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FALKLANDS
SOUTH GEORGIA

October 9 - 25, 2024  |  Expedition Cruise  |  Aboard the Magellan Explorer

Discover the wildlife meccas of the South Atlantic aboard deluxe Magellan Explorer, with a brilliant expedition team & and photo/host just for our group.

After several successful trips to the 7th continent with Antarctica21, greatly impressed by their expedition team & overall operation, and tantalized by their new ship the Magellan Explorer, we jumped at the opportunity to join them for an incomparable journey to the Falklands & South Georgia—two incredible island groups that are veritable Shangri-La’s for wildlife in the South Atlantic, only visited by an extremely privileged few on this planet.

Dates:  October 9-25, 2024

Starting Location: Punta Arenas, Chile

Aboard: Magellan Explorer

Ship capacity: 100 Passengers

Our group: expecting 12 + our host/leader

Photo Pro / Tour Leader: Temu Nana

Starting Rate: $9,995 (Porthole Cabin)

We recommend booking early to assure you can reserve the cabin of your choice aboard Magellan Explorer.

DOWNLOAD THE TRIP BROCHURE FOR FULL TRIP DETAILS

In this PDF Brochure, you will find:

  • Our introduction to the trip & the islands.

  • Why this trip to the "Galapagos of the South of the Atlantic"

  • Day-by-day itinerary for the trip from October 9-25, 2024 starting/ending in Punta Arenas, Chile (or from October 7/8-October 26, 2024 including travel from the U.S.)

  • A bio for our Open Sky Expeditions trip leader/photo pro Temu Nana

  • Info on Antarctica21's top notch expedition staff & the Education Program they offer 

  • Overview of potential trip extensions in Chile, a country we know intimately 

  • Introduction to the Magellan Explorer, Antarctica21's state-of-the-art expedition vessel

  • Trip rates & inclusions (also here)

  • Planning notes from Antarctica21

  • Terms & Conditions

WHY TRAVEL TO THE GALAPAGOS OF THE SOUTH ATLANTIC WITH OPEN SKY?

Our expedition dates are purposely selected for early austral spring season - the most ideal time of year to experience the region's landscapes and wildlife, among many other timing-related bonuses. Additionally, our ship selection, photography opportunity, and pricing make this trip an unmatched offer.  

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EXPEDITION HIGHLIGHTS AND EXPERIENCES

Experience up-close encounters with jaw-dropping penguin colonies, marine animals, and more wildlife. 

South Georgia's Salisbury Plain has one of the most remarkable and vast King penguin colonies in the world. Our trip takes you there for a front row seat. Other destinations such as Gold Harbour and Saunders Island will give you the opportunity to witness and photograph giant elephant seals and beautiful sea birds.

Explore stunning harbors, beaches, and glacial landforms via zodiac rides to and from the ship.

Experience the pristine blue waters and white sands of Saunders Island in the Falklands and relish in the incredible beauty of glaciated mountains towering over Elsehul Bay in South Georgia. Our zodiac landings allow you to explore these remarkable places by foot.

Visit historically significant sites including Shackleton's grave, a remote shipwreck, and ghost towns of the whaling industry.

The history of human habitation in this remote region is often a forgotten aspect. Our experience integrates this education into the itinerary throughout.  See the final resting place of the great polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, and explore whaling harbors, churches and shipwrecks dotted along the islands' shores. 

Workshop your photography alongside a dedicated photo expert + instructor

Our group aboard will also exclusively have Open Sky Expeditions photo pro & tour leader Temu Nana as personal host, offering one-on-one instruction & optional photo reviews in addition to prioritizing our group’s needs throughout the trip. Temu will also host a pre-trip webinar/Q&A session to help you photographically prepare for your trip, in addition to remaining available pre-departure for any questions you may have.

ITINERARY OVERVIEW: KEY DESTINATIONS

With significantly less time spent at sea than most Falkland + South Georgia expeditions that also include Antarctica and even longer southern ocean crossings (and cost a lot more), our itinerary focuses on the two South Atlantic island groups. Here’s a day-by-day overview. 

October 9: Embarkation
in Punta Arenas, CHILE
October 10: At Sea
October 11: Saunders & Carcass Islands, FALKLANDS 
October 12: Port Stanley, Falklands 
October 13-14: At Sea
October 15: Elsehul Bay, SOUTH GEORGIA
October 16: Grytviken & Fortuna Bay, S.G.
October 17: Gold Harbor & Cooper Bay, S.G.
October 18: St. Andrews Bay & Ocean Harbor, S.G. 
October 19: Prion Island & Salisbury Plain, S.G.
October 20-22: At Sea (possible arrival on 22nd)
October 23: Bleaker Island, FALKLANDS
October 24: At Sea
October 25: Disembark in Punta Arenas, CHILE

More details on each day are in the brochure!
 

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THE MAGELLAN EXPLORER

New and stylish, Magellan Explorer is a modern expedition vessel that was recently constructed in Chile to the latest Polar specifications for Antarctica21’s cruises. For sub-Antarctic cruises, she accommodates 100 passengers in seven categories of cabins, including dedicated Single Cabins. Magellan Explorer offers spacious accommodation and a wide range of technical solutions designed to enhance the expedition experience.

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Luxury amenities meet the expedition experience aboard the Magellan Explorer

Magellan Explorer has a glass-enclosed observation lounge, presentation room with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, a spacious and stylish dining room, well-stocked bar, library, meeting room, medical clinic, sauna and a gym. The forward-facing observation deck leads to the bow of the ship, which is accessible to guests to offer proximity to marine wildlife. The ship has a fleet of 10 Zodiac boats that are well suited for disembarking and wildlife watching. 90% of cabins have balconies which can be wonderfully comfortable, protected places to photograph from.

Elevated comfort in seven unique cabin styles

All cabins except Porthole cabins feature private balconies. All double cabins except two have two twin beds that can be configured as one king-size bed. All cabins feature a wardrobe, individually controlled heating system, a sitting area, and a private bathroom with shower.  Check out our "Cabin Details" webpage with the button below to explore your accommodation options.

  • Porthole - King bed or 2 twins. [200 sq ft]

  • Veranda - King bed or 2 twins. [210 sq ft]

  • Deluxe Veranda - King bed or 2 twins [240 sq ft]

  • Penthouse - King bed or 2 twins [360 sq ft]

  • Grand Suite - King bed or two twins. [480 sq ft]

  • Single Veranda - 1 King bed or 2 twins. [200 sq ft]

  • Triple - Two twins + Queen-size sofa bed. [480 sq ft]

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EXPEDITION FEATURES FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS

Photography tours have been our top speciality since 2012, and this trip was carefully selected to ensure it was a "right fit" for photographers—from novices to professionals.  Our recent trips with Antarctica21 could not have affirmed this choice with more conviction. 

How we selected this trip with photography in mind:

  • Destination: "Meccas for wildlife" ... "the Galapagos of the South Atlantic" ... the largest king penguin colony on the planet... We've been in the "educational expedition travel niche" for a long time (Alex since 2004, Temu since 2008), and it has always felt that only the lucky ones get to these special islands, particularly South Georgia. We've never heard Expedition Staff describe any other places with as much wonder & awe. It's always superlatives. 
     

  • Timing: Spring is ideal in so many ways. There are far fewer visitors than later in the season. Landing sites are more pristine & photogenic. Wildlife is booming (read here for more details), and especially in South Georgia there's more access to it (many sites actually close there in the summer). The Falklands are half as rainy as they are in the summer, and the light is South Georgia in the spring is known to be especially dramatic. 

  • Small size: Large cruise ships are not allowed to visit South Georgia, and at most landing sites the maximum number of people allowed ashore at the time is 100. Magellan Explorer has exactly that number as its upward limit of passengers. So, even by comparison with vessels twice the size that are still allowed to visit, you won't have to wait for your "rotation" to be called up, as those on larger ships must. Smaller = seeing /doing /photographing more in Falklands & South Georgia. 
     

  • Expedition Team: Antarctica21 has one of the highest expedition staff-to-passenger ratios in the industry, and the team includes a dedicated photo pro who in addition to producing an excellent trip log provides guidance to interested travelers. Even beyond the official photo pro, we found last December most of the staff themselves were excellent, experienced photographers. 

  • Ship: Beyond its all-around impressiveness, Magellan Explorer has perks like a dedicated space for presentations with the latest A/V (not the passenger lounge like many ships), and 90% of cabins have balconies which can be wonderfully comfortable, protected places to photograph from.

Additional photography related value for our group:

 

Though our folks pay no more than anyone else onboard, our group exclusively gets:
 

  • A dedicated trip leader & photo pro that's with you throughout the trip. Our man Temu Nana has led dozens of trips spanning all seven continents over the course of his career, much of which was spent on small-cruise ships like the Magellan Explorer (a ship he already knows and has worked on several times). He'll come interested in you, understanding where you are with photography if you've shared with us, and eager to offer one-on-one guidance throughout the trip.

  • An advocate prioritizing your experience while onboard with other guests. If past trips are an indication, most fellow passengers will come on their own, so our pooled interests as a group, with an effective leader at the helm, in particular will give us priority. Temu will be making sure of that, looking out for you both ashore & onboard, and assisting individually as needed. His photography advice will also  only be for our group onboard.

 

  • A particular perk of note: Temu will work with the ship's crew to facilitate photo zodiacs, grouping photographers with shared interests for zodiac cruises.

  • We'll offer a pre-trip photography webinar / Q&A session to all those interested in our group. In addition to reviewing what to expect while on the trip, go over gear suggestions (both imaging + photography-specific clothing), and challenges of the shooting environment, etc.....we'll also talk about what level of photography you feel comfortable with and what you're looking to learn/practice on the trip.

  • Everyone will also receive our Photography Guide before the trip, with tips on how to photograph wildlife/in the sub-Antarctic region, a primer on shooting conditions, gear suggestions (both imaging and processing), etc.. You'll have everything you need to know long before departing, but if you still have photo-related questions...

  • Pre-trip access: When you're booked, you'll have access to Temu from the start. So ask away... and he'll be more than happy to answer well before departure.

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EXPEDITION LEADER + PHOTO PRO

TEMU NANA has been leading educational journeys around the globe for 15 years, and in particular photo tours the past 10 years with Open Sky Expeditions. As a successful professional tour manager—given his extensive experience in travel logistics, attention to detail, and knack for making people feel at ease—Temu’s ambitious international travel schedule quickly accelerated photography from a fun hobby to a profession. And in the process, he discovered an aptitude for teaching others how to compose the most compelling images and most effectively use their photo equipment. He first traveled on the Magellan Explorer to Antarctica 7 years ago, and has now been taking our Antarctica21-hosted groups yearly since 2019 (with only 2020 off when nobody went to Antarctica...), giving him direct and recent experience with our ship partner's model. Temu’s photography covers the gamut in styles, but his top passions are wildlife, landscape, and astro/night photography.

TRIP EXTENSIONS IN CHILE

This trip starts and ends in Chile, a country we know very well and can help you explore. Open Sky owner Alex Ros lived in Chile for seven years, and has been taking folks there since 2004 (with Open Sky since 2011). Reviews from our past pre- or post-expedition cruise extensions have been excellent. You can pick from one of pre-designed options below, or let us help you build one, either by adding to the pre-designed extensions, or doing something entirely customized. Feel free to ask us for more details when you inquire.

WILDLIFE NOTES FOR A TRIP IN THE AUSTRAL SPRING

Falkland Islands: 

  • Gentoo penguins: Adults return in September and begin building nests. Egg laying is usually in October but is highly variable +/- 3 wks) with 34-36 incubation period.

  • Magellanic penguins: Adults return in September, lay eggs mid-October.

  • Rockhopper penguins: Males return in late September/early October & females one week later.  

  • King penguins: They are on a 14-to-18-month breeding cycle, so rather ever-present. In late September/early October, large/small chicks & eggs are at various stages simultaneously. 

  • Black-browed albatross: Males return in late September. Females return in early October, with eggs usually laid in mid-October.

  • Southern Giant Petrel: Adults return late September to colonies. 

  • Rock Shag: Nest building commences in late September.

  • White-tufted Grebe: Nest building commences in late September, eggs laid up until late December.

  • Black-necked swan: Breeding between August & September; hatching in October.

  • Yellow-billed Teal: Egg laying starts mid-August.

  • Red-backed Hawk & Turkey vulture: Nesting can commence in September.

  • Elephant seals: Early spring top time to see them as young are born and suckled.

*Above are historically typical time periods. With climate change, some of these dates have been moving earlier than usual. 

South Georgia:

 

To begin with, we'll see a jaw-dropping number of king penguins. Like in the Falklands, they are on a 14 to 18-month breeding cycle, so are rather ever present. Large & small chicks will be at various stages simultaneously.

South Georgia has half the world's population of elephant seals. In the spring, they start to establish control of beaches, which can result in dramatic confrontations as they fight to become beach masters—a wild spectacle to witness. On a more endearing note, baby elephant seals are born towards the end of winter, and in the spring, the young pups (known as "weaners") are everywhere. They are not only much smaller than adults at the time, but when just weeks old they also tend to be incredibly curious of humans, and you may even find one approaching you. 

