Antarctica Wildlife & Photography Expedition

Join BBC Cameraman Tom Crowley on a Photographic Tour to Antarctica

Ushuaia, Argentina

10 days

November 2024

US$ 9,495

Join Secret Atlas on a 10-day in-depth Antarctica Small Ship Expedition with an extended focus on wildlife viewing and photography along the Antarctic peninsula. This expedition is aimed at those wanting to spend the maximum amount of unhurried time ashore observing wildlife and is suited for photographers and wildlife watchers.

For our Antarctic expeditions in 2024, we have selected the ocean-going MV Magellan Explorer which is fitted with a wing stabilising system and a cruise speed of 14 knots to sail across the Drake Passage with as much comfort as possible. The Magellan Explorer also comes equipped with an ice-class PC6 hull and has excellent maneuverability in the pack ice. You will be assured of an intimate wildlife and photography adventure that will be one of the most unique adventures of your lifetime.  Travelling aboard a small ship expedition vessel grants us added flexibility, extended time ashore, and access to landing sites inaccessible to larger cruise ships, enhancing the depth and authenticity of our exploration.

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Expedition Highlights

  • Small group experience – be part of a small group of only 89 guests onboard
  • A rare opportunity to join an in-depth exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula with extended time ashore to view and photograph wildlife.
  • Explore key wildlife sites on the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.
  • Comfortable, and intimate ice-strengthened expedition vessel with sauna.
  • Encounter Antarctica’s wildlife including penguins, fur and leopard seals and whales.
  • This trip gives you the maximum time ashore. All guests can fit in the Zodiacs and land at the same time, so no waiting time.
  • Numerous opportunities to photograph Antartica’s icy and stunning landscapes from the ship and shore.
  • Led by highly experienced expedition leaders and photography guides.
  • Get a refreshing up close perspective of  Antarctica as you kayak through crystal-clear waters surrounded by icebergs and glaciers. (Kayaking is available on this expedition for an additional cost – find details in our dates and prices section below)

Learn From our Knowledgable Guides

An Antarctica Small Ship Expedition comes with knowledgeable guides who are passionate about the region and have a wealth of knowledge about the wildlife, history, and ecology of the region. They can provide you with a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Antarctic ecosystem.

The Voyage

Day 1 Welcome aboard! Depart Ushuaia, Argentina Boarding is set from 15.00 – 16.00hrs local time.

Day 2 – 3 At sea – crossing the Drake Passage

Day 4 – 7 Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula

Day 8 – 9 At sea – sailing back to South America

Day 10 Arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina

* Every Antarctica Small Ship Expedition follows a different route depending on the conditions and opportunities we encounter. The map and itinerary give you an idea of the area we will explore on this expedition.

Antarctica route map

Antarctica Expedition Day by Day

Day 1

Ushuaia, Embarkation

Your journey begins in Ushuaia, Argentina. You may want to stay overnight in one of the cosy hotels in this charming port surrounded by high mountain peaks. Known as the gateway to Antarctica, it sits on the edge of the famed Beagle Channel where Darwin once adventured during his time aboard the HMS Beagle en route to the Galapagos. The town bustles with colourful adventurers, some joining Antarctic Expeditions and others readying for hikes into the rugged Patagonian cliffs. Board your ship and sail along the Beagle Channel towards Antarctica.

Day 2 – 3

Crossing the Drake Passage

We sail towards Antarctica through the renowned passage named after the illustrious Sir Francis Drake, the esteemed 16th-century British explorer. Along the journey towards the South Shetland Islands, immerse yourself in an enriching program featuring lectures and presentations. 

Accompanied by our seasoned guides, observe wildlife from the comfort of the glass-enclosed lounge or the open decks. Keep an eye out for majestic seabirds like albatrosses and petrels, as well as various whale species migrating southward to Antarctica. Upon crossing the Antarctic Convergence, experience a noticeable shift in the environment. Stay vigilant with your camera poised, as this marks the moment to anticipate the appearance of the first icebergs! If you are new to this quest, you may find these first sightings overwhelming for their sheer magnitude of size and the ineffable turquoise colors that grace these floating ice palaces.

