the fishery for each particular species and will observe guidelines similar to the MSC and Audubon Society. Our gift shop only sells items which have been thoroughly researched as to where an item has come from, whether it has been produced fairly, what it is made of and distance it has had to travel.

Charity:
The South Georgia Heritage Trust do conservation work for important historic sites such as the Grytviken church in South Georgia and they run a habitat restoration project for the area. A particular problem for the wildlife, and particularly birdlife, in the area is the threat of foreign species such as rats, which were introduced by whalers over the last two centuries. On each voyage, we conduct passenger auctions and a portion of the money goes towards keeping these threats at bay. This is driven by our ‘leave no trace’ policy, which includes being vigilant with litter disposal and avoiding approaching animals any closer than 5 metres.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Community:
Although this tour is predominantly concerned with dramatic natural landscapes and the many species of whale, penguin, seals and seabirds which inhabit these areas, we try to benefit local people where we can as well. Before we set out in Ushuaia, clients are encouraged to explore and to use local businesses. We also stop at Port Stanley in the Falklands, where we spend a day visiting churches, museums and mingling in the pub. By supporting these small cultural sites and businesses, we are giving necessary income and employment alternatives to some very remote communities.

Staff and Client Preparation:
We have developed a comprehensive staff training and accreditation program which ensures that our staff is fully aware of responsible tourism issues and that they are kept updated with refresher courses. From safety to environmental sustainability, our team of lecturers, specialists and crew are able to pass vital information on clients in briefings. We also send extensive preparatory packs out to every group including guidelines from the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), of which our local operator is a full voting member. We emphasise that the protection of this pristine yet fragile environment and its wildlife is at the forefront of what we do.

Climate

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