South Georgia & Antarctica Photo Tour With Paul Goldstein

Join the adventure of a lifetime on MV Magellan Explorer

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

20 Days

October, November

Price from US$ 14,995

‘Shackleton’s Footsteps’ is a photo expedition led by Paul Goldstein, an award-winning wildlife photographer, and guide. The expedition retraces the steps of the famous Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, who led the ill-fated Endurance expedition in 1914-1916.

This expedition takes participants on a 20-day journey across the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic Peninsula, stopping at various locations where Shackleton and his crew made their own stops during their journey. Along the way, participants have the opportunity to capture stunning landscapes and wildlife, including penguins, whales, and seals.

The expedition is designed for photography enthusiasts and offers plenty of opportunities to hone your skills, with expert guidance from renowned wildlife photographer and guide Paul Goldstein, which can provide you with an added level of expertise and insight.

‘Shackleton’s Footsteps’ is a unique and exciting expedition that offers participants the chance to follow in the footsteps of one of the greatest explorers of all time and capture stunning photographs of one of the most remote and beautiful places on Earth.

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Introduction

Join us on a 20-day small ship expedition cruise with just 73 guests in total, as you embark on a journey from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia and the Antarctic peninsula.

The MV Magellan Explorer offers the highest levels of comfort on a small ship in Antarctica. Guests can enjoy a modern purpose built expedition vessel with large cabins, a gym and outstanding cuisine.

Expedition Highlights

  • The tour guarantees that every possible daylight hour is maximized with early starts and long days, providing participants with the best lighting conditions and more time spent in the field.
  • Our guests receive expert guidance and instruction from Paul Goldstein, a renowned wildlife photographer and guide, which can provide passengers with an added level of expertise and insight.
  • The Magellan Explorer is considered to be one of the best in its class for Antarctic and sub-Antarctic expeditions.
  • Superb facilities and cuisine, as well as new and experienced staff.
  • Starting the photographic expedition in the Falkland Islands saves time by avoiding a two-day sail from Ushuaia, Argentina, to reach the Antarctic Peninsula or South Georgia.
  • Early season means there are fewer vessels operating in the region, which makes this photo tour an excellent choice for those who want to avoid the crowds and experience a more personalized tour.
  • The ship’s size allows for greater flexibility in terms of itinerary planning, as it can access areas that larger ships cannot.
  • Passengers on the Magellan can spend more time ashore, exploring the stunning landscapes and wildlife, which is not always possible on larger ships.
  • During the early season, the ice formations can be especially stunning and haunting, as Antarctica experiences its coldest temperatures and the ice takes on unique shapes and colors.

Learn and Develop New Photography Skills

Our photo guide Paul Goldstein offers assistance where required to help you improve your skills and get the best images possible. Where time allows tutorials will be carried out onboard, but the emphasis is always on maximising time outside in the field.

Our expedition team has extensive experience in South Georgia and Antarctica and will seek out the optimal places for photography based on the conditions.

The Voyage

Day 1 Welcome aboard! Embarkation in Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

Day 2 Exploring Saunders Island and Carcass Island

Day 3 Landing at Bleaker Island

Days 4 – 5 At Sea, Heading to South Georgia

Day 6 Exploring Elsehul Bay and Right Whale Bay

Day 7 Visit Grytviken and Fortuna Bay / Stromness

Day 8 Landing at Gold Harbour and exploring Cooper Bay

Day 9 Exploring St Andrews Bay and Ocean Harbour

Day 10 Visit Prion Island and Salisbury Plain

Days 11 – 12 At Sea, Heading to Elephant Island

Day 13 Exploring Elephant Island

Days 14 – 17 Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

Days 18 – 19 At Sea, Heading back to Ushuaia

Day 20 Arrival in Ushuaia and disembarkation

Antarctica and South Georgia cruise map

Photo Expedition Day by Day

Day 1

Join MV Magellan Explorer in Port Stanley

You will be picked up by a shuttle at the Port Stanley Airport and taken into town. Before boarding the ship, there will be opportunity to explore Port Stanley.

Port Stanley is a small town with a population of around 2,000 people. It is known for its colorful houses, historic landmarks, and charming seaside atmosphere. Visitors to Port Stanley can explore attractions such as the Christ Church Cathedral, the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust, and the Battle Memorial.

In the afternoon you will embark the MV Magellan Explorer.

Day 2

Exploring Saunders Island and Carcass Island

Saunders Island is known for its beautiful long white-sand beach, which provides a stunning backdrop for the wildlife that can be found there. You can expect to see a variety of bird species, including rockhopper penguins, nesting black-browed albatrosses, and sub-Antarctic gentoo penguins.

In the afternoon, you will visit Carcass Island, which offers a different type of experience. The island is known for its easy hiking trails and the opportunity to observe a variety of bird species in their natural habitats. You may also have the chance to visit a local settlement. Whether you are interested in wildlife, hiking, or cultural experiences, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Day 3

Landing at Bleaker Island

Bleaker Island is located in the Falkland Islands and is known for its stunning natural beauty and abundant birdlife. The island is a natural reserve, and visitors can expect to see a wide variety of bird species in their natural habitats. In the afternoon, you will be heading to South Georgia, which is located further south in the Atlantic Ocean.

Days 4 – 5

At Sea, Heading to South Georgia

With specialists in history, cetaceans, pinnipeds, ice, and photography, you can expect to learn a great deal about the natural and cultural history of the places you are going to visit. This knowledge will prepare you for your exploration of South Georgia in the next days. As you sail towards South Georgia, you will also have the opportunity to observe a variety of bird species trailing in the ship’s wake as birds often follow ships in search of food and shelter.

Day 6

Exploring Elsehul Bay and Right Whale Bay

You will start the day with a Zodiac ride along the fertile crescent of Elsehul. This natural harbour is known for its abundant wildlife, including seals, penguins, and petrels. The surrounding scenery is also stunning, with rugged cliffs and rolling hills providing a dramatic backdrop for your adventure.

In the afternoon, you will visit Right Whale Bay, which is known for its dramatic surf and photogenic landscapes. This landing can sometimes be tricky, but the effort is well worth it for the opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful and picturesque spots on the island.

Day 7

Visit to Grytviken and Fortuna Bay / Stromness

You will visit Grytviken, a popular historical site of South Georgia. After clearing customs, you will have the opportunity to explore the South Georgia Museum and pay your respects at Ernest Shackleton’s grave. The museum is home to a wide range of exhibits, including displays on the history of the island, the whaling industry, and Shackleton’s famous Antarctic expeditions.

In the afternoon, you will have the chance to see king penguins during your visit to Fortuna Bay / Stromness. This is an excellent opportunity to observe these majestic birds in their natural habitat and learn more about their behavior and ecology. You will also have the option to participate in a 2-3 hour “Shackleton walk,” where you can follow in the footsteps of the famous explorer.

Day 8

Landing at Gold Harbour and exploring Cooper Bay

Gold Harbour is one of the most popular locations for wildlife enthusiasts, with plenty of opportunities to observe king penguins, elephant seals, and hanging glaciers.

When you visit Cooper Bay in the afternoon, you’ll have the chance to see another type of penguin, the macaroni penguin. These birds are known for their distinctive yellow-orange crests and their energetic, jumping movements. They are a treat to watch in their natural habitat, and you’ll likely see them swimming and diving in the water as well.

Another day filled with wildlife viewing and beautiful scenery!

Day 9

Exploring St Andrews Bay and Ocean Harbour

St. Andrews Bay is another spectacular location for observing wildlife, with the largest king penguin colony and elephant seal bulls. The sheer number of penguins and seals is a sight to behold, and you’ll likely be able to observe them up close in their natural habitat.

In the afternoon, you’ll visit Ocean Harbour, where you’ll have the opportunity to see the remains of the whaling industry and a shipwreck. While the history of whaling is a somber one, it’s also an important reminder of the impact that humans can have on the natural world. You’ll also have a chance to observe any wildlife that may be present in the area, such as seabirds or seals.

Day 10

Visit Prion Island and Salisbury Plain

In the morning, we plan to land on Prion Island to see the nesting wandering albatross. These majestic birds are known for their impressive wingspan and graceful flying abilities. Observing them in their natural habitat is a truly awe-inspiring experience, and you’ll likely be able to see them up close during your visit.

In the afternoon, you’ll visit Salisbury Plain, another location with plenty of king penguins and stunning landscapes. You’ll likely have plenty of opportunities to photograph these beautiful birds, as well as take in the surrounding natural beauty.

Days 11 – 12

At Sea, Heading to Elephant Island

It’s always important to take some time to rest and recharge during an adventure. Taking advantage of the ship’s on-board presentation program and facilities is a great way to do just that.

You’ll have the chance to attend informative presentations about the wildlife and landscapes you’ve been seeing or participate in hands-on activities like photography workshops.

Day 13

Exploring Elephant Island

While a landing on the island may not be possible due to the challenging conditions, you’ll still have the opportunity to see the island from the ship or a zodiac if sea conditions permit. As you take in the stunning scenery of Elephant Island, you’ll likely feel a sense of awe at the raw natural beauty of the area. The rugged coastline, jagged peaks, and icy waters create a dramatic and breathtaking scene that is not soon forgotten.

Days 14 – 17

Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetland Islands

Cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands is an incredible adventure, filled with opportunities to explore some of the most stunning and remote locations on Earth. During your voyage, you may visit sites such as Gourdin Island, Brown Bluff, Half Moon Island, Deception Island, Wilhelmina Bay, the Lemaire Channel, Cuverville Island or the Melchior Islands.

Each of these locations has its own unique features and highlights. For example, Half Moon Island is known for its abundance of wildlife, including chinstrap penguins, while Deception Island is home to a natural harbor formed by a collapsed volcanic caldera. Wilhelmina Bay is a popular spot for whale watching, and the Lemaire Channel is a narrow, scenic passage between towering mountains.

Days 18 – 19

At Sea, Heading back to Ushuaia

As your adventure comes to a close and you begin to make your way north, you’ll have the opportunity to witness a truly remarkable sight: thousands of birds trailing the ship. From prions to pintados and petrels to albatrosses, these birds are a testament to the incredible wildlife that calls this remote corner of the world home.

Throughout this final leg of your journey, the staff on board will be on hand to ensure that your experience is wrapped up in spectacular fashion. Whether you want to learn more about the birds you’re seeing, take part in a final educational activity, or simply relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings, they’ll be there to make sure you make the most of your time.

As you leave the Antarctic behind and make your way back to civilization, you’ll carry with you memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.

Day 20

Arrival in Ushuaia and disembarkation

After almost three weeks of exploring the wonders of Antarctica, your voyage will come to an end with your arrival in Ushuaia. Disembarkation typically takes place in the morning, and the ship’s crew will help you with the logistics of getting off the ship and back to your accommodations or onward travel.

As you leave the Antarctic behind and make your way back to civilization, you’ll carry with you memories and experiences that will last a lifetime. From the stunning landscapes and incredible wildlife to the warmth and camaraderie of your fellow travelers and guides, this adventure will truly be one to remember.

You’ll have a newfound appreciation for the fragility and beauty of the natural world, as well as a deeper understanding of the importance of protecting and preserving these incredible environments. Whether you’re returning home or continuing on to other adventures, the memories and experiences of your Antarctic expedition will stay with you for a lifetime.

Inside This Photography Expedition

Our trips are aimed at anyone with a passion for exploring South Georgia and Antarctica with a small group of like minded individuals on a comfortable small ship cruise and include :

Exploration

We will explore areas within Prion Island or Elephant Island that are very rarely visited. This is a chance to experience a true, untouched wilderness in a small group.

Stunning Scenery

We will encounter mighty glaciers, cruise tranquil steep-sided fjords and spend time outside exploring the beautiful untouched wilderness.

Climate Compensated

We’re serious about the environment and wildlife, which is why we’re proud to be a member of 1% for the Planet—an organisation dedicated to supporting impactful global projects that give back to our planet.

Expedition Leader and Guide

An aspect of our journeys is to learn about the place you are visiting. Our onboard guides are the core of what we do and will share their passion and knowledge of South Georgia and Antarctica throughout the trip. We offer the best guide to guest ratio available.

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 landing craft that can be used to reach remote beaches so you can experience the wilderness firsthand.

small expedition ship

Small Ship With 73 Guests

We believe the best way to experience an environmentally sensitive place such as South Georgia and Antarctica is with a small group of travelers. New expedition cruise ships now take up to 350 passengers, we believe smaller is better.

Meet Your Photography Guide

Paul Goldstein Photo Tour Guide

Paul Goldstein
Photography Expert

Paul Goldstein is a wildlife photographer and conservationist based in the UK. He is best known for his stunning wildlife photographs, which have been featured in numerous publications and exhibitions worldwide.

Meet Paul here

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

South Georgia & Antarctica Photo Tour Dates and Prices

Dates: 28th Oct 2023 – 16 Nov 2023

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

Cabin Type

Persons per Cabin

Price per person

 
2 Book
2 Book
2 Book
2 Book

If you have any questions about this Photo Tour please get in touch

Get In Touch

Useful Information

25 South Georgia Facts to Inspire Your Visit

25 South Georgia facts to inspire your visit to this beautiful remote island located in the Southern Ocean. Read More >>
Read More

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 >>
Read More

Life in South Georgia - Six months on, six months off

Sarah Lurcock has spent a quarter of a century on South Georgia. In this interview, she explains what makes the antarctic island so special.
Read More

Antarctica Cruises FAQ

Departure Location Port Stanley, Falkland Islands
Arrival Location Ushuaia, Argentina
Trip Style Exploration
Physical Rating Easy
Maximum Group Size 73
Accommodation Twins, Doubles and Suites
Duration 20 Days
Time of Year October, 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:

  • Option to share a twin cabin with another traveller of the same gender if single cabins are unavailable.

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

What Our Customers Say

On each Photo Tour we welcome customers from all corner of the globe, with a variety of different ages and backgrounds all united in their passion to experience what the polar regions have to offer.

Pan – Business Executive from Italy

‘This is the closest you can come to a real expedition. We saw glaciers seals, whales, walruses and polar bears’

From an early age Pan dreamed of visiting the Arctic. At the age of 42 he made that dream come true by joining Secret Atlas on an expedition micro cruise.

Read his story

Annie – Interior Designer from the USA

‘The micro cruise experience felt like being on your own private boat. The crew were fantastic’’

Annie had always wanted to go an expedition in Svalbard and joined us as a solo traveler..

Read her story