Day 4 – 7

Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula

Every Antarctic journey is inherently distinct, with flexibility being the cornerstone of our success. Our Expedition Team tailors the voyage route to maximise the opportunities presented by nature, curating a singular and remarkable experience on each occasion. Though the itinerary evolves with every expedition, highlights of your voyage may encompass visits to renowned sites such as Paulet Island, Hope Bay, Port Lockroy, Petermann Island, Paradise Bay, Deception Island, the Lemaire Channel, as well as many spectacular locations. 

We will begin by cruising between the South Shetland Islands and the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, pushing through ice-filled fords, amongst spectacular icebergs whilst enjoying the company of sea birds, penguins, seals, and whales. 

You can expect an active adventure as we disembark the ship daily by Zodiac, explore the landscape and cruise the coastline. Departure from Antarctica will be in the afternoon or evening of Day 7, depending on weather conditions.

Day 8 – 9

Sailing back to South America

Return northbound crossing the Drake Passage. Enjoy time to relax, watch for wildlife and participate in the presentations offered on Antarctic topics in the lounge.

Day 10

Ushuaia, Disembarkation

When we arrive back at the port of Ushuaia, we say our goodbyes to our newfound friends, sharing a truly unique adventure together.

The above itinerary is a guide only. A part of any Antarctica expedition is the flexibility to take advantage of the weather and ice conditions. Our expedition leader will make sure you see as much as possible.

Inside This Antarctica Expedition

Our trips are aimed at anyone with a passion for exploring Antarctica with a small group of like minded individuals on a comfortable Small Ship Expedition and include:

small expedition ship

Expedition Vessel With 89 Guests

We believe the best way to experience an environmentally sensitive place such as Antarctica is with a small group of travellers. New expedition cruise ships now take up to 350 passengers, we believe smaller is better and that is why we take the smallest group sizes available.

Expedition Leader and Guides

Our guides are the core of what we do and will share their passion and knowledge of Antarctica throughout the trip. We offer the best guest to guide ratio, guaranteeing personalised attention. As part of a Secret Atlas group on board, you’re paired with your own dedicated Secret Atlas guide and photographer for the duration of the expedition, in addition to benefitting from all the expertise specialists onboard.

Zodiac landing craft for shore landings

Shore landings are the essence of every expedition and your guides will take you exploring on a daily basis. The vessel is equipped with 10 landing craft that can be used to reach remote beaches so you can experience the wilderness firsthand. The beauty of a Small Ship Expedition is that everyone onboard can fit in a Zodiac at the same time, so no waiting to go ashore.

Meet Your Guides

Tom Crowley
Photography Guide & Professional Cinematographer

Tom is a true maestro behind the camera! His memorable work on Racer Snakes vs Iguanas in Planet Earth 2 was simply breathtaking and he has gone on to win Emmy and BAFTA awards for his work. 

 

Not only is he a gifted photographer and cinematographer, but Tom’s dedication to wildlife and the ocean is remarkable. His experiences as a marine scientist studying blue and humpback whales, coupled with his time as a polar guide, truly showcase his deep-rooted passion for the natural world.

 

“My personal relationship with nature has been the key driver from early childhood to now; it’s what has guided my decision-making along the way. The relationship is constantly evolving, which naturally drives me down new and interesting avenues. Before, I was far more interested in filming and documenting dramatic spectacles, but now I find myself exploring our disassociation with the natural world and its impact on our well-being and what we can learn from this to live a happier future.”

Read more

Your Ship - MV Magellan Explorer

Guests 89  | Cruising Speed 14knots | Ice Class LR PC6 | Length 91m

Introducing the Magellan Explorer, a remarkable vessel that holds a Polar Class 6 ice rating, making it one of the most advanced expedition ships in Antarctica. What makes it stand out? It caters to a maximum of 89 guests, providing an intimate and personalised journey. 

