Antarctica the 7th Continent -Penguins, Whales and more!

Jan 25th- Feb 8th 2021

McKay Photography Academy Presents

The Seventh Continent

Exclusive Photography Expedition

January 25-February 8, 2021

We are down to the last few spots remaining! 

 

Toby Gelston who is one of our main instructors, is able to get special permission to fly a drone in Antarctica. Check out this incredible footage from our recent tour!

 

 

The Adventure:

This remarkable expedition departs from the far southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, Argentina.  After a two day journey across the Drake Passage, we will come to the continent of Antarctica. For many, the last continent on their list to step foot on! YES, we DO make landfall and even have some very special items in store for you! THIS ADVENTURE IS TRULY INCREDIBLE!

This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. Our route and exploration opportunities in Antarctica are heavily dependent on weather and ice conditions. Our experienced captain and expedition leader decide the itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities warrant. We take advantage of long daylight hours to exploit every opportunity to experience excellent wildlife viewing, amazing scenery, and excursions via Zodiac.

The Antarctic Peninsula region contains some of the world’s most impressive scenery and some of Antarctica’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. Protected bays and narrow channels are surrounded by towering mountain peaks covered in permanent snow and immense glaciers. Icebergs of every size and description complete an image of incomparable beauty. Waters rich with krill are home to a variety of whale and seal species. The whole area is alive with penguins foraging at sea and forming large nesting colonies at special places on land. The area is also home to Antarctic research stations of various nationalities. Some stations have a gift shop and post office.

Get close up and personal with thousands of Penguins! 
Image by David Carr
 
 
The South Shetland Islands are the northernmost islands in Antarctica and will likely be our first sighting of land. This wild and beautiful island chain contains numerous landing sites with abundant wildlife and historical significance. Among them is Deception Island, where the flooded caldera of an active volcano harbors an abandoned whaling station.

Farther south, on the Antarctic Peninsula, the vast Gerlache Strait area contains sheltered bays, accessible wildlife, and stunning scenery. Places with names like Paradise Bay are the epitome of everything Antarctic: glaciated mountains, towering icebergs, feeding whales, seals on ice floes, and bustling penguin colonies.

At the southern end of Gerlache Strait is the famous Lemaire Channel, also known as “Kodak Gap” because of the photogenic way the mountainous sides of the narrow channel are reflected in calm waters strewn with icebergs.

On this special voyage we have additional days set aside to push even farther south in our attempt to cross the Antarctic Circle. The landscape down here is especially desolate, the weather is particularly wild, and the waters are full of constantly shifting ice. This is real expedition cruising.

Our days in Antarctica are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by our experts, and enough incredible scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.

FAQ’s

Q. When is the best time to visit Antarctica?
A.  Generally between November and the end of February for many reasons. Typically, these are the times to be able to make landfall AND be up close to Penguins and their chicks. This is a remarkable life time experience!  This is also the optimal time of year for shore landings, wildlife, smoother seas, AND warmer climate. 

Q. How cold is it? 
A. Surprisingly, it is not that cold during this time of year which is summer in Antarctica. Typical temperatures average around 20-35 degrees Fahrenheit  With simple base layers and the parka that is yours to keep, you will find that you will be much warmer than you may have thought!

Q. Will we see and photograph wildlife? 
A. YES! You will be amazed at the amount of wildlife. You will get opportunities to get up close (VERY CLOSE) to penguins, and see whales, leopard seals, varieties of birds, and varieties of other marine wildlife. This truly an experience that cannot just be “explained” but has to be lived!

Q. How physically in shape do you need to be?
A. As there is very little hiking, and even that you can choose as an option, you do not have to be in great physical shape.  HOWEVER, you should be in realistically good heath and understand that although there are doctors as well as a medical clinic on board, we will be far from a hospital.  If you are in good health, and can walk a mile, you are just fine. 

