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Sea lions in Beagle Channel

South Georgia In-Depth: Photography Symposium

Example 15 Day Cruise aboard RCGS Resolute
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Journey to the jewels of the South Atlantic Ocean on this 15-day South Georgia cruise and Photography Symposium. Incredibly remote and wild, the islands are home to an abundance of wildlife. Called 'the most staggering wildlife show on earth,' the islands delight their guests with pristine landscape and ultimate photography opportunities. This unique itinerary offers travelers seven full days exploring the islands - almost double the time traditionally spent in South Georgia.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Santiago, Chile | Port Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark
Days 2-3 : At Sea toward South Georgia
Days 4-5 : King Haakon Bay | Northwest Coast, South Georgia
Days 6-7 : Fortuna Bay, Stromness, Grytviken and Central North Coast
Days 8-9 : St Andrews Bay | Gold Harbour and Southeast Coast
Day 10 : Godthul and Prion Island
Days 11-13 : At Sea
Day 14 : Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands
Day 15 : Stanley, Falkland Islands | Disembark | Santiago, Chile

Highlights

  • Navigate into historic King Haakon Bay
  • Explore Salisbury Plain's black-sand beaches and tussock-covered dunes
  • See king penguins and elephant seals in Fortuna Bay
  • Visit Gold Harbor's massive colonies of the colorful king penguins

Ship

RCGS Resolute

Places Visited

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Sea lions in Beagle Channel Colony of penguins at Gold Harbor The pristine and remote landscape of the Falkland Islands Rockhopper penguin sighting St Andrew, South Georgia

Day 1 Santiago, Chile | Port Stanley, Falkland Islands | Embark

Your journey commences this morning in Santiago. Meet at a central location and transfer to the airport for your scheduled service to Stanley in the Falkland Islands  After a short 90-minute flight be transferred to the pier. 

Stanley is currently home to just over 2,000 residents and is reminiscent of a rural town in coastal England or Scotland. It is charming with brightly-colored houses, pretty flower-filled gardens, a quaint cathedral, and several local pubs. The waterfront memorial, built to commemorate the lives of the servicemen lost during the Falklands War in the early 1980s, is a sobering reminder of recent history. 

There is time to explore the town before you make your way to the ship for embarkation. After settling into your cabin and exploring the ship, meet your expedition team and fellow passengers. Excitement is in the air as you enjoy a welcome cocktail, dinner and cast off, bound for South Georgia – and the adventure of a lifetime.

Day 2-3 At Sea toward South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
This stretch of the South Atlantic is rich in its bio-diversity and showcases an abundance of astonishing wildlife. You are joined by hundreds of seabirds including the wandering albatross. Giant petrels and smaller Cape petrels are also constant companions as you make your way to South Georgia. Photographing these magnificent birds takes patience and skill and your photography expert will be on hand to show you the best techniques. Join the ship’s Captain on the bridge and learn about the operations of our modern research vessel. Throughout the day our onboard experts educate us with a series of presentations about the environment, wildlife and history of the locations we hope to visit in the coming days. History is a key theme of this voyage and the epic story of Shackleton is central to your journey.

Day 4-5 King Haakon Bay | Northwest Coast, South Georgia

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
These next days are unlike anything you have ever imagined. Majestic snow-covered mountains greet you on arrival in South Georgia. Begin exploring on the southern coastline and hopefully into the very historic location of King Haakon Bay. It was here that Shackleton and his men made landfall in their small lifeboat – the James Caird, after completing the perilous ocean crossing from Elephant Island, 100 years ago. From here, they set off to cross the mountainous spine of South Georgia – a feat never before attempted. This is a very dramatic place, visited by just a handful of ships each season.

From here, the ship makes its way around to the protected waters of the northeastern coast. Indulge in an in-depth exploration including the bays and harbors the entire length of the island. Elsehul Bay and Possession Bay are possible landing sites where you can catch a glimpse of the rusting buildings of Prins Olav Station, a former Norwegian whaling location abandoned in the 1930s.

One of the most anticipated sites in South Georgia is Salisbury Plain. The black-sand beaches and tussock-covered dunes are home to a staggering abundance of king penguin adults and their young. The rookery is believed to have a population of up to 100,000 adult and juvenile penguins. This is just one of several such king penguin rookeries on South Georgia. At the height of breeding season, the rookeries are believed to have more wildlife per square foot than any other place on the planet. You have to experience it to believe it. The majestic ‘kings’ are not the only wildlife on display. Fur seals can be seen poking their heads above the water; the elephant seals enjoy lazing about the beach, while the skuas and giant petrels fill the skies above.

