Antarctica, South Georgia and Falklands safari - penguins on the plains

Antarctica Photography Safari   2014 Updates

Kate Waite

Kate Waite

20 Oct 2014

Antarctica photography introduction

Antarctica photography introduction

Below is a day by day account of the Antarctica Photography Safari with Andy Rouse, straight from the M/V Ushuaia. Alongside the blog, you can view the gallery which is being constantly updated, and even follow the ship as it cruises around the icy south, using our dedicated map here. If you start to feel inspired by this extraordinary journey, register your interest for your own Antarctica safari by filling out our Contact Us form.

Over the last few days the passengers travelling on the Andy Rouse Antarctica Photography Safari have been gathering in Santiago. 

On Friday the group welcome dinner was a great success with the expedition team easily recognisable in their penguin headgear! Next stop, The Falkland Islands where we will board the ship. 

South Georgia penguins at Salisbury Plain
View from the plane flying to the Falkland Islands

DAY 1: 18 OCTOBER 2014

The Andy Rouse Antarctica Photography Safari group were treated to clear views of the spectacular Torres Del Paine on the flight to The Falklands. On arriving at The Falkland Islands everyone felt the significant drop in temperature but it didn't deter from exploring Port Stanley, visiting the gift shop and stocking up on essential supplies at the supermarket before boarding our home for the next few weeks, the MV Ushuaia. The first evening was spent getting to know the crew and joining in with the necessary safety drills. Hopefully we all know our Port and Starboard sides now!

Rockhopper penguin in the Falkland Islands
MV Ushuaia in the Falkland Islands

Day 2: 19 October 2014

A day at sea today as we head down to South Georgia with a lot of the group taking advantage of the sun, exploring the deck taking pictures of the various sea birds following us. Others have been less lucky and are still yet to find their "sea-legs". 

Day 3: 20 October 2014 

This morning at 8:20 hrs we crossed the biological boundary of Antarctica, the Antarctic Convergence. At 52°44,1’South and 46°51,3’ W the temperature had dropped significantly to only 2°C and it became damper outside. Parts of the outer decks were frozen and we measured an air-temperature of only 5°C below zero. 

The Antarctic Convergence is an undulating line in the Southern Ocean between 50 and 60 degrees south encircling the continent. It is well defined by water temperature differences and can be determined by regular temperature readings. It is sometimes also said to be marked by a belt of fog or mist where warm, more saline currents coming south from the tropics meet cold, denser, less saline currents moving north from Antarctica. These conflicting currents clash, converge, and sink. The mixing waters provide a sympathetic environment for abundant plankton that nourishes huge numbers of sea birds and mammals but this phenomenon is rarely seen. However, few organisms cross this marked boundary, so the convergence defines Antarctica both physically and ecologically. 

Day 4: 21 October 2014 

Shortly after breakfast this morning (21st October) we caught our first sight of land - South Georgia. 

By lunchtime the mountains of South Georgia could be seen clearly, looming over the ship. This gave everybody an excuse to head out onto the deck to test their cold weather gear in preparation for our first landing this afternoon, at Right Whale Bay.  

Thanks to an early arrival in South Georgia we were able to get an extra landing in this afternoon at Right Whale Bay on the Northwestern shores of South Georgia. The wide bay with black volcanic sand is home to couple of thousand King penguins along with a number of elephant seals who were jousting along the shore line.  

South Georgia

Day 5: 22 October

This morning we had a landing in Grytviken, an old whaling station encircled by a rampart of steep-walled mountains. The town was used as a whaling station from 1904 to around 1965 and provided plenty of interesting photography subjects including the old rusting boats, Shakelton's grave and beautiful Norwegian Church. As well as the old building there were a number of fur seals, elephant seals, king penguins and other marine birds around the harbour.

This afternoon we did a landing in the snow at Jasons Bay. The snow started to fall quite heavily but it didn't deter the hardy photographers amongst us who captured some great shots of King penguins and the many Elephant seals along with their pups along the icy shore line. Will send image later if the connection allows!

Day 7: 24 October

24th October proved to be the perfect day for a landing at Sailsbury Plains. We managed to stay out for most of the day with the sunshine and blue skies showing of the dramatic mountain scenery in the morning. By early afternoon a snow storm had arrived transforming the landscape providing a great opportunity for atmospheric shots of penguins in the snow.

