In partnership with Natural World Safaris we are pleased to announce an exclusive Antarctica only adventure from 18th-30th November 2017. For this trip we have exclusively chartered the stabilised ship M/V Akademik Ioffe for a 12 night adventure, spending no less than 7 full days exploring the Antarctic Peninsula (with the possibility of 2 more 1/2 days depending on the weather!). It will be a voyage targeted at when Antarctica looks at its magnificent best, November, when the peaks are still white with snow and penguin colonies are still surrounded by ice. Here are the simple reasons why you should come with us.....
Spending at least 7 full days on the Antarctic Peninsula (and perhaps more) will allow us to explore at a very relaxed pace, taking advantage of light and weather conditions. It's vital in this part of the world that you have a flexible itinerary as conditions can change quickly, having this time will allow us to make the most of every opportunity. We will hopefully spend time in the Weddell Sea searching for magnificent icebergs and Adelie Penguins, before heading down the west coast of the Peninsula. Here we will cruise through magnificent bays of icebergs (hopefully with penguins hitching a ride) and visit some of the most photogenic landscapes. If conditions permit we will attempt a continental landing too. This will be a voyage of exploration, we have no time restrictions and will be able to use the light to its best. This means long days to fully immerse ourselves in the wonders of Antarctica.
Multi award winning professional photographers Andy Rouse and Andrew James will be running the full photographic program, including the popular evening image critiques in the theatre presentation room. The excellent expedition guides will be running a lecture program focussing on the wildlife, biology and history of Antarctica too.
The M/V Akademik Ioffe is a great ship for Antarctica. A purpose built research vessel, she spends the year cruising both poles on journeys of adventure. Since she has a maximum of 100 passengers she falls nicely between the much smaller (and less stable) ships and those in excess of 120 passengers which are not ideal for photographic cruising.
Perhaps her greatest accolade is her amazing stabilisation system, which is wonderful for crossing the Drakes Passage and for negotiating the inshore waters of Antarctica. For those who suffer seasickness there is an experienced on board doctor available at all times. Of course the Ioffe offers so much more....
With buffet breakfasts, buffet and/or plated lunches and plated dinners, the dining room can seat all passengers in one sitting. Attractively lit and comfortably furnished, it is served by our ship’s stewards and hosted by our Adventure Concierges. Our culinary team includes four chefs who are creative and outstanding in their commitment to quality, outstanding taste, and healthy preparation. If asked to describe the food we will say wholesome and filling, it's not gourmet but good standard expedition food that will keep you full!
On our first sea days from Ushuaia, subject to sea conditions of course, you will receive lectures from our team on photography and the ships team on history, wildlife and safety. You will be fed a lot too and it will be a great chance to get your sea legs and photograph the albatross that accompany the ship.
In Antarctica we will be out on Zodiacs as much as the weather and location dictates. We intend to visit all the best spots for photography, there is no point in talking itineraries now as that will change! You will receive daily briefings on the locations we are to visit, both in terms of photography and what you will see. In summary you will be busy!!
The Academik Ioffe is a Russian-flagged vessel and carries all current safety certifications required by Russian and international maritime law. An extremely experienced captain, crew and an ice-strengthened hull ( Lloyds Register 1A, Canadian Type B) provides an exceptionally safe combination. Safety and emergency equipment onboard the vessel is inspected and tested on a regular basis. A passenger lifeboat briefing and drill will be conducted on the first day of each voyage to ensure that passengers are familiar with onboard emergency procedures. The emergency equipment onboard the vessel includes two fully-enclosed lifeboats with a total capacity of 132 and four life rafts with a total capacity of 200.
In this day and age everyone wants to be connected with the outside world and it's a requirement that we are always asked about. Onboard Ioffe you will receive your own ship's email address, which you can use from your laptop to communicate with work or loved ones at home. Several ships areas have wifi that will allow you to send and receive emails using this address. You cannot use your usual email address, it will need to be this special one.
This is a text based email only, so no social media or sending images home. The cost is payable to the ship, it's a $30 charge for an "average" use that most people will have, higher use packages are available.
The M/V Akademik Ioffe has 6 cabin types with a price range for all budgets. Unlike other brochures we are telling the total truth about the cabins as we are an honest bunch of guys and girls, and you need to know what to expect before you sail. This is not a cruise ship and you cannot expect the same level of luxury as you would get cruising the Mediterranean. Cabins are comfortable not glamorous, there is sufficient storage space in all, plenty of charging points and comfortable beds. But, like all expedition ships, they are not like hotel rooms and most can be described as "compact". Since you will be spending most of your waking hours in zodiacs, on the deck looking at the scenery, in lectures, drinking beer, lounging in the sauna and sampling cocktails you will not need to worry about your room too much. They are comfortable, warm and cleaned everyday, that is all you really need on such an adventure. Remember too that all your bulky expedition kit is kept in the Mud Room downstairs so that will not be taking up all your available wardrobe space!
In general you pay for the size of the cabin and the lack of general "ship noise" therefore the most expensive cabins are on the upper decks and offer by far the biggest bathrooms and have a small sitting room. At the other end of the scale we offer same sex triple cabins that are for the more budget minded traveller who don't mind sharing with two others, sharing bathrooms with another cabin and understand that these are quite small rooms.