Q. How rough are the seas? 
A. The Drake Passage can be very rough. On our past journey we had relatively smooth seas to and from Antarctica with very little seasickness by anyone.  Preparation is really the key. Prior to leaving port, the doctors on board give a seminar and help individuals prepare for sea sickness with patches and medications.  Most people do fine, however if you are easily sick from motion sickness, you should be aware that we are on a vessel in the Drake Passage. 

Once you are out of the Drake, the seas are typically smooth and the inlets can be complete mirrors as you can see in the video above. 

Q. Are the Zodiacs rough? 
A. No! Actually quite smooth and fun and there is an easy boarding and de -boarding process.

Q. Is it safe? 
A. Our ship, the Sea Spirit, will have some of the best and experienced crew available in the region. You can feel assured that you are in great hands while on board!

Q. How are the accommodation?
A. WONDERFUL!   Please see below for descriptions of the ship and rooms!

 

 

 

Click here to register by email
Our route allows for landings AND takes us past the Antarctic Circle.
A bucket list item for many! 
Click here to register by email

To register for this tour, please reply to this email, click the above link, or email hello@mckaylive.com 

At that time, you will be secured a spot on the tour UNTIL it is sold out. This is LIMITED AVAILABILITY! The McKay’s will then be in contact with final registration details. 

THE DETAILS:

  • Dates: Jan 25th – Feb 8th 2021
  • Price: $14,795 Superior & Class Suites for MPA!   ($17,295 Direct Ship and Tour company price),  Prices are $2500 LESS then if you bought direct from the ship itself and INCLUDE photography instruction and priorities for our group!  
  • $2000 deposit and a payment plan on balance offered interest free over 14 months. 

We have been able to negotiate with Poseidon Expeditions for our group specifically because of the relationship we have formed. This allows for less  cost for our clients as well as exclusive priorities JUST for our group ! 

We realize that this is an expensive tour, however, there is no other way to do this and actually make landfall and do what we do. These prices are actually  below  what we were even able to charge in 2016 and includes 3 additional days as well as all of your photography instruction, landing fees etc.  This is because we have been able to build a relationship with Poseidon Expeditions, one of the best expedition companies in the world. 

Bottom line, you cannot do an Antarctica tour like this, with all the MPA inclusions, for this price ANYWHERE including direct with the ship.
 

  • This price is  less than our last Antarctica Expedition, and 3 days longer allowing us to cross the Antarctic Circle! 
  • (single supplements are not available- we will pair you with a roommate of the same gender)
    • Non Photographer Friend or Spouse Rate Same price as it is already heavily discounted 
    • Upgrade to Deluxe or Premium Suites Available at an additional charge.
  • Zero Interest Payment plan option available:
    • Payments due over 14 months. ($2000 deposit required)
    •  

Included during tour dates:

  • Personalized Instruction with MPA team
  • McKay Team Image Reviews with Editing Instruction
  • Photographic Workshop Presentations.  David , Ally and the MPA team are official presenters on board! 
  • Luxury Expedition Ship Sea Spirit (max 114 passengers)
  • Larger Comfortable Suites
  • Arrival Night Hotel – Pre-Embarkation
  • All Transfers In-Country Included
  • Rubber Boots for Shore Landings – to borrow!
  • Zodiac Excursions and Shore Landings (weather permitting)
  • An Exclusive Expedition Parka is Yours to Keep! 
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner while on Board- Prepared by a chef and his team. 

NOT included:

  • Transportation to and from Ushaia, Argentina
    • Commercial flight accessible!
  • Trip Insurance (Required)
  • Personal Expenses such as soft drinks, alcohol, laundry, souvenirs, etc.
  • Staff Gratuities
Click here to register by email

To register for this tour, please reply to this email, click the above link, or email hello@mckaylive.com 

At that time, you will be secured a spot on the tour UNTIL it is sold out. This is LIMITED AVAILABILITY! The McKay’s will then be in contact with final registration details. 

Refund and Policies
Our hearts desire is for everyone to have an experience of a lifetime that you are unable get with anyone else! We work incredibly hard to make sure our guests are well taken care of, have plenty of photographic instruction and enjoy an amazing adventure. This is why our clients return again, and again!

Once your registration is complete, MPA will be in touch to work with you on a payment plan. 