Early season also means that female fur seals haven't yet returned to the beaches—which is exactly what we want because once they do, the males become extremely aggressive, making it impossible to land on many beaches in South Georgia. 

It's also an ideal time for seabirds, and in particular the majestic wandering albatross, the bird with the largest wingspan on the planet. The most impressive place to see them is Prion Island, a Special Protected Area that's open only early & late in the season (it closes in the summer when albatrosses are mostly having their babies to minimize human harm to them). Spring is an ideal time to be there. 

[And all of the above is not to mention the other benefits of being around early in the season with fewer ships around resulting in less competition for landing sites, and also more pristine landing sites, more snow left on the majestic mountains, etc.]

RATES, INCLUSIONS, AND BOOKING

TRIP RATES    

Trip cost corresponds to cabin category once aboard ship. You can see details on the different cabin types here

PORTHOLE - $9,995  

VERANDA - $12,995   

DELUXE VERANDA - $13,995

PENTHOUSE - $15,995  

SUITE - $25,990  

SINGLE VERANDA - $23,995

TRIPLE - $16,995  

 

The above rates are per persondouble occupancy—except for the Triple which is triple occupancy, and the Single Veranda, which is for one person. 

For full rate details and terms and conditions, please review the trip's full PDF Brochure. 

READY TO BOOK THIS TRIP?

 

REGISTRATION FORM - Book now by filling out the trip's registration form with the button below, and pay a $3,500 per person deposit to confirm participation on the trip. 

FYI ONCE YOU BOOK - Once you are confirmed for the trip, we'll provide helpful pre-departure information including a pre-trip timeline & insurance recommendations. Flight booking guidelines and a private portal for participants will follow at the appropriate time.

HAVE MORE QUESTIONS? - We're happy to assist! Please contact us at info@openskyexpeditions.com, or call us at 1.884.OPENSKY or +1.212.441.0024

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INCLUDED IN THE RATE

  • Ship cruise aboard the Magellan Explorer as indicated in the itinerary.

  • Daily buffet breakfast and lunch on board ship offering a wide choice of dishes.

  • Daily served dinner on board ship offering a choice of three main courses.

  • Wine, beer, juice, and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner on board ship

  • Coffee, tea, chocolate, cappuccino, water and snacks on board ship throughout the expedition.

  • All guided shore excursions.

  • Lectures and entertainment on board.

  • Access to Antarctica21’s exclusive Explorer House in Punta Arenas

  • Comprehensive pre- and post-voyage information material.

  • Loan of waterproof boots for landing.

  • The contingency plan as described in the brochure PDF.

  • Landing fees and the IAATO passenger fee.

Plus, exclusively for participants traveling with Open Sky Expeditions:  

  • An Open Sky Expeditions Tour Leader & Photo Pro throughout the trip.

  • Open Sky Expeditions’ dedicated guide on Photography in the South Atlantic.

  • Access to our Tour Leader & Photo Pro before departure.

  • An invitation to a pre-trip webinar/Q&A session that will help you prepare for your trip, including covering key notes on photography for this trip (also recorded for later viewing).

  • Access to a private trip portal presenting everything you need to know before departure in a thoughtful, organized way.

These last five inclusions are exclusively for our group (our participants pay the same rates as other travelers on the same departure, but other travelers don't get these). 

Participants in our group also benefit from (amongst other things):

  • Our expertise in Chile offered at a reduced rate for custom pre- or post-trip arrangements.

  • Easy-to-purchase travel insurance with our dedicated partner

  • Guidance & assistance with flight arrangements

  • and more.

 

 

NOT INCLUDED IN THE RATE

  • Accommodation, meals, excursions & transfers other than those included in the itinerary and Contingency Plan 

  • Beverages purchased at the ship’s bar

  • Personal travel insurance (see here for recommendations)

  • Extra expenses (communication, laundry, souvenirs, etc.)

  • Gratuities onboard

  • Visa for Chile should it be required for you (U.S. citizens don't need it), passport expenses, and any arrival and/or departure tax, if applicable.

TRIP REQUIREMENTS

 

To participate on this trip, you will need:

  • Carry a passport valid for at least 6 months after the trip ends

  • Have travel insurance that at least covers emergency medical evacuation. This can be obtained after booking the trip. Click here to view details on the options offered via our partners Travel Insured International

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