This is an exclusive trip with a focus on Snorkeling and Photography
This is an exclusive trip with a focus on Snorkeling/Diving and Photography
In Feb 2024, we have a very special tour for snorkelers and photographers who want to visit Antarctica and join our photographic workshop to help improve their skills and experience one of the most beautiful destinations on the planet. Join us on the MV Sylvia Earle in Antarctica for this adventure of a lifetime. We will be snorkeling in the ice, observing the wildlife up close and personal and learning how to take that perfect photo.
Antarctica is one of the last, great untamed continents on planet Earth. It is a definite bucket list experience. Antarctica, the southernmost continent and site of the South Pole, is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. You will cross the infamous Drake Passage and set foot on the Antarctic Peninsula, explore ice-dotted bays by zodiac and get up close with penguins, seals, seabirds and migrating blue and humpback whales. This expedition brings together those with a curiosity about the world around them, a keen sense of adventure, and a desire to immerse themselves in the natural environment. It truly is a trip not to be missed. A once in a lifetime opportunity!
This is an exclusive small group trip onboard one of the best expedition ships in Antarctica. The comprehensive program will be full of polar activities and excursions to view the unique wildlife found in this part of the world. Enjoy lectures on photography and wildlife, while getting involved in some citizen science initiatives.
- Snorkeling in Antarctica with seals, whales and penguins
- Exploring the landscape surrounded by icebergs and an abundance of wildlife
- See and hear the bustling activity of a penguin city
- Chance to spot leopard seals on ice floes from the zodiacs
- Zodiac-cruise in search of feeding and breaching whales
- Take on the exhilarating polar plunge
- Photography workshops with international award winning wildlife photographer Scott Portelli
Dates: 10-18 February 2024
Duration: 09 Days | Fly/Sail
Finish: Punta Arenas (Fly via King Georges Island)
Ship: MV Sylvia Earle
Activities: Wildlife, landscape & underwater photography and snorkeling.
NOTE: For snorkelers, we recommend you have cold water snorkeling/diving experience before entering the water in the polar regions.
Deposit (non-refundable): $2500.00 USD
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- All meals and drinks onboard during the voyage
- Guiding services from our trip leader and expedition experts
- Exploring the landscape surrounded by icebergs and an abundance of wildlife
- Step ashore in Antarctica, the last great wilderness
- All shore excursions and Zodiac (inflatable boat) cruises
- Port taxes and charges
- All entry fees to historic landings sites
- Airport transfers
- International or domestic flights to/from port
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Visa, passport, and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance and emergency evacuation coverage
- Hotels and meals not included in the main itinerary
|CABIN||PRICE PER PERSON|
|Triple Share Stateroom||US $$12,495|
|Balcony Stateroom Twin Share||US $13,795|
|Aurora Stateroom Twin Share||US $$14,795|
Snorkeling Supplement (From US$695 pp)
Please review our Terms & Conditions and Cancellation policy.
To register your interest to join us in Antarctica for this once in a life time experience, click here.
Your hosts, international award winning wildlife underwater photographer Scott Portelli for over 22 years; Amanda Delaforce a marine biologist, wildlife ecologist for over 20 years, also a passionate underwater photographer; Kim Randall an experienced diver and educator.
Scott Portelli is an international award winning wildlife, nature and underwater photographer. 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.
Amanda is a marine biologist and wildlife ecologist having worked across both NSW and QLD Marine Parks (Australia) over the last 20 years. Amanda has previously been involved in various humpback whale research projects along the East Australian Coast including Eden, Port Stephens, Sunshine Coast and Hervey Bay.
Amanda has been taking guests diving and swimming with marine species including humpback whales, manta rays, whale sharks, dolphins and reef and oceanic sharks while also viewing amazing coral communities and fish in stunning and remote locations. Amanda can provide a wealth of information on the humpback and blue whales while out on the zodiac day expeditions. She holds her coxswains certificate and has been a divemaster for over 23 years.
She works closely with marine conservation and citizen science groups such as Manta Project Australia, Project Manta Maldives, Grey Nurse Shark Watch Australia and Whale Shark Researchers in the Maldives.
Amanda is a passionate underwater marine and wildlife photographer; countless dives and ocean encounters means she knows where to look for inspiration. She has a genuine love and admiration for animals she encounters which are reflected in the experiences she shares with others.
This is her first trip to this amazing location and has been a dream trip for many years. I hope you are as excited as she is to take you on this unforgettable journey.
Kim Randall, a native Californian and an avid traveler, discovered her love of the ocean and marine life at an early age, by pleading with her parents to send her to a sailing and diving summer camp. It was here she became certified to scuba dive. While she was always active and into playing sports as a child and young adult, she developed knee issues which prevented her full involvement in them. Scuba diving and water related non weight bearing activities changed all of that!