This ship is more than a mode of transportation; it serves as a sophisticated and modern base for guests, blending expedition expertise with boutique hospitality seamlessly. Notably, the Magellan Explorer offers stability, even in heavy seas, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all onboard. Given the remote locations of many voyages, the ship is equipped with energy-recovery technology, which ingeniously recycles the engine's heat. In turn, this is used to heat up the ship and its water supply, reducing its environmental impact.

Ship Specifications

  • Up to 89 passengers guarantees a very intimate polar experience
  • Built-in accordance with the most recent Polar Code criteria, she’s registered with a Polar Class 6 ice-class (Lloyd’s Register PC6)
  • Stabilizers, bow and stern thrusters, and ice-detecting radar allow for safe and comfortable navigation
  • Equipped with an energy-recovery technology that recycles engine heat to warm up the ship and its water supply
  • 10 Zodiac boats

Ship Cabins

  • Seven different types of accommodations available, including dedicated single cabins
  • Spacious cabins, ranging in size from 40 m2 to 20 m2
  • Private balcony in all suites and most cabins

Crew

  • Excellent quality cuisine and hospitality staff
  • Service-oriented expedition team that deliver considering individual guest interests
  • 6 Expert photography guides 

Facilities 

  • Glass-enclosed observation lounge
  • Sauna and fitness centre on board
  • Bow access to offer the guests proximity to marine wildlife
  • Well-stocked bar and meeting room for briefings and educational events
  • Large dining room that seats all guests and expedition staff at once
  • Library 
  • Gift shop
  • Outdoor protected BBQ area.
See Ship

Antarctica Expedition Dates and Prices

Prices quoted are per person. Twin and double cabins are based on double occupancy.

Antarctica Wildlife and Photography Expedition

14th – 23rd November 2024

Cabin typePersons per cabinPrice per person 
Deluxe Veranda2US$ 9,495 Book

Kayaking is available on this expedition for an additional $950 per guest (limited availability).

Cabins

Type D - Deluxe Veranda Cabin with window

  • 2 twin beds or 1 king-size bed
  • located on Deck 4
  • 22 m2
  • desk and chair, one armchair with side table and private balcony with sitting area, a safe, telephone, hairdryer, selection of snacks restocked daily, mini-bar restocked daily, coffee maker
  • a large private bathroom with separate shower, premium bathroom amenities, bathrobes and slippers

Deck Plan

Deck plan of the MV Magellan

If you have any questions about this Antarctica Expedition please get in touch

Useful Information

50 Interesting Antarctica Facts to Inspire Your Visit

Here are 50 of our favourite facts about Antarctica to help entice you into visiting this beautiful frozen continent. Read More >>
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Wildlife of Antarctica I Animals You can See on an Antarctic Micro Cruise

Antarctica is home to a stunning variety of wildlife from emperor penguins to seals and birdlife. Check out our Antarctica wildlife guide >>
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What Makes a Secret Atlas Small Ship Expedition Unique?

We are obsessed with small group polar exploration and we see low group numbers as the vital ingredient. See what makes our expeditions unique >>
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Antarctica Expedition FAQ

Departure Location Ushuaia, Argentina
Arrival Location Ushuaia, Argentina
Trip Style Exploration
Physical Rating Easy
Maximum Group Size 89
Accommodation Deluxe Veranda
Duration 10 Days
Time of Year November
Included
Not Included

We offer payment via the following methods:

  • Credit card
  • Payment by bank transfer

Please let us know at the time of booking your preferred method.

You have the option to pay in full at time of booking or pay in the following instalments:

30% deposit is taken at the time of booking

30% 6 months before departure

40%  90 days prior to departure

It is mandatory you take out comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking that also covers cancellation.

Solo travellers are welcome on all our voyages. We often host solo travellers, particularly on our photo voyages so the chances are good you won’t be the only one. We offer the following accommodation options:

  • Option to share a twin cabin with another traveller of the same gender.
  • Option to have your own cabin for an additional supplement. Please contact us for this option as the price varies depending on trip and availability.

This trip is operated by a third party and is subject to Secret Atlas terms and conditions of travel. You can read the full booking terms here.

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