The lower deck cabins are perfectly adequate in size and have good facilities, but you are closer to the engines so you may hear more noise. (although the Ioffe is damped to reduce this). Whatever cabin you choose it's just a case of being totally realistic about it, NWS have more information on all of these and will be happy to talk to you about making the best choice for your individual needs.
All Andy Rouse trips are different because we try to have a very social atmosphere onboard. From the photographic side all of your needs will be catered for with regular training, mentors on hand for hints / tips, nightly "beer in hand" photo critiques and some fun competitions too. On the social side expect to have a couple of parties whilst on board and some other events that we wanna keep secret for now. It's important to have fun on these trips!
Antarctica is a wonderful place for the photographer. Whilst the light and conditions can sometimes be a challenge, you will be fully prepared for this with our onboard briefings.
Generally you will either photograph from a zodiac, attempt to stand up on land or from the panoramic deck of the ship as we cruise from one location to another. Whilst in Antarctica there is always something to see day and night, and our onboard Photo Mentors will help you make the most of it.
This is a great expedition for the photographer and non photographer alike, it will be fun and inspirational to all!
The weather in Antarctica can best be described as "changeable". Luckily the Ioffe has the latest weather charts downloaded several times per day so we can make plans to enter sheltered harbours and still make landings if the weather looks bad.
Of course storms can occur at any time in the Antarctic season and being on the stabilised Ioffe will mean that you are relatively protected from them. BUT storms mean wind and since your safety is always a concern, we may not be able to get you off the ship onto the zodiacs during a storm. You need to understand this ahead of time and be comfortable with it, no one can control the weather and we are at the end of the earth!
Expedition staff can make or break a trip and for the 2017 expedition we have a combination of experienced leaders, photo mentors and naturalists together with Natural World Safaris staff. This will not be the kind of cruise where you sit and are lectured at all day and everyday, we are more modern thinking than that! Of course you will receive full photographic training from Andy Rouse and his team of professionals, which will start during the Drake Passage crossing, since the Ioffe is very very stable. It is Andy's prime objective to give you enough confidence with your photography to fully make the most of all the opportunities that you are presented with. This includes workshops on composition, exposure, autofocus and telling a story with your work from all the team listed below. Don't worry if you are a novice, we will help everyone at their own level to achieve their goals. Once again on this expedition we will hold the popular evening photo critiques in the main lounge, looking at your favourite images from the day and giving positive feedback in a fun and lively atmosphere (which usually involves a drink or two). Here are your leaders in more detail:
Andy Rouse - is a professional wildlife photographer and will be joint expedition leader on this trip. Andy has won 24 major international awards for his photography, led many expeditions around the world, is a Canon Explorer and will be responsible for the daily itinerary plus all the photographic training that his team provides. In 2016 he will lead Gorilla Treks, an Arctic Polar Bear adventure and have his own migration camp in the Masai Mara. He led his previous Antarctica expedition from the front with business partner Will Bolsover.
Andrew James - is a photographic mentor, FotoBuzz co-founder and ex editor-in-chief of the UK's largest selling photography magazine. Andrew will be onboard as a photo mentor to help you to improve your photographic knowledge and get the most from the trip. He's an expert on LightRoom and will give lectures on a wide variety of photographic hints and tips.
Andy always works in partnership with tour operators that he can trust, as he wants his clients to have the best service that is possible. He has worked with brand leader Natural World Safaris for over 10 years, organising tours with them throughout the world.
Natural World Safaris and Andy Rouse Wildlife Photography Ltd are partners in this expedition to Antarctica. NWS will handle the booking process (including flights and transfers) and their staff will be on board at all times to assist with any issues that arise; therefore you can be assured that you will be looked after on board. Here is some more information about Natural World Safaris in the words of their founder, Will Bolsover.
The natural world is our niche. We work as a team of highly knowledgeable experts handcrafting only the finest trips that put our clients in the right place at the right time. Our creative itineraries are carefully designed to deliver extraordinary journeys featuring life changing and ethically responsible wildlife encounters and natural world experiences.
We have been taking clients into the polar regions for many years and pride ourselves on finding the right expedition ship and itinerary each and every time maximising your chances of seeing as much as possible and being in the right place at the right time.
We support many environmental and conservation ventures across the world. This ensures our extraordinary journeys are not only life changing for those who experience them, they are also ethically responsible. Many of the projects we work with are on the ground, grassroots initiatives that have a direct impact on the local flora, fauna, communities and culture.
Antarctica is a hugely fragile ecosystem so we ensure that all ships that we work with are members of the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). We look to work with small expedition ships with highly trained staff adhering to IAATO’s various wildlife watching guidelines.
Will Bolsover - As MD of Natural World Safaris, Will has over ten years of experience working in travel and continues to travel the world to seek out exciting new wildlife adventures. Delivering the highest standard of client care, from enquiry to post-trip, is one of the core values of on which Natural World Safaris was founded.
Tom Brown - Tom is the Product Manager at Natural World Safaris. He brings a huge amount of knowledge and operational experience on Antarctic Expeditions to the table and is extremely excited about this unforgettable journey. Tom has been a key member of the team developing this Photography Safari.
To book your place on this exciting trip, see detailed cabin configurations and deck plans, see what flight options are available or to simply discuss it with Tom Brown please either email him on NWS Sales or call +44 (0) 1273 691 642. Full terms and conditions will be provided of course.
Andy Rouse, his team and all at Natural World Safaris look forward to welcoming you on this adventure, it's gonna be cool!