Kim went on to pursue a career in education, and became a global educational technology consultant. She works with professional learning organizations including Designed for Learning, Discovery Education, Nearpod, and the Krause Center for Innovation, providing relevant and engaging training centered around effective use and pedagogy of educational technologies in the classroom.
When she wasn’t consulting and working with educators, she was (and still is) found planning dive trips around the world. In 2009 she joined the team producing the tv series “Into the Drink”, a diving and travel show filming on location in incredible diving destinations around the world. Kim traveled with the crew and guests on many of the trips, supporting with underwater photography and guest relations. Her love of diving, marine life, underwater photography, and traveling across the globe continued to flourish with this incredible experience. It was through mutual friends filming on one of the boats, that Kim and Amanda became friends, dive buddies, and shared a passion for photography.
With her love of travel, trip planning and diving, she organically loved Google Earth & Maps when they launched in 2005 and became an avid user of both tools. Fast forward to 2018, She co-authored a book geared towards educators called Bring the World to Your Classroom: Using Google Geo Tools. Kim has been an elementary and middle school teacher as well as a technology integration specialist and holds a California Multiple Subject teaching credential. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area but often found in her spare time traveling to new places near and far, scuba diving, and dabbling with topside and underwater photography. This is her first trip to Antarctica and the only remaining continent she hasn’t visited yet. Kim is so excited for this adventure.
Itinerary (Sample Only)
Day 1 – Ushuaia
Having made your way to Ushuaia, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. This evening, enjoy a light refreshment as you meet your fellow expeditioners at a Welcome Reception. Afterwards, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).
Days 2 – Embarkation
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day. Enjoy free time after check-out, meeting back in the hotel lobby at 2.00 pm to commence a short sightseeing tour of Ushuaia.
Ushuaia, capital of Tierra del Fuego is located at the shores of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains giving you a unique landscape in Argentina, which is the combination of mountains, sea, glaciers and forests. On this brief introductory tour, you will visit “La Mision” neighbourhood, the old Government House, and the upper area of the city, which offers beautiful panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. During the excursion you will see the antique houses that belonged to the first families settled in Ushuaia. The excursion ends with a visit to the Old Prison Museum before transferring to the pier for embarkation at approximately 4.00 pm.
Days 3 – Drakes Passage Crossing
As we commence the Drake Passage crossing, we make the most of our time getting comfortable with the motions of the sea. Our expedition team prepare you for our first landing with important wildlife guidelines and biosecurity procedures and start our lecture program to help you learn more about Antarctica’s history, wildlife and environment.
Our wildlife experiences begin as we enjoy watching and photographing the many seabirds, including majestic albatrosses and giant petrels following our vessel. On sea days, you may can enjoy the facilities on board the vessel including the gym, wellness centre or the relaxing in one of the observation lounges.
Days 4 to 7 – Antarctic Peninsula
We explore the Peninsula’s west coast, with the frenzied activities of penguin parents and chicks as the summer days begin to shorten. Cormorant chicks bravely making their first flights from sea cliffs. Zodiac cruise amongst ice floes replete with basking Weddell and leopard seals and revel in unparalleled beauty of Antarctica’s landscape.
It is almost impossible to describe the feeling of arriving in Antarctica. Spotting your first iceberg and taking a deep breath of some of the most fresh, crisp air on earth is an experience that will stay with you forever.
Once we arrive, the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands are ours to explore, and we have a host of choices available to us. Because we are so far south, we will experience approximately 18-24 hours of daylight and the days can be as busy as you wish.
Your experienced expedition team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to design your voyage from day to day, choosing the best options based on the prevailing weather, ice conditions and wildlife opportunities.
We generally make landings or Zodiac excursions twice a day. You will want to rug up before joining Zodiac cruises along spectacular ice cliffs or among grounded icebergs, keeping watch for whales, seals and porpoising penguins. Zodiacs will also transport you from the ship to land, where you can visit penguin rookeries, discover historic huts and explore some of our favourite spots along the peninsula.
While ashore we aim to stretch our legs, wandering along pebbly beaches or perhaps up snow-covered ridgelines to vantage points with mountains towering overhead and ice-speckled oceans below. If you have chosen an optional activity, you will have the option to do participate in the activity whenever conditions allow, and of course keen polar plungers will have the chance to fully immerse themselves in polar waters – conditions permitting! The polar plunge can take place at any time during the voyage, so listen out for the announcement from the expedition team and get ready for the most exhilarating dip of your life!
Day 8 – King George Island
We arrive at mountainous King George Island. If time and weather permit we explore penguin and seal-rich waters of Fildes Bay and visit the surprising Trinity Church at Bellingshausen Station, before catching our charter flight back to Punta Arenas in Chile, where we transfer to our overnight accommodation.
