Antarctica | Photography | Adventure

Epic Antarctica
December 2020

Epic Antarctica December 2020

Crossing the Antarctic Circle via Falklands & South Georgia.

Join Les for a photographer’s dream adventure! Yes, this journey is a guaranteed sticker shock generator, but the rewards of this bucket list trip are more than worth it.

Unlike 7, 10 or 14 day Antarctic trips, where excursions are few and rushed, this is the 23-day journey is a picture-taking marvel from beginning to end, with a cherry on top… crossing the Antarctic Circle!

Photograph many species of penguins, elephant seals, leopard seals, whales and the iconic icebergs that will make memories - and gorgeous prints - for a lifetime. Our landings on the Falklands, South Georgia Island and elsewhere will present you with photographic opportunities available nowhere else on Earth. The Antarctic is truly the last great frontier.

On this diverse expedition, you’ll experience the spectacular flora and fauna of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) before immersing yourself in the unique history and exquisite, rare wildlife of South Georgia.

Whether you’re visiting Antarctic research stations, witnessing a sudden minke whale breach from your Zodiac, sharing a magical moment with king penguins or celebrating crossing the Antarctic Circle with like-minded travelers and crew, you’ll know this experience will live on in you forever.

Expedition in Brief

  • Learn about Antarctica’s unique geology, history and wildlife from Quark’s expert team of lecturers
  • See the incredible wildlife — more than 30 species of breeding birds, including four species of penguin — of South Georgia, often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles
  • Follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s perilous voyages to Antarctica and visit his gravesite on South Georgia island
  • Explore the quaint British town of Stanley in the Falkland Islands
  • Cross the Antarctic Circle
  • Rely on the experience and expertise of Les to guide you photographically through the challenges you may face

Expedition Itinerary

DAY 1 | ARRIVE IN USHUAIA, ARGENTINA

Your gateway for this expedition is Ushuaia, Argentina. Nestled within the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, Ushuaia has a small-town feel yet boasts many shops, museums, cafés and restaurants that you can enjoy before your voyage. If you’re feeling adventurous, the nearby national park and Martial Glacier offer plenty of outdoor activities, such as hiking and scenic photography.

DAY 2 | EMBARKATION DAY

As you embark, the anticipation grows. Trade your land legs for sea legs, meet and greet your fellow travelers and get acquainted with your ship. Since every Antarctic adventure presents new opportunities and experiences, embarkation day is just as exciting for your Expedition Team as it is for you. On board to ensure your comfort and safety, your team will also help make your wildlife dreams come true. Les will help you prepare for each day’s photographic opportunities.

DAY 3 | AT SEA

Your days at sea are filled with presentations and lectures led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between presentations, take advantage of the great photography available while under sail. Or, feel free to relax and spend time chatting with your shipmates over a drink at the bar.

DAYS 4 & 5 | FALKLAND ISLANDS (ISLAS MALVINAS)

Upon your arrival in the Falklands, your camera will get its first real workout capturing the abundant wildlife and rugged feel of this subantarctic region. The archipelago contains two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, which you will explore during daily Zodiac excursions and landings. Stanley, also known as Port Stanley, is often a favored landing site, as the town offers a unique British outpost feel, complete with eclectic charm. You’ll be free to explore, grab a pint at the local pub or photograph at numerous churches and museums.

The Archipelago is rich in wildlife, especially birds, and home to Magellanic, gentoo and rockhopper penguins. If you’re lucky, you may even spot king penguins here as well! You can expect to see black-browed albatross, plus two endemic bird species — Cobb’s wren and the flightless Falkland steamer duck. Your team of lecturers and specialists will be sure to educate you on the local flora and fauna, making the most out of your time in the Falklands. Les will accompany you on each excursion.

DAYS 6 & 7 | AT SEA

Sailing southeast to South Georgia, you’ll officially enter Antarctic waters once you cross the Antarctic Convergence, an invisible biological boundary encircling the continent. This meeting of oceans, where the cold Antarctic waters mix and mingle with the warmer waters of the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, is what creates the abundance of krill that attracts whales and seals to this part of the world. Your Expedition Team will notify you when you cross this invisible yet important line, and also look out for the seabirds and marine life that frequent the area. Photo opps abound!

DAYS 8–11 | SOUTH GEORGIA

This remote outpost was a popular stop for many historic Antarctic expeditions and was once a haven for hunting whales and elephant and fur seals. Today, island wildlife populations have rebounded, but you’ll still see remnants of old whaling stations and other abandoned outposts, which make for outstanding images.

One significant and historic site is the grave of the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. You can visit his grave at the settlement of Grytviken, which is also home to an old whaling station, plus a museum, gift shop, church and small research station. Although South Georgia’s history is an important attraction to the island, it is the wildlife that you and your shipmates will surely find most captivating. Each landing you make on South Georgia, often referred to as the Galapagos of the Poles, will open your eyes to a new wonder of enthralling creatures. One day you may see rookeries with hundreds of thousands of pairs of king penguins waddling on a beach, and the next, you may visit another beach dotted with hundreds of fur or elephant seals. The grasses, mountains and beaches of South Georgia all play an important role in the breeding and survival of different species on the island. This fragile and interwoven relationship is something your Expedition Team will explain to you during your time here. South Georgia will also eat up your storage cards, so make sure you bring enough with you!

