Emperor Penguin Photo Safari
The Emperor Penguin is considered the only "true" Antarctic bird. Join ANI and spend a number of days among thousands of these magnificent birds, at an Emperor Penguin colony on the south shore of the Weddell Sea.
The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is considered the only "true" Antarctic bird. Breeding during the Antarctic winter when night lasts for months and temperatures drop as low as 60°C below zero, the males incubate the single egg atop their feet for approximately 60 days while their mates are at sea. The males huddle together in heat-conserving scrums, with the egg carefully balanced on their feet because they have no nest. Not only is the Emperor the largest and most vividly colored of the penguin species - it also produces the most appealing chicks. Breeding in large colonies, Emperors are sheltered by icebergs and coastal ice cliffs.
Until 1990 the ability to observe this majestic creature was out of reach for private individuals. Then Adventure Network International, as a pioneering trip, took four photo journalists and Frank Todd, a world renowned ornithologist, to a remote colony on the southern coast of the Weddell Sea. The trip was an instant success and we have continued to take photographers and enthusiasts each year since.
Arrival and preparation in Punta Arenas
Departure for Antarctica
Orientation to Patriot Hills Camp, Antarctica
With the Emperors and Exploring Antarctica
Return to Punta Arenas
- Pu 2000 nta Arenas
- Patriot Hills
TransportationCharter flight from Punta Arenas
Included In Price
- Antarctic briefing followed by refreshments in Punta Arenas, Chile one day prior to departure.
- Transfers to and from airport for Antarctic flights.
- Round trip flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to Antarctica including 55lb/25kg luggage allowance.
- All programmed flights within Antarctica.
- Meals and accommodation during your stay in the Antarctic.
- Celebration dinner after returning from the Emperor Penguin colony.
- Support of Field Guides and staff Physician throughout your journey.
- Use of recreational equipment while in Patriot Hills, Antarctica.
- Guided trekking, light climbing tours and activities around Patriot Hills area.
- Official ANI Emperor Penguin customized certificate.
Meals IncludedThis tour includes 9 meals; 3 breakfasts 3 lunches 3 dinners
Not Included In Price
- Commercial flights to and from Punta Arenas Chile.
- Meals and accommodation other than while in Antarctica.
- Airport transfers other than those for Antarctic flights.
- Personal equipment and clothing (polar clothing is available for rent from the local operator in Punta Arenas).
- Any additional expenses while in Punta Arenas due to delays.
- Any baggage costs over the confirmed program allowance.
- Insurance Coverage - Personal, Medical, Evacuation, or otherwise.
|Start||End||Twin share pp|
|27 Nov 2013||5 Dec 2013||AU$ 40200|
|Price in US Dollars.|
Day Pre tour: Arrival and preparation in Punta Arenas
Arrival in Punta Arenas
Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile 2 days prior to your scheduled departure date for Antarctica and make your own way to your hotel to settle in. Contact ANI staff to arrange a convenient time to meet you and give you information on Punta Arenas and surroundings.
The following day is busy with flight preparations. In the morning, you are invited to join us for an Antarctic presentation followed by refreshments. The presentation will include information on your flight south, the current weather situation and what to expect on your arrival in Antarctica. This will be the trip of a lifetime and we want to ensure that you are well prepared to enjoy it to the fullest. There will be time to ask any questions you may have and get to know your fellow travellers.
After the presentation we will agree a time to check your Antarctic clothing to ensure nothing has been inadvertently forgotten, issue you with any rental clothing you have requested, and then collect your checked baggage for loading on to the aircraft ready for departure the following day. Please ensure that your baggage complies with international air transport regulations. No hazardous goods such as fuels may be packed in your checked bags.
You are going to the interior of Antarctica, one of the most difficult places in the world to fly to. Every effort will be made to keep to the scheduled departure date, but please note that all flights are dependent on weather, aircraft serviceability, and local conditions. Days of delay are part of the Antarctic travel experience and should be expected. Our Punta Arenas staff will keep you informed of any schedule changes.
Please also note that in exceptional circumstances, if logistics permit and weather is exceptional, we may depart the evening PRIOR to our scheduled departure date.
No two Antarctic adventures are exactly the same. This is part of the magic and excitement of Antarctic travel. The itinerary below is intended to outline general program objectives and highlight typical activities and experiences. Exact timeline, activities, and program details will vary from trip to trip.
AccommodationHotel in Punta Arenas (not included)
Day 1: Departure for Antarctica
In the morning, we will call you at your hotel to advise you of current conditions in Antarctica. If the weather is suitable for our flight to Patriot Hills, you will be given just under an hour to prepare before being picked up at your hotel by bus.
At the airport we will pass through security, including x-ray of all hand luggage. As on regular scheduled flights, no sharp objects may be carried on board in your hand luggage or on your person. We then complete immigration formalities and proceed to the aircraft, allowing time for photos before climbing on board. After a safety briefing by the flight crew we will fly south.
The flight time from Punta Arenas to Patriot Hills is approximately 4.5 hours. The initial part of our flight passes over Tierra Del Fuego, or “ Land of Fire”, so named by Portuguese explorer Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan), for the native Yahgan people’s campfires that illuminated its shores. The ocean south of Tierra del Fuego, the Drake Passage, has been notorious throughout modern history for its wild storms, violent winds and heavy seas.
At approximately 60° south we reach the winter limits of frozen seas. This area of ocean is called the Antarctic Convergence and is rich in plankton and other tiny creatures that form the base of the food chain for Antarctica’s rich bird and wildlife colonies. We are now entering the area governed by the Antarctic Treaty.
At 66° south we cross the Antarctic Circle. Along this circle the sun never sets at the austral summer solstice and never rises at the austral winter solstice. Further south Antarctic days and nights lengthen until at the South Pole the sun rises and sets only once a year.
Continuing our flight south and if cloud conditions co-operate, below us we may see tabular icebergs and the ice shelves from which they calve.
Our first sight of the icy continent is Charcot Island close to Alexander Island, at 71° south. These islands lie in the Bellingshausen Sea, west of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The ice sheet continues to stretch inland until in the distance appear the spectacular Ellsworth Mountains, the highest range in Antarctica. We fly south along the Ellsworths to their southernmost extension, the Patriot Hills, where our runway comes into sight. The wheeled aircraft lands on an area of blue ice that is approximately 2600 ft (800 m) above sea level. The blue ice remains clear of snow due to katabatic winds that funnel down from the mountains with great force. On arrival you will be warmly welcomed and directed to our camp approximately 1/2 mile (1 km) away. Transportation is readily available, but most travellers enjoy walking up to camp as it provides an opportunity to stretch their legs and ta 2000 ke photos. Be sure to stay away from the active loading zone at the back of the aircraft, as well as off the ice runway.
At camp you will meet our friendly staff who will show you to your accommodation and settle you down to a welcoming meal.
AccommodationPatriot Hills or Union Glacier camp
Meals Included1 x Lunches1 x Dinners
Day 2: Orientation to Patriot Hills Camp, Antarctica
The Emperor Penguin group will meet in the morning for an orientation to Patriot Hills and Antarctica. Your guide will brief you on environmental and safety considerations for your time on the ice and update you on logistics and weather for your journey to the coast. You will tour camp to discover the intricacies of daily life in Antarctica and hear about the range of activities that are available to enjoy at Patriot Hills. Bring a pen, paper and any questions you may have to the meeting. The rest of the day provides an opportunity to acclimatize to your new surroundings and participate in optional, light activities. We want you to be well rested so that you get the most out of your time with the penguins.
AccommodationPatriot Hills or Union Glacier camp
Meals Included1 x Breakfasts1 x Lunches1 x Dinners
Day 3 - onwards: With the Emperors and Exploring Antarctica
Our flight to the Emperor Penguin Colony will take place on the first day that weather and logistics permit. Days before and after our time at the colony round out your Antarctic adventure, with opportunities to explore life in and around Patriot Hills camp as well as to enjoy the tranquillity and majesty of Antarctica—experiences you will not encounter anywhere else on earth. Please anticipate that you may spend several days at Patriot Hills waiting for weather before leaving for the colony. Storms over the Antarctic Peninsula often track over the Weddell Sea causing low cloud and poor flying conditions. In this case, your guide will organize daily activities at Patriot Hills and keep you updated regarding your departure.
Travel to the Colony
After breakfast and a final weather check by our pilot and guide, we pack up and depart for the Emperor Penguin Colony. The flight will take approximately 6 hours from Patriot Hills, travelling eastward over the Ronne Ice Shelf and Berkner Island, then along the coast, hugging the edge of the ice shelf. En route we will stop at our cache on Berkner Island to re-fuel the aircraft, giving us a chance to stretch our legs. Depending on conditions, we may break our journey here and camp overnight.
As we continue along the coast, we may see small groups of penguins on the sea ice, tucked in amongst icebergs as well as Weddell seals resting near tide cracks. Nearing our destination, our pilot and guide will assess conditions and decide where to land and set up camp. On arrival, our guides will scout the area, give a safety briefing, and set up a small field camp that will be our base for the upcoming days. In this unfamiliar environment and remote location, we ask that you strictly follow safety guidelines set by your guide.
At the Colony
Over the next few days we will be settled in the vicinity of the penguins. There will ample opportunities to learn about the habits of these birds from our ornithologist who will remain with the group for the duration of our stay. Each day there will be a new discovery: Weddell seals with pups; crèches of older penguin chicks; bristle-like discarded feathers; perhaps a lone Adelie penguin running clownish amongst the Emperors; or snow white Antarctic petrels that disappear against the equally white back-drop of the ice cliffs. Listening to the constant trumpeting and mingled calls of the colony it is overwhelming to think that each voice is unique and that parent and chick use these calls to locate one another amidst the thousands of other birds.
During our stay, we can expect a variety of weather conditions, from steely-grey overcast skies, to brilliant sunshine, to heavy coastal snowstorms. Twenty-four hours of daylight allow you to spend as much time outdoors as you wish and the guides will adjust meal times to suit the schedule you choose to keep. The soft light of the midnight sun provides some of the best photo opportunities and we may find ourselves up at “night” and sleeping during the “day”. Each day our guide will be in touch with Patriot Hills camp to report “all ok” and to check weather conditions.
Return to Patriot Hills
While the exact number of days we spend with the Emperor Penguins depends on weather conditions and varies from year to year, 4-6 days is likely. We find this is usually ample time to experience a variety of weather and photographic conditions, as well as explore all of the corners of the penguin colony. Our departure day will be dictated by the upcoming arrival of the aircraft from Punta Arenas, as well as weather patterns predicted on our flight route back to Patriot Hills.
As our aircraft takes off, we leave behind the now familiar trumpeting, whistles, and activity of the Emperors and the colony becomes little more than a black smudge amid the white and grey shadows of the coastal ice. Our flight to Patriot Hills retraces our outbound route, stopping once again at Berkner Island cache to re-fuel the aircraft. At Patriot Hills camp we will enjoy a celebratory dinner and toast our achievement. Not only have we seen one of the most remarkable and difficult birds in the world to view, we have spent time among them and got to know them as only a few other determined souls have done.
Patriot Hills Days
During your stay at Patriot Hills you can be as active or as relaxed as you wish, just let us know. Some outside activities are weather dependent but we are accustomed to changes in the weather and so have learnt to be flexible and weather resilient. Your guide will organize a daily program of activities, based on group interests and weather conditions. Some of the active pursuits you can enjoy include:
Snowmachine assisted tours to the local mountains; excursions to view unusual ice and rock formations nearby; an ascent of the Patriot Hills with panoramic views of the Ellsworth Mountain Range; opportunities to learn and practice cross-country skiing; short walking trips across the vast polar landscape; and navigation lessons.
Photographers will enjoy the unusual wind-sculpted snow features, ice pools, dramatic peaks, spectacular open skies and cloud formations, as well as the golden light cast by the midnight sun.
In camp, our experienced staff will share their knowledge of the icy continent, giving talks on diverse themes. You can join the meteorologist for weather observations; learn rope handling skills, track expeditions as they make their way southward; carve snow sculptures, play indoor games and exchange stories with some of the other adventure travellers you meet on your journey. The variety of activities available is only limited by your enthusiasm and imagination.
AccommodationCamp at Emperor Penguin Colony
Meals Included1 x Breakfasts1 x Lunches1 x Dinners
Day Return: Return to Punta Arenas
Weather pe 14fc rmitting, the aircraft from Punta Arenas will arrive in Patriot Hills on the scheduled departure day with a new collection of avid explorers and will take off with your group for the final leg of your Antarctic journey. Once the flight is confirmed, our client service staff in Punta Arenas will make hotel reservations on your behalf.
In Punta Arenas you will be met at the airport by ANI staff who will arrange for transfer to your hotel. We will assist wherever possible with any questions you may have.
Please note that you are travelling to an expedition base camp situated in the interior of Antarctica, the most isolated and windiest continent on earth. Every effort will be made to follow the above itinerary but it is offered subject to change at the discretion of ANI staff based on weather, aircraft serviceability, and local conditions. You will be accommodated and looked after in Patriot Hills during any flight delays to Punta Arenas.
Days of delay are a normal part of Antarctic travel. DO NOT plan anything important for a minimum of two weeks after your scheduled return. Give yourself time to enjoy this unique experience without the stress of pending commitments.