Ask an expert

Famous for its enormous icebergs, towering glaciers and shimmering summer light, Antarctica offers some of the planet's most awe inspiring landscapes. The North Atlantic and Arctic evoke images of sparse snow covered lands, but when summer comes it bursts with colour and life.

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Ask an expert

Postby alexcowan » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:41 pm

Hi all, I will be working on board MS Expedition from mid October until some time in February, so if you have any general questions about ship life or how a trip tends to work then feel free to post questions here and I'll do my best to help.

Alex Cowan.
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby PaulTeolis » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:58 pm

Alright Alex! And I will be your photographer in residence from December 20th to January 31st so will see you there for another great season.
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby macrae11 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:37 am

Hi Alex and Paul

Alex I'm sure there will be a lot of information given out on the trip in regards to wildlife, history etc but is there anything that might be good to read up on before arriving? Going to have lots of time to kill on the way there so I figured I might as well put it to good use.

Paul, you aren't on the sailing that I'm booked for but how does the trip photographer work on these voyages? Do you have to buy any photos shot by the crew, or are some/all available for download? Also any general photography tips for these locations, good lenses to bring, protection, transport on the zodiac etc.
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby PaulTeolis » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:08 am

what trip are you on macrea11?

I will let Alex pipe in on some of your questions. He is a wealth of information from his years in this region, and is a pleasure to travel with.

as for the photography side of things...
The photographer on board each trip is there to help the passengers with any photo questions,
or problems photo related. We generally give lectures, run small clinics to improve your photography, as it is a difficult area to photograph/

You don't have to buy anything. At the moment passengers are always trading images, what I shoot is generally for myself and I always put a slide show together at the end of each voyage.

As for needs. A dry sac for bring equipment on land is a good idea. It can get wet in the zodiac.
Bring a UV filter, good lens are up to your own needs and budgets, but a decent zoom 70-200
will cover most shooting needs. A wide angle for landscapes is a good idea too.

Bring lots of memory cards and spare batteries. Freezer bags are great to cover your lens if
it snows or sleet falls.

contact me anytime with more concerns if you have them
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby macrae11 » Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:20 pm

Hi Paul

We're on the Antarctica Classic In Depth sailing on Nov 17.

That sounds about what I was planning on bringing. The only other thing I was debating was buying a telephoto extender to get some longer shots, maybe for whale watching or something. My long zooms aren't terribly fast, but I'm assuming what with the near 24 hours of sun and snow and ice, losing a stop or two of light shouldn't be a big deal?

Thanks

Andrew
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby PaulTeolis » Wed Oct 02, 2013 12:09 pm

andrew,
I always have my 2x convertor with me and used it several times, so if it is not a large
expense you will probably find yourself using it.

You will still experience dusk, the nights become more twilight than full on sun, and
that gives you great opportunities for sunset photos.

p~
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby alexcowan » Wed Oct 02, 2013 8:03 pm

Hi Paul! Glad to hear you'll be on board again, look forward to travelling with you again!

Andrew,

If you're looking for reading then I think the below looks very useful, though I've never actually read it:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Antarctic-Penin ... 0565093088

Otherwise, look for information on the South Shetland Islands and the west coast of the Peninsula. James Weddell and other sealers and early whalers. Operation Tabarin is worth learning about too. On board, as well as varied experts (historians, ornithologists, mammologists, geologists etc) you'll be given a basic field guide (http://www.amazon.com/Antarctica-Cruisi ... 0958291632) which is well worth taking the trouble to read as soon as you get it. You get to keep that post trip too.

You'll be given a collection of photographs in the form of a slide show by the staff and the photographer to add to those you've taken yourself. I think Paul has given very good advