South Georgia Island and Antarctic 2014 Polar Photography Expedition

November 3-22, 2014

Expedition Leaders: Andy Biggs and Joshua Holko

Please see our Safaris and Workshops section for more workshop and safari dates.


About The Photographic Expedition

This dedicated photographic expedition departs on the 3rd of November 2014 and returns back to the docks on the 22nd of November 2014. The trip will set sail from Ushuaia, Argentina and will take in the very best of South Georgia Island and Antarctica before docking back in Ushuaia.

The expedition is for a strictly limited number of 50 participants. While most trips to Antarctica take 100+ tourists, this expedition is capped at a maximum of 50 dedicated photographers in order to ensure the best possible experience. We will be using an ice hardened expedition ship with a highly experienced crew in order to ensure we get as close as possible to big ice, as well as to place you in the best locations for making photographs. Our expedition ship is equipped with sufficient zodiacs and crew for all photographers to be shooting simultaneously, with plenty of room to spare for camera equipment. It is going to be a truly spectacular photographic trip for a very limited number of photographers aboard an ice hardened expedition class ship, The Polar Pioneer.

There will be informal talks, image reviews and plenty of opportunity for one-on-one assistance. In addition to the  informal side by side shooting, there will be many of opportunities to discuss all aspects of photography and image making with like-minded individuals. Our emphasis is on photography, personal contact with the environment, wildlife encounters, and visiting sites of historical significance. Your safety is our priority, closely followed by showing you the best Antarctic experience possible.

The below itinerary is a guide. The voyage is expedition-style, and our adventure will be influenced by the prevailing weather and ice conditions. We’ll delight in taking advantage of spontaneous opportunities and there is always an element of the unexpected. Our expedition staff will keep you updated and provide you with daily programs during the voyage.



The Schedule

Please note: The Schedule is subject to change, depending on weather, ice conditions and the movements of other vessels. We strongly advise that you arrive in Ushuaia at least one day prior to our departure.

We wanted to put together a dedicated photography expedition to both South Georgia Island and Antarctica that really gave photographers the best possible opportunity to photograph big icebergs and amazing wildlife. We also wanted to ensure sufficient time in both Antarctica and South Georgia, so this is a custom-built itinerary that has been planned from the ground up to really maximize the opportunities for photography. We have specifically timed our expedition early in the season in order to give us the best opportunities for plenty of icebergs as well as wildlife. The ice and snow at South Georgia Island will be pristine and as yet unvisited by man after the Antarctic winter.

Day 1: Embark Ushuaia South America
After we gather in Ushuaia, and before departure, you will likely have time to explore the bustling community that lays claim to being the world’s most southerly town. It sits beneath the spectacular mountains of Tierra del Fuego on the edge of the Beagle Channel. There are plenty of things to keep you occupied while waiting to board Polar Pioneer at 4pm. You could take a trip to the Lapataia National Park by train or bus, or visit the small museum, which has informative displays about the original inhabitants and the current population of Tierra del Fuego. There are fantastic photographic opportunities around the Andes Mountains where you can take a helicopter ride for some truly spectacular aerial photography. Ushuaia is a duty free port with a reputation for its Argentine chocolates and leather goods, and it is a great place to buy souvenirs and presents. There are a host of excellent restaurants, whether you’re looking for a quick coffee, an excellent meal of king crab, or an Argentine barbecue. After our crew welcomes us aboard Polar Pioneer, we will settle into shipboard life as we sail down the Beagle Channel and enjoy our first meal on board.

The Polar Pioneer is not a luxury ship; she is strong, built to be a research vessel and refitted to comfortable passenger standard in 2001. The mood on board is definitely casual. At sea we are totally self-sufficient. A favorite pastime on board is to stand at the stern watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following in our wake. They rise and fall skillfully, using air currents created by the ship to gain momentum.

Day 2: At Sea
At sea, albatross, plunging dolphins and flighty petrels mesmerize us, our photography program begins and special briefings prepare us for landings.

Day 3: Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands’ Camp life gives way to elephant seals, penguins, sea lions and an astounding mix of water- birds. Our Zodiacs offer plenty of room for camera gear.

Day 4: Falkland Islands
Stanley, the Falklands undeniably British capital, features an excellent war museum, welcoming shops and pubs.

