South Georgia: the ultimate wildlife photo tour, 17 November – 8 December 2018

We invite you to join our unique expedition on “Aurora” yacht to the amazing South Georgia island.  The number of people is strictly limited – only 8 photographers for this beautiful part of our expedition. The schedule of the trip constructed for purposes of photography and filming. Our timetable is more or less free, but we have ambitions to go around South Georgia island.

The main goal is to shoot beautiful and untouched wild nature world of South Georgia the “ecological way”, by yacht – not scaring animals. We’ll work out our everyday timetable taking into account ice situation and weather. Imagine to be in South Georgia face to face, without crowds and queue for zodiac boats focusing mainly on photography and exploration. The spirit of adventure and exploration will be with us all along our way. Most cruise ships take hundreds of photographers. My approach is different: when I visit remote location, I try to get most out of this project. We will spend around 2 weeks time sailing and walking ashore in many beautiful locations of South Georgia. Currently no cruise ship can propose you this deal.

We have all necessary permits and documents to officially visit South Georgia and Antarctica. We are members of IAATO organization. The yacht is equipped with modern safety systems.

We are fascinated by the rich wildlife or the beauty of the unspoiled South Georgia island natural environment. South Georgia island sea life includes penguins, blue whales, orcas, Humpback, Minke and Fin Whale, colossal squids and fur seals. The emperor penguin is the only penguin that breeds during the winter in Antarctica, while the Adélie penguin breeds farther south than any other penguin. The rock-hopper penguin has distinctive feathers around the eyes, giving the appearance of elaborate eyelashes. King penguins, chinstrap penguins, and Gentoo penguins also breed in South Georgia. Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins are the most common at the peninsula. The Orca or Killer Whale is also seen in this area. There are many seals. The Leopard Seal is a predator of penguins and other seals. Seals can leave the water and move on dry land to breed, rest and molt. Marine inhabitants endemic to this ecosystem outnumber and (in respect to biodiversity) surpass well-known regions such as the Galápagos.

The advantages of traveling by arctic class yacht are obvious: big cruises are enormously expensive (more than $10,000 usually), the yacht is more mobile. We can listen to every participant’s opinion what is difficult in a team of 50-100 people on board. Imagine how you will disembark to the land with diverse wildlife in such a crowd!

Big ships can scare away the animals and can’t be as mobile as we are. The yacht has both rigs and a motor. Moreover, we have a quick and maneuver “Zodiac” which can be launched at any moment to get closer to the animals or to go ashore. Safety measures’ questions are paid special attention: satellite phone, navigational system and ice maps.

Besides, mass tourism is a major ecological problem for the South Georgia. Imagine what will happen in case of the cruise ship will have a fuel leakage? We are traveling ecological way, and you will listen to a sound a silence of the animal continent while our sails will be filled with the fresh wind.

Yacht Aurora

Specially built vessel for Arctic adventures, steel hull. Cabins with bunk beds – 2 separate beds per cabin (lower bed could be used as double for couples).  We’ve remastered this yacht in 2017, so it still shines with new paint. Among facilities:

        • Comfortable kitchen with living room
        • Fresh water from desalinator
        • Washing machine
        • Full day electricity 220 V supply to charge your batteries
        • 2 bathrooms with shower
        • services of cook on board
        • sauna!
        • modern safety/navigation systems

“Aurora” yacht is an arctic class yacht with a steel hull equipped with modern navigation system. You can use the kitchen with sitting area, two separate WC, shower. The yacht’s team is 4 or 5 professional sailors + 8 photographers on board. There is one zodiac (a motor boat) on the yacht. There are 220 V constantly operating sockets, freshwater supplies (700 + 200 liters) and distiller. We organize Greenland photo tours with “Peter-1” since 2015  and tested “Aurora” this year at Svalbard and Greenland. Several years ago the team set a world record and went on the Arctic circumnavigation in one season. The same team will serve the photo expedition to South Georgia

“Aurora”  is a very solidly built ship. Literally it’s made of steel. The ship is fitted out for worldwide sailing and has all the safety certificates and permissions required under worldwide requirements for visiting Antarctica. 4-5 experienced, professional members of the crew will ensure the our safe operation. Our safety equipment include life jackets, life raft, fire extinguishing equipment, a stock of medicine, EPIRB and radar transponder. “Aurora” navigation and communication equipment includes radar, a compass, a satellite navigation system, an echo sounder, a sextant, SSB transmitter, Inmarsat-C terminals, an Iridium Satellite telephone, VHF transmitter.

“Aurora” has a zodiac with outboard fast engine. The drinking water capacity is 750 litres in permanent tanks + distliller. Food stores will be taken on board before our departure in Ushuaia. We will also take on board 1000 litres of diesel to fuel the heater, the generator and the main engine. The ship has a power supply of 220V AC (50 Hz). Plugs on board are European style, two pins.