Day 9 – Punta Arenas
After breakfast bid farewell to fellow expeditioners before continuing on with your own arrangements. Additional Information: On arrival in Punta Arenas a transfer is included to Aurora Expeditions preferred hotel. It is advised that you overnight in Punta Arenas, but not mandatory. Onward flights from Punta Arenas should not be booked until after 1700 hours. Expedition itinerary will change dependent on departure and arrival points.
Please note that all of our itineraries are at the mercy of weather conditions and not all landings are guaranteed. Our itineraries are flexible and will change voyage to voyage, allowing the best chance to make the most of surprising wildlife displays and unexpected opportunities.
Top 5 tips for underwater polar photography
Photographing in 1-degree water can be challenging for any underwater photographer, but there are a few things that you can do to ensure the best results in the harsh conditions.
Bubbles on your dome port – In cold water bubbles will continually form on the dome port as the cold water aerates the glass or acrylic port. This can ruin some amazing photos as they are very difficult to remove in post-production. So a few simple tips.
Have a tube of mask anti-fog gel or liquid and coat the surface of your dome port before you get into the water. This will help reduce the aeration on the dome port. If you are doing split shots, you might also want to ensure there is a layer on your done so the water beads off the glass better and you reduce water blotches in your photos.
Be conscious that the aeration bubbles will form on the lens and carry a small chamois cloth or use your gloves to brush the surface of your dome regularly while in the water. If you get into the practice of checking your dome regularly, you will reduce the chance of a photograph covered in air bubbles.
Lens fog/condensation – the warm and the cool air will create condensation inside the housing and your camera which may fog your lens or dome port, try and set up the camera in a consistent temperature and avoid opening the camera housing until the equipment has returned to room temperature. You can avoid damaging your equipment by simply making sure the environment you are working maintains a consistent temperature when assembling your gear.
Keep your batteries warm – before you set up your camera and get underwater, make sure your batteries are fully charged and keep them warm as long as you can before you assemble your camera and underwater housing. Battery life is dramatically reduced in low temperatures, so make sure you have plenty of spare batteries readily available. When you are out on the water diving, keep a dry bag with you with any spare equipment you might need, as you never know when you might need to change a battery or card. However in most cases you want to avoid opening the housing and camera on the water, as it only takes a few drops of salt water to damage your equipment.
Checklist – set yourself a simple to follow checklist to avoid issues and mistakes before getting in the water, because once you are underwater there is not much you can do if you have mistakenly put the camera together incorrectly or forgotten a crucial part. And always test your camera equipment and lighting/strobes on the surface before you hit the water. Some things to avoid and what I put on my checklist:
Manual focus is off on your lens and auto focus is working for the chosen lens. I have been shooting star shot the previous night and had my camera set to manual and my ISO very high and my lens on manual focus, then put it into the housing and been underwater only to realise when I returned to the surface that nothing was in focus. Some housings may have the ability to change the focus manually but in an environment such as Antarctica you need to be reactive and have your equipment optimized for the shooting opportunities.
This is one mistake I have made on a few occasions, leaving the lens cap on the camera inside the underwater housing. You find it strange that everything is black. Once you are underwater there is nothing you can do about this without resurfacing and taking a risk in opening your underwater housing on a moving boat. Definitely add this to your checklist.
Dust on inside of the dome – It sounds simple, but check the inside of your dome to make sure there are no lose dust particles moving around. Yes, these can be removed in post-production if you are shooting stills, but it is almost impossible to remove marks when you are shooting video. This is the difference between a nice crisp visual that people enjoy watching or a mark on the video that you can’t help but notice that ruins your beautiful video.
Memory card is empty and ready to shoot – it is easy to forget to delete or format a memory card before each shoot and then realise after you have shot a few hundred frames that you are running out of space. Always back up your cards after each dive and ensure a clean memory card is ready for each time you get in the water. Also some cameras will let you shoot without the memory card, I always turn this feature off, as this is a mistake you can’t afford to make
Check your o-rings on your camera housing as the cold and warm air can expand and contract these, they should be clean and free of any particles, it only takes one strain of hair to flood a very expensive housing. Always carry spare o-rings as well, as you never know when you might need to change this due to the weather affecting the elasticity of the rubber seals.
Cold Hands – One thing I find when shooting in Antarctica is your hands get really cold (obvious, I know!) But because your hands are often holding your housing and your fingers are wrapped around the handles, they don’t move as much and will get a little stiff. What happens then is you find it hard to press the buttons on your camera housing. You also want to wear warm gloves under your wetsuit but not so thick that you can’t easily change the settings on your camera. Look for warn thin gloves and check you can easily change the settings on your camera.