Over a hundred years ago a team of remarkable explorers travelled many hundreds of miles to South Georgia in not much more than a rowing boat in the wrong season. Despite their not inconsiderable hardships they were awe-struck by the beauty of this remarkable island. This dramatic jewel in the South Atlantic has been luring people to its shores ever since that fabled date when Commander Shackleton landed on its Southern shore. Comfort levels may have improved since then but this is still a proper adventure and the luxury trimmings and pampered accoutrements seemingly critical on many svelte vessels will not be evident on the Akademik Sergey Vavilov – the best ship for any itinerary of this sort. In November 2017 one hundred people will again travel there under the stewardship of Paul Goldstein and Chris Packham, to make the very most out of this fascinating island and the Peninsula further South.
Paul says: “For wilderness or photography fans, this expedition is nirvana. There will be plenty of daylight hours which we intend to use, it does not surprise me in the slightest that so many people return to these pristine areas. Six million King penguins can’t be wrong.”
Says Chris: “Frenetic, frenzied, noisy, seemingly active at all hours ….but that’s enough about working with Paul Goldstein, I am utterly thrilled to be going back to South Georgia and Antarctica with him and Exodus. It is the most exciting wildlife destination I know and on board the best ship. Also, being with Paul I know I will, like everyone else, have to store up on some sleep but it will be worth it as he and I, plus one hundred faunal followers, are going to make the very most from this savage wilderness.”
Start Port Stanley, Falkland Islands.
The moment the ship leaves Port Stanley the photographic action starts as birds follow the stern throughout its ocean journey. Those days sailing east are spent honing one’s craft on the ship’s many vantage points with albatrosses, petrels and prions being the favoured targets as they dive and fly sorties above the multi-coloured spray and spume.
At sea approaching the cold-water convergence.Continue at sea.
South Georgia has a fascinating history with the triumvirate of legacies from Shackleton, whaling and the war, however this is a photographic charter and the vast bulk of the time will be spent on the fertile beaches of Salisbury Plain, Gold Harbour, St Andrews Bay, Royal Bay and Elsehul. By law we have to land at Gritvyken and will spend a morning there but no longer. If the weather is kind there will probably be a few other additions to this unscripted itinerary. There is plenty of daylight at the end of November and this expedition plans on using all of it, so be prepared for some very long days. With a ship like the Vavilov and the team of experts on board these five to six days will be remarkable. The principle quarries will be the King penguins, Gentoo penguins, Elephant seals, Giant petrels and albatrosses – millions of them, as well as the dizzying backdrops that make this remote yet savage island perhaps the most breath-taking in the world.
South Georgia – extended landing at Gold Harbour. Continue exploring South Georgia.
South Georgia – extended landing at Royal Bay, late afternoon landing at Gritvyken. Continue exploring South Georgia.
South Georgia – repeat extended landing at one of the large King penguin colonies Continue exploring South Georgia.
South Georgia – landings at Fortuna Bay and Stromness. Continue exploring South Georgia.
Sailing south towards the Antarctic Peninsula. This journey south can be spectacular as it is common to see large tabular icebergs along the way. There may be time for a landing at the Argentine base in the South Orkney Islands before continuing to the Antarctic Peninsula.
Continue sailing towards the Antarctic Peninsula. Final day spent at sea sailing towards the Antarctic Peninsula.
It is impossible to say where exactly we will land on the Antarctic continent and it may even be possible to follow the infamous path of the Endurance into the Weddell Sea down the Eastern Peninsula, ice permitting, or perhaps to sail south through the Lemaire Channel and visit Neko Harbour and Paradise Harbour on the Western side. At this stage of the early season the icebergs are extraordinary, frequently with legions of penguins, be they Adelie or Chinstraps, clinging to their slippery columns and other icy lookout points. Whatever the itinerary, the drill will be similar to that in South Georgia: long days, very early starts and a monstrous assault on every human sense and faculty.
Continue exploring the Antarctic Peninsula.
Final day spent exploring the Antarctic Peninsula.
The first of two days spent sailing back through the Drake Passage.
Leaving the Antarctic Peninsula overnight our ship heads back across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage. The crossing is completed with the rounding of Cape Horn, weather permitting.
Continue sailing back through the Drake Passage.
Continue sailing back through the Drake Passage.
The 7th continent, Antarctica, is for many the ultimate wilderness destination – a pristine area navigable only by small ice-strengthened vessels. Until recently, Antarctica was accessible only to the men and women of meticulously planned pioneering expeditions.However, following strict environmental guidelines, small groups on expedition vessels can now follow in the footsteps of those explorers and navigate through sea-sculpted bergs and groaning, crumbling glaciers to discover sights rarely seen by humanity.During the short summer months the vast pack ice opens and this often harsh and inhospitable environment plays host to one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth.On Exodus’ Antarctic expeditions you’ll be able to explore the remarkable Peninsula, see incredible wildlife and experience remote and rarely visited seas.