Due to limited space, this tour is available on a first come first serve basis

The days are filled with memorable excursions, sumptuous meals, presentations by experts, photographic instruction, and enough stunning scenery and wildlife to fill your camera and overwhelm your emotions.

About our vessel:

  

Carrying a maximum of 114 passengers, the M/V Sea Spirit is an outstanding polar-approved vessel and the perfect home away from home. With luurious amenities paralleling that of a fine hotel, this all-suite vessel is highly maneuverable and capable of navigating the narrow bays and channels of polar waters. 

Un-biased Sea Spirit Review

AdventureSmith Explorations’ Sea Spirit review includes a detailed description of the small ship including deck plans and a photo gallery. Our polar experts have been aboard nearly every first-class vessel in the Arctic and Antarctica. Please read our Sea Spirit review below. 

Sea Spirit was built at the Nuovi Cantieri Apunia shipyard in Carrara, Italy, in 1991 as the Renaissance V, and subsequently sailed as the Spirit of Oceanus for Cruise West before being modified in 2010 to make her more suitable for polar cruising. The vessel has been operating on expedition voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica since late 2010.

The Sea Spirit is a luxury vessel and certainly one of the most accommodating ships to cruise polar waters. Stabilizers provide the smoothest sailing possible throughout the journey. Her open bridge policy allows guests to interact with the captain and officers while navigating landscapes from a special view angle.

Common Areas Aboard Sea Spirit

Spacious common areas aboard the Sea Spirit include a library offering a large collection of polar books and DVDs on the Club Deck, a presentation lounge with state-of-the-art equipment for briefings, lectures and recaps on the Ocean Deck, numerous outdoor deck areas to enjoy passing scenery and outdoor barbecues, a gym including aerobic and weight-lifting equipment on the Sports Deck, an infirmary with a licensed medical doctor and a polar boutique.

There is elevator access to all passenger decks, and a zodiac landing platform allows for rapid deployment of passenger landing craft on the aft of the Main Deck.

Meals Aboard Sea Spirit 

The Sea Spirit has a full-service bar, so expect spirits and wine to flow freely during the voyage. Plus, coffee, tea, cocoa and bottled water are available around the clock. Nightly four-course meals are prepared by top chefs and an expert kitchen staff. Special diets are easily accommodated with advance notice. Meals are served in a single, leisurely seating on the Main Deck.

Activities Aboard Sea Spirit

Optional excursions including hiking, kayaking, birding and snorkeling are available during your stay on the Sea Spirit. Daily briefings by staff naturalists prep you for any activity you may desire, as well as wildlife viewing. An onboard gym on the Sports Deck provides a great place to unwind. The gym is open daily and offers stationary bikes, several treadmills and some multi-functional training machines.

Cabins & Deck Plan Aboard Sea Spirit

All cabins on the Sea Spirit feature an exterior view and spaciousness not commonly found on other expedition ships of this size. All cabins have a flat-screen TV, DVD player, in-room safe, refrigerator, individual temperature control and hair dryers en suite. Satellite phone and internet access is available in every cabin. Private facilities in each cabin include a sink, toilet and shower. Nearly all suites offer either two twin beds or a king size bed, with the exception of the Owner’s Suite, which has a fixed king bed.

Triple Classic

Located on Oceanus Deck, averaging 226 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired, comfortable sofa bed, picture window and two wardrobes.

Main Deck Suite

Located on Main Deck, averaging 248 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired and a minimum of two portholes for exterior views.

Classic Suite

Located on Oceanus Deck, averaging 226 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired, picture window and two wardrobes.

Superior Suite

Located on Club Deck, averaging 215 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired and picture window overlooking outside walkway.

Deluxe Suite

Located on Sports Deck, averaging 258 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired, sliding glass door to private balcony and walk-in closet or wardrobe.

Premium Suite

Located on Sun Deck, averaging 323 square feet, with two twin beds that convert into a king bed if desired, en suite lounge area and sliding glass door to private balcony.

Click here to register by email
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