Day 8: 25 October

We had an early morning wake up call 25th October as there was the opportunity for a landing at Gold Harbour. After weaving our way through the Elephant and Fur seals on the black-sand beach we a colony of King penguins and one of Gentoo penguins.

South Georgia
South Georgia penguins in snow


Due to unforeseen circumstances and adverse weather, the ship did return to the Falkland Islands from South Georgia. Unfortunately, with persistently bad storms, they are unable to make it all the way to Antarctica and will be pursuing an alternate itinerary around the Falkland Islands.

Rest assured that the ship is still planning to arrive into Ushuaia in good time for the flight up to Buenos Aires to catch the international flights home.

Day 13: 30 October

Technical hitch! Our office Go-Pro gets stolen by a Caracara. Will Bolsover followed in hot pursuit for some time…!

Antarctica, South Georgia and Falklands safari - Caracara

Day 14: 31 October

Today we have had a full landing at Saunders Island, the second largest offshore island within the Falkland Islands archipelago and home to a rich diversity of wildlife, notably 11,000 breeding pairs of black-browed albatross and four different species of penguin. The quirky little rockhopper penguins in particular were full of character as they bounced up the steep cliffs.

Day 15: 1 November

On the morning of 1st November we made a landing at West Point Island, which lies off the most northern point of mainland West Falkland. The island was formerly known as albatross Island and is home to several colonies of test beautiful birds, along with a colony of rockhopper penguins.

We've had every type of weather today, changing from blizzards to brilliant sunshine. This afternoon we did a landing at the beautiful Grave Cove, home to several colonies of gentoo penguins who surf in on the waves after spending their day fishing.

We later headed back to Grave Coast for another opportunity to photograph the surfing penguins. Grave Coast hosts the largest gentoo penguin colony in the Falkland Islands with 4600 pairs known to reside here.

Penguin huddle in South Georgia
Elephant seals in South Georgia

Day 16: 2 November

Yesterday, Sunday 2nd November, we had a full day landing at Carcass Island to the northwest of the Falkland Islands. The Island with its long white sand beaches, is home to abundant small birds as well as gentoo and magallanic penguins. For more detail on this landing, head to the Carcass Island Blog. 

In the afternoon, the owners of the island treated us to a traditional Falkland Islands tea with numerous home-made cakes and biscuit! 

Penguins in snow, South Georgia

Day 17: 3 November 

Today we did a full landing on New Island, the most remote of the inhabited Falkland Islands. Read more about today on the blog post here. 

Day 18: 4 November 

As of the morning on the 4th November the MV Ushuaia is once again at sea. We are now heading to Ushuaia to start our journey home. Over the next few days we have a lot of talks planned including different aspects of photography such as black and white processing as well as some location specific lectures such as the history of sea sickness!


Contact one of our Destination Specialists to start planning your journey to Antarctica. Please note we recommend a budget of from £7,000 / $10,000 USD per person for our style of trip to this destination.

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Lia Higgs

2/11/2014 10:33 PM

Wow kate! Sounds and looks amazing, cant wait to hear all about it. Safe journey home.

Rob Stubbs

31/10/2014 2:46 PM

Great reading. Shame about the Antarctica abort, but the natural world is an unpredictable beast !

Ria Aldous-Brown

28/10/2014 7:41 PM

This makes for fantastic reading Kate. Even more jealous than I was before you left. A once in a life time!

Dewi Edwards

23/10/2014 4:36 PM

I'm feeling a bit "homesick" looking at these photos. Spent a couple of years working there a while back and now know that I should have come with you on this trip. There used to be a pair of Light-mantled Sooty Albatross nesting behind where the last pic was taken with the ship in the cove. Were they still there? Looking forward to reading about the rest of this trip.


23/10/2014 10:30 AM

Hi Peter, glad you're enjoying the blog! We are keeping it as up to date as possible with the information we get directly from Kate on the ship. I've been nagging for more images so hopefully we will get some more in the next few days!

Peter Goadby

23/10/2014 10:00 AM

Finding this compulsive reading so more please, and more pictures. An Antarctic cruise has been on our agenda for a long time and this is just feeding the desire.


21/10/2014 10:42 AM

The voyage seems very bon so far

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