DAYS 12 & 13 | AT SEA

Say goodbye to the king penguins, as your next destination is the actual Antarctica continent! Your days at sea are filled with presentations, lectures and workshops led by your Expedition Team, who will prepare you for the wildlife that will greet you upon your arrival. In between activities, you will want to use you time to download and post-process your images. We will also meet as a group for discussion and critique on a voluntary basis.

DAYS 14–16 | SOUTH SHETLAND ISLANDS & ANTARCTIC PENINSULA

The experience is hard to put into words, but the most common reaction upon reaching the White Continent is a sense of reverence and awe. You will discover that Antarctica is a land of extremes: at one moment you’ll be overcome with a feeling of complete silence and loneliness; the next, you’ll be laughing at the comical antics of a curious penguin. Zodiac cruising, visits to historical sites and, of course, communing with seals and penguins are sure to keep you smiling every day. Perhaps you’ll catch sight of the fearless penguin eater, the leopard seal, or maybe you’ll come eye to eye with a curious minke whale or orca while you are cruising in a Zodiac. Each day and each landing will present a new collection of creatures to delight you and keep your camera busy. If you find yourself wanting more, treat yourself to an optional kayaking adventure or a plunge into Antarctic waters!

DAYS 17 & 18 | ANTARCTIC CIRCLE

Crossing the Antarctic Circle is an impressive achievement, as few expeditions reach so far south. If conditions allow us to cross this famed line, we’ll toast the first explorers who ventured here, and you can raise a glass to toast and take pride in knowing you’ve made it to a part of the world visited by very few people. This is raw Antarctica, home of the midnight sun, and fantastic iceberg sightings.

DAYS 19 & 20 | NORTHBOUND ALONG THE PENINSULA

If you haven’t had your fill of Antarctic wildlife and icebergs by now, you’ll surely be satisfied by the time you return to the Drake Passage. You will continue to journey onto land by Zodiac as you travel north along the western Antarctic Peninsula. Your Expedition Team will always be on the lookout for species of penguins, seals and whales that may have eluded you on your journey south.

DAYS 21 & 22 | CROSSING THE DRAKE PASSAGE

After more than three weeks of memorable wildlife encounters, your journey home begins. Crossing the Drake is your unofficial rite of passage, putting a final stamp of approval on your Antarctic adventure.

DAY 23 | DISEMBARKATION IN USHUAIA

After breakfast aboard the ship, it is time to part ways and say goodbye to your Expedition Team. Airport transfers will be provided for those departing on the first homeward flights. Other guests will be transferred to town.

Important notes

Les has arranged for a dedicated Zodiak just for our 8-member group (all other Zodiaks hold 10). It will allow us more room to photograph as we cruise amongst ice floes, icebergs, and endemic wildlife. This perk is exclusive to our group and makes an enormous difference in terms of capturing those fleeting images.

Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy - and excitement - of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.

Fee

Twin (Obstructed View) Double Occupancy USD $19,956
Twin Window Double Occupancy USD $20,936
Dedicated Single USD $24,456

This expedition includes

  • One night pre-expedition hotel accommodation with breakfast.
  • Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping.
  • All breakfasts, lunches and dinners on board throughout your voyage.
  • All shore landings per the daily program.
  • One Zodiak for our 8-member group
  • Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Leader.
  • All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program.
  • Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled.
  • Photographic Journal, documenting the voyage.
  • A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings.
  • An official Quark Expeditions parka to keep.
  • Coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock.
  • Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin.
  • Comprehensive pre-departure materials, including a map and an informative Antarctic Reader.
  • A group transfer upon disembarkation in Ushuaia from the ship to the local airport.
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program.
  • All luggage handling aboard ship.
  • Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person.

This expedition excludes

  • Any airfare unless otherwise specified in the itinerary.
  • Passport and visa expenses.
  • Government arrival and departure taxes.
  • Any meals ashore with the exception of breakfast at the host hotel before embarkation
  • Baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance.
  • Excess baggage charges.
  • Laundry, bar, beverage and other personal charges unless specified.
  • Telecommunications charges.
  • The voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew.

Date
Friday, Dec 18, 2020 08:00
Thru
Saturday, Jan 9, 2021 08:00
Deposit
500
Total Price
$19,956
Notes
Antarctica! The ultimate photo trip bucket list. $19,956 or $20,936 per person double occupancy, or $24,456 single occupancy. Payment schedule as follows- after initial $500 deposit on our website, you will immediately be billed $8,500, to be paid by check. Final payment is due on May 15, 2020. Deposits are refundable on a decreasing schedule; 100% by September 30, 2019; 50% by December 31, 2019, and 25% by February 28, 2020. Final payments, due on May 15, 2020, are not refundable. All costs are in U.S. dollars.