Our schedule is based on weather, ice conditions and safety precautions. We have the following goal to reach:

 

Day 1, 17 November,  Saturday

Meeting together in Port Stanley, at Falkland islands. Depending on the weather we might start the journey this day or next morning, to catch the weather window. We are flexible within 3 days to start and finish the journey. Please note that all flights are scheduled only 1 time per week on Saturdays. You will need to take LATAM flight from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Mount Pleasant (Falklands). Duration of the flight is 2:40 h. The whole group will have the same flight unless you want to spend a week at Falklands before or after the expedition.

Day 2

Today we start our great adventure to the South Georgia. We cast off our mooring lines and sail towards the “Animal island”. Our crew will give your safety instructions. Please take in consideration that we can wait for 2-3 days if the weather will not permit us to go the passage. We monitor online winds and storms to avoid them.


Days 3, 4

This open sea passage is famous for it’s  winds and waves. Our experience crew will guide the yacht safely. You do not need experience in yachting to join the trip. It will take around 4 days one way to cross from Falklands to South Georgia.


Day 5

We arrive at South Georgia island and start to explore it’s beauty. The tour is mainly constructed for animal and landscape photographers giving the maximum opportunities to shoot diverse wildlife of this amazing island. We will disembark as much as the time affords us within our small group of 8 photographers.
Please note that those pictures used for the announce were made in Greenland. I wasn’t at South Georgia myself yet, but I did a comprehensive research.

Day 19

We finish our journey at Falkland islands. This place has beautiful nature as well as Antarctica. We have a few days to explore Falklands by ourselves taking optional excursions.
The flight to South America is scheduled to Saturday. But please mention that we have these 3 days as a window to cross the passage to South Georgia in a calm sea and good weather. So all hotels should be booked at Falklands themselves upon arrival. You can also stay on the yacht until 8 December.


Day 21, 8 December

2 days after, on Saturday, we can fly from the Mount Pleasant Airport or Port Stanley Airport (flights are scheduled only on saturdays, once per week) to South America.


Pricing:

Total price: 11500 USD per person
Maximum Number of Participants: 8

Deposit

A deposit of US$3,500 is required at time of booking to hold your spot. The first part of balance of US$4,000 is due on June 17, 2018. The second part of balance US$4000 is due to September 17, 2018

Cancellations

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time the following are nonrefundable:

180 days or more before departure: 100% of deposit

179 to 121 days before departure: 100 % of deposit + 50% of balance

120 or fewer days before departure: 100% of trip fee

Insurance

We require proof of trip insurance to cover emergency medical care and evacuation for the duration of the expedition, as well as trip cancellation insurance. We are not responsible for air ticket cancellations or equipment loss, so please insure your flights and equipment.


Included in the price:

– Accommodation and transportation by yacht
– All meals (except alcohol)
– Instruction and master classes by professional guide
– Professional crew of arctic sailors
– Zodiac boat services
– Fuel
– Port taxes and fees
– Natural reserve fees


Not included in the price:

– Airfare to and from Falklands
– Visas (if applicable)
– Accommodation & meals on land (Falklands) before and after the expedition – optional
– Airport transfers


What to bring

Gear:
– DSLR camera with tripod and remote shutter release
– A wide angle lens. For example, Nikkor 14-24 or Canon 17-40. Best lens for use in wide-angle scenes or architecture photography
– A middle-zoom lens such as a 24-70 mm
– A telephoto zoom lens, such as a 70-200 mm. 300 mm with 1.5 TC or 500 mm, 600 mm are recommended for wildlife and bird photography. Be sure to have additional tripod mount to this lens.

Wear:
– Waterproof and windproof jacket
– Waterproof pants
– Warm jacket and thermal pants
– Wellingtons or fishing boots

The full list will be sent by mail to participants.

Tour leaders

Daniel Kordan

Daniel was born in Moscow area. In his childhood he graduated the art school. After that, he is studied in Moscow institute of Physics and Technology and became an optics physicist. During the study he gain experience not only in physics, but also in mountain climbing and hiking, guiding tourist groups in winter and in summer in Russian mountains. Right after graduation he became a guide of photo-workshops and chief editor of “Continent expedition” magazine. This magazine is about travel and adventures all over the world. He has got several awards in photography: Golden Turtle’ 13 Nature nomination winner, National Geographic Russia contest 2013 and 2014 finalist, Best of Russia’13 and ’14 winner, best photographer’13 finalist and others. He is spending most of his time in Norway, Lofoten islands and in Tuscany at villa Gaia, guiding groups of photographers.