Spirit of Sydney – South Georgia Expedition, 2023

Have you ever dreamt about following in the footsteps of legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton and exploring the awe-inspiring landscape and natural wonderland of South Georgia? How about getting up close and personal with the island’s magnificent wildlife including penguins, albatrosses, elephant and fur seals? In 2023, international award winning photographer, Scott Portelli will be leading an exclusive 29 day expedition aboard the Spirit of Sydney exploring the rich history and incredible natural wonders of the area.


Spirit of Sydney

Spirit of Sydney, an icon of Australian yachting, was originally designed and built for the 1986 BOC single handed around the world race by America’s Cup winner Ben Lexcen. Spirit is an ocean greyhound with real sailing ability and thoroughbred performance, and has been sailing the Southern Ocean and plying Antarctic waters every summer since 1994, having made over 60 trips to various parts of Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic. Spirit is a tough, heavily constructed 60 foot aluminium yacht with 6 watertight compartments and an over built sailing rig ready for the southern ocean.



Dates: 7th October to 4th November 2023

Duration: 28 days

Start: Stanley (Falkland Islands)

Finish: Stanley (Falkland Islands)

Ship: Spirit of Sydney

Cost: $16,900 USD per person

Deposit: $2,500 USD Per Person (Non refundable)

Expedition Highlights:

  • Take in the amazing South Georgian landscape and experience the abundance of wildlife including, king penguin rookeries, nesting albatrosses, elephant seal and fur seal colonies
  • Kayak and explore the incredible bays and inlets
  • Snorkel in the kelp forrest and experience seal and penguins underwater
  • Explore abandoned whaling stations and historic huts
  • Follow Ernest Shackleton’s footsteps, including hiking the famous Shackleton Traverse from Whistle Stop to Stromness
  • Visit the stunning Nordenskjold Glacier
  • Receive expert photography guidance by award winning photographer, Scott Portelli

Trip leader, Wildlife Photographer and Antarctic expedition specialist – Scott Portelli

Scott Portelli is a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) and is regarded as a leading professional in his field. Scott has spent thousands of hours in remote locations across the globe filming and photographing nature, wildlife, the underwater environment and wild places.

He was recently announced the winner in the Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year 2021, and has previously been awarded winner in the animal behaviour category in 2017 and 2019. He was awarded 1st  Place Winner as part of a team representing Australia at the World Photographic Cup 2021. Also included in his accolades he was announced winner at the GDT Nature Photographer of the Year 2021  in the Other Animals category. He was also awarded Winner in the Human & Oceans category at the Ocean Geographic Pictures of the Year awards 2021 and winner at Travel Photographer of the Year 2015 & 2018 and runner up in the landscape category in 2020. Some of his more noteworthy awards included being awarded at the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the year in London in 2016 and announced National winner of the Sony World Photography awards 2016.

Scott has spent over a decade working in the polar regions with a focus on Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic areas producing a unique portfolio of fine art photography that showcases the intricate environment and its intriguing inhabitants. Working in extreme conditions, Scott’s photography provides a rarely seen glimpse above and below the surface in some of the harshest places on the planet.

To find out more about Scott, please visit: https://vimeo.com/132677858


Voyage Inclusions

  • All food, drinks (including local beer and Argentine wine)
  • Port fees, required permits, and IAATO passenger fees
  • Kayaking and Snorkeling (gear not included)
  • Transfer to and from Stanley
  • Accommodation onboard
  • Lectures and guiding services from expedition leader
  • Comprehensive pre-departure information

Voyage Exclusions

  • Personal clothing and equipment
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport arrival or departure taxes
  • Passport, visa, reciprocity fees and vaccination charges
  • Hotel and meals in the Falklands
  • Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
  • Iridium communications while on board
  • Cost of medicals
  • Dry suits for kayaking/Snorkeling
  • International or domestic flights, unless specified
  • Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
  • Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
  • Optional activity surcharges
  • Snorkeling equipment, wetsuits/drysuit, fins, mask, snorkel, hood, gloves etc



How do I get to the departure point?

This expedition will begin and end in Stanley in the Falklands Islands. The Falkland Islands (direct your travel agent to Mount Pleasant Airport) is reached via Santiago and Punta Arenas on a once per week basis every Saturday with Lan Chile Airline. There is also a flight more or less once weekly from Brize Norton in the UK on the RAF flight now operated by a sub-contracting airline. This is an expensive, but time saving alternative. However, the flights can be cancelled or delayed without notice due to military priority.

What is the weather like in South Georgia?

South Georgia is in the South Atlantic Ocean and has a polar climate due to the proximity of the Antarctic current. This keeps the seas cold throughout the year (approx. 2 degrees C in October). The prevailing winds are westerly with mountain winds blowing straight up the western side and down the eastern side. The air is warmed and dried during this process making the East side of the island more sheltered and warmer. Temperatures in October are usually between -2 and 8 degrees C, warmest on the east side.

Is our itinerary flexible to accommodate the weather conditions?

Our itinerary is at the mercy of weather conditions and not all landings are guaranteed. Our itinerary is flexible, allowing the best chance to make the most of surprising wildlife displays and unexpected opportunities.

Do I need a medical before we set sail?

All expeditioners will need to have a medical before departure as we are operating in a remote area, and it’s best for all concerned to have no surprises.

How fit do I need to be to sail?

These trips are designed for fit, agile and active people who have adventurous and positive outlooks. Participation is the key to enjoyment. No sailing experience is required. There is no age limit as we have had fit and active people of all ages, even a 77 year old sea kayaker who was out paddling almost every day!

Will I have a chance to help out on board?

This is a real ‘hands on’ expedition and everyone will need to be active in making the trip work. All tasks aboard are shared including: sailing, helming, anchoring, even cooking and domestic duties. Our aim is to take like-minded people on an experience of a lifetime and the expedition will work best if everyone is prepared to lend a hand and be a part of the crew.

What communications equipment is on board?

Spirit of Sydney has state of the art weather and communications systems. Individual email accounts are provided for guests and daily uploads are possible via the Iridium satellite phone network.  She is also equipped with Xaxero’s Sky-Eye System for real time satellite image downloads of weather systems which can be cross referenced with weather information from the Global Marine Network.


To register your interest to join us in South Georgia for this once in a lifetime experience, click here.

Please review our Terms & Conditions and Cancellation policy

For more information contact us through the website or directly via email at scott@scottportelli.com or +61 (0)402124453