In December of 2010, I had the honour and privilege of visiting Antarctica for the first time. It was an unbelievable experience and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to take this 3 week trip.
On our way to the Antarctic Peninsula, we stopped for 5 days at someplace very special – the island of South Georgia. Prior to this trip, I did not know much about South Georgia other that it was a British Overseas Territory and that in the early twentieth century, it was home several (now abandoned) whaling stations. It is within the Antarctic Convergence in the southern ocean which means that is a Sub-Antarctic island.
In general, I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to see many places in my lifetime. But nothing could prepare me for how lovely South Georgia was – it is the most beautiful place I have ever visited.
Not only is the landscape stunning, most of the island is untouched by humans and is one of the few unspoiled places on the planet where the wildlife (and there is plenty of it) is not afraid of man. It is simply a nature and wildlife photographer’s paradise.
I recently had the opportunity to visit South Georgia again. Could a
photographer guy get any luckier? Most trips like this are usually once in a lifetime opportunities… and here I was going to get to do it twice!
My first trip to Antarctica/South Georgia was with Quark Expeditions (an American/Canadian company) – this time, I was going to be traveling to South Georgia with Oceanwide Expeditions (based in The Netherlands) aboard their ship, the MV Plancius. Both Quark and Oceanwide offer excursions that feature South Georgia only, but only once or twice each year.
We were to board the MV Plancius at Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, which is not an easy place to get to. From North America, you first need to fly to Santiago, Chile to catch a charter flight to Mount Pleasant Airport (also the British military base) in the Falkland Islands. From there, you spend about 90 minutes on a bus which takes you to the harbour where you then board the ship for your 3 day voyage to South Georgia.
The charter flight from Santiago to Mount Pleasant was included in the ship’s fare which meant I only had to make it to Santiago and stay overnight to catch the charter the next morning. I must say this made travel planning a lot easier than my previous voyage.
I struggled with writing this post as I did not want it to be a comparison of Quark vs. Oceanwide as each company has its own strengths. If you are interested in finding out which company I would recommend over the other, feel free to email me.
I will also be discussing (in a separate post) the equipment I used on this trip – but in a nutshell, it is the same kit (Nikon D3) I took last year except I substituted the micro four thirds camera with my Fujifilm X100 and brought my Macbook Air instead of an iPad.
Here are a small number of the 3,000+ images that I captured during my recent 13 day visit to South Georgia. As I mentioned earlier, it is such a beautiful and magical place – I hope the images speak for themselves (press play to start the slideshow) and inspire you to visit sometime.
I often get questions (about 5-6 per week) from people who are traveling to Antarctica – everything from what to wear to what camera gear to bring. I have many detailed posts about our 2010 Antarctic voyage that contains this information, however, I will be writing a new series of articles in the next few weeks that describe all of preparations one needs for a voyage to Antarctica.
So, stay tuned and check back soon if you are planning to visit Antarctica.
BTW, you can view a larger collection of images from both of my Antarctic expeditions by visiting my Antarctica gallery.
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