As the journey continues further down the coastline of South Georgia, visit several beautiful locations including Prion Island, in the Bay of Isles. This island has been designated as a ‘Specially Protected Area’ by the South Georgia Government, due to the breeding wandering albatross colonies at this location. Boasting the largest wingspan of any living bird, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 m (8ft to 11ft), they spend most of their life in flight, landing only to breed and feed.

Distances traveled each year are hard to measure, but one bird was recorded traveling 6000 km in just twelve days. It is rare to experience them up close and personal and on land. The group is exceptionally lucky to be able to attempt a landing here. The site is closed to visiting ships between November and mid-January, due to the massive concentration of fur seals on the beaches.

Day 6-7 Fortuna Bay, Stromness, Grytviken and Central North Coast

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The adventure takes you next to Fortuna Bay, a majestic three-mile-long and one-mile-wide fjord. It was named after the ship Fortuna, one of the original vessels of the Norwegian–Argentine whaling expedition which established the first permanent whaling station at Grytviken, further down the coast. In Fortuna Bay expect to see king penguins and elephant seals.

History comes into sharp focus as you continue west to Stromness and Grytviken. From 1912 until the 1930s, Stromness operated whaling stations and the rusted and ghostly remnants of these old stations seem out of place in such a pristine environment. This area is key to the Shackleton story and it was here, in 1916, that Shackleton and his companions, Worsley and Crean, arrived after their epic crossing from King Haakon Bay on the south coast. This is after having completed their 800-mile journey by small boat from Elephant Island. If the weather cooperates, hike the last few miles across the saddle separating Fortuna Bay from neighboring Stromness, in the footsteps of Shackleton and his men.

As you journey further to the southeast the ship enters the broad expanse of Cumberland Bay. At the head of the bay lies Grytviken – the largest of the old whaling stations on South Georgia. A highlight of the landing here is a visit to the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his loyal right-hand man, Frank Wild.

Day 8-9 St Andrews Bay | Gold Harbour and Southeast Coast

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
The next few days visit St Andrew’s Bay and Gold Harbor - places that are teeming with wildlife including fur seals, elephant seals ,and massive colonies of the colorful king penguins. As with all landings, there is ample opportunity to explore on foot, as much or as little as you like. Gold Harbor is so called because the sun's rays make the cliffs yellow with their light in the morning and evening. It’s an exhilarating location.

Drygalski Fjord at the far eastern extremity of the island is called one of the most spectacular sites in South Georgia. If it is calm enough you can hear the glacier calving large chunks of ice, reminders of what early sealers, whalers and vessels needed to pay close attention to. A visit to this breathtaking place is a fitting way to complete your journey. Tonight, chart a course for South America.

Day 10 Godthul and Prion Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Your exploration of South Georgia is not over and you navigate your way back along the northern coastline. There are a few special locations we have in mind – including the old whaling depot at Godthul. There is a terrific hike here up to a beautiful lake. Nearing the end of your visit to South Georgia, you can hope to enjoy a shore landing at Prion Island – which many consider the jewel in the crown. This location has been designated as a ‘Special Protected Area’ by the South Georgia Government due to the breeding wandering albatross colonies at this location. Boasting the largest wingspan of any living bird, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 m (8ft to 11ft), albatross spend most of their life in flight, landing only to breed and feed. Distances travelled each year are hard to measure, but one bird was recorded travelling 6000 km in just twelve days. You are exceptionally lucky to be able to attempt a landing here as the site is closed to visiting ships between late November and early January, due to the concentration of fur seals on the beaches. The boardwalks provide access to several observation platforms where you can view nesting wandering albatross in close proximity. As you depart South Georgia, pause to reflect on your time in this spectacular location and chart your return course towards the Falkland Islands.

Day 11-13 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Your final days are spent catching up on journal entries, or perhaps downloading and reviewing photos in the multi-media lab with your photography expert. For some, it’s a chance to catch some well-earned rest after a busy ten days of exploration. The wonderful lounge and bar on the ship provides fantastic panoramas and is a great place to sit with a book and a hot drink. The educational presentations continue and enjoy an entertaining and memorable voyage recap by the Expedition Leader. A particular highlight of our return journey will be frequent sightings of the majestic albatross, petrels, and other seabirds as they soar above the ship on the winds of the Southern Ocean. Take the time to enjoy a quiet moment on the outer deck and reflect on a truly remarkable journey to the farthest reaches of the planet.