Days 5&6: At Sea
We cross the Scotia Sea, entertained by our expert naturalists and historians, review photographs and prepare for shooting in South Georgia.

Days 7-11: South Georgia Island
Spring brings an explosion of life to South Georgia and we have ample time to explore and photograph the island’s spectacular northern coast. We visit wildlife havens that include the world’s largest king penguin rookeries, majestic albatross nests and beaches cluttered with basking elephant seals, feisty fur seals and penguins. Inspired by Shackleton’s epic, we hope to retrace the expedition’s final steps from Fortuna Bay to Stromness.


Days 12 & 13: Scotia Sea
We cross the Scotia Sea, watch seabirds, our first iceberg and great whales including blues, fin and sei. We have time to reflect on South Georgia and prepare for Antarctica, the next leg of our adventure.

Days 14:
Conditions permitting, we approach Cape Wild, a bleak, rocky spit along Elephant Island’s dramatic north coast. If sea state allows, we’ll Zodiac cruise, possibly even step ashore, to pay tribute to Shackleton’s 22 men who survived four months here.

Days 15-17:
We hope to land in the South Shetland Islands before sailing down Gerlache Strait and awaken to the drama of Antarctica – a photographer’s paradise! We encounter pack ice and penguin rookeries alive with courtship, mating and nest-building, visit historic sites and land on the continent proper.

Days 18-19:
Return to the realm of the albatross – the Drake Passage. We celebrate, recap our many experiences and learn to manage our abundant collection of new photos.

Day 20:
Dawn greets us in the Beagle Channel. We bid farewell and continue onward travel, or stop in Ushuaia.

Fitness Requirements
This voyage is suitable for people of a wide range of ages and physical abilities. You are free to participate in whichever activity you choose. Less mobile clients are given the choice to land if they wish. If you decide to land, there are plenty of willing arms to lean on. If you require special assistance, please discuss this with one of our Expedition Experts at time of booking. Passengers on our voyage to Antarctica should to be capable of walking up and down the ship’s gangway – equivalent to walking up and down a steep set of stairs (at times, the ship may be pitching and rolling), getting in and out of zodiacs with assistance from our staff, making their way across rock surfaces which can be wet and slippery at times, and walking on snow and ice.




The Cost

Prices quoted are in US Dollars, per person, twin share. Single Occupancy is 1.7 times the twin share price. No single supplement applies if you are willing to share your cabin (triple and twin cabins only). Deposit to secure your place is $1,250 with balance not due until 90 days before date of departure. Please note that due to initial expressions of interest and registrations, there are only limited places remaining. Some Cabin types are already sold out.

• Triple Share Cabin $13,660 per person
• Twin Share Cabin $16,200 per person
• Twin Private $18,900 per person
• Mini-Suite $20,700 per person
• Captain’s Suite $21,900 per person

Payment Terms
A deposit of $1250 must be paid at time of registration to secure your place, with the balance due 90 DAYS prior to the expedition commencement. All payments are made directly to the expedition charter company.

Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, or wildlife migrations) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.

What's Included?

· Accommodation on board the Polar Pioneer and use of all public areas.
· All meals on board.
· All Photography guide services
· All sightseeing, shore excursions, and zodiac rides as required for the cruise itinerary.
· All port landing service charges imposed by local administrations and government authorities. · Lectures, DVDs, slide and film shows on board.
· Service of the vessel's expedition staff.
· Basic attention and treatment by the ship's medical staff. · Pre-departure information and briefing.

What is Not Included?

· Air or land transportation to/from ship
· Excess baggage on any flights.
· Vaccination costs / passport / visa fees (if required), airport departure tax, noise levy tax, government taxes. · Items of personal nature, laundry, bar charges, phone calls, cable / fax charges, etc.
· Tips to on board service personnel.
· Any travel or personal insurances or emergency evacuation charges.
· Any hotels, meals, transfers or other services before or after the cruise.
· Any medication or treatments by the ship's medical staff other than basic day-to-day necessities.
· Please note that travel insurance is mandatory

What Do I Do Next?

If this exciting expedition has your name on it; if you're excited by the thought of becoming a member of this trip, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this trip. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to