Day 14 Sea Lion Island, Falkland Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Wake to the sight of landfall in the Falklands. Approaching Sea Lion Island, see the very barren and windswept landscape, exposed to the prevailing weather that originates in the Drake Passage. Launching the Zodiacs you will go ashore to view the incredible diversity of wildlife found here. Three species of penguin including Gentoo, Magellanic, and rockhopper, as well as southern elephant seals and South American sea lions, are known to inhabit the area. King cormorants and striated caracaras are just some of the bird species we may see. As you cruise along the coast of the Falklands, bound for Stanley, enjoy a special dinner attended by the ship’s Captain.

Day 15 Stanley, Falkland Islands | Disembark | Santiago, Chile

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning you find yourselves back in the port of Stanley. Say goodbye to your crew and after some free time in town, make your way to the airport for your return charter flight to Santiago. On arrival in Santiago your journey comes to an end. 

RCGS Resolute

Deals

Save $1,200
Early Bird Savings - Book before January 31, 2019 and save $1,200 per person and enjoy a complimentary pre-voyage hotel night. Some restrictions may apply. Select departures only. Contact us for details.
Applies to Nov 7, 2019 departure

Per person starting at
$13,195
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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Main Deck Triple
Deck 3. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge, portholes, writing desk and chair, and private washroom facilities.
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Twin Private Cabin
Deck 4. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge, large windows, writing desk and chair, and private washroom facilities.
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Superior Cabin
Deck 5. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge, large windows, writing desk and chair, and private washroom facilities.
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Superior Plus Cabin
Deck 5. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge, large picture windows, writing desk and chair, and private washroom.
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Shackleton Suite
Deck 6. 22 m2. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge convertible to a sofa bed, large picture windows, a large desk, expansive cabinetry, and washroom facilities including both a shower & bathtub.
RCGS Resolute Cabin
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One Ocean Suite
Deck 6. 44 m2. Double or two single beds. Features a sectional lounge convertible to a sofa bed with matching club chairs, large picture windows, a large desk, expansive cabinetry, and washroom facilities including both a shower & bathtub.

Notes

Please Note: Polar exploration can be unpredictable, which regularly causes variations to itineraries. Specific sites visited will depend on prevailing weather and ice conditions at the time of sailing. The above itinerary should be read as a 'guide only' and is subject to change.

Your Expedition Includes: 
  • Comprehensive pre-voyage information package including details to help you prepare for your trip
  • Transfers
  • Shipboard accommodation in your selected cabin category with daily housekeeping. Cabins feature outside views with windows or portholes
  • All breakfasts, lunches, and dinners on board throughout your voyage with daily afternoon tea
  • 24-hour tea, coffee, hot chocolate in bar/lounge, plus in-cabin tea and coffee-making facilities
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and professional expedition team of marine biologists, naturalists, historians, adventure guides and photographers
  • Daily off-ship excursions by Zodiac boat breaking into small groups for shore landings
  • Guided hikes and walks on shore of various durations for guests of all abilities
  • Visits to wildlife colonies, historic sites, places of outstanding natural beauty, and community visits
  • Educational presentations and talks by polar experts in their field (ie. marine biologists, naturalists, historians etc).
  • Resident photography guide available to assist all guests plus access to computers in the multimedia lab for image downloads,file back up and management
  • An emergency-trained Physician onboard every voyage
  • Dedicated hospitality team including Hotel Manager, four chefs, professional bar staff and Adventure Concierge staff
  • Onboard sauna, plunge pool, Jacuzzi and fitness cener including personal trainer and massage options (charge applies for massage and spa treatments)
  • Sea Kayaking program available (additional charge of US$795pp) – must be reserved at the time of booking your voyage and you must have some prior paddling experience
  • Access to well stocked library full of polar reference books
  • End of voyage video, photos and take home USB
  • Port fees and all permits to access visited areas
The Expedition does not include:
  • International and national airfares
  • Visa and passport fees, airport taxes
  • Pre- or post-cruise hotel accommodation in arrival / departure cities
  • Meals & transfers in arrival / departure cities
  • Personal expenses
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • Massages from registered therapist
  • Personal laundry charges
  • Postage, telephone calls & email set up
  • Medical expenses such as fees, prescriptions or medications
  • Travel medical insurance including medical evacuation (mandatory)
  • Trip interruption / cancellation insurance
  • Gratuities to staff and crew
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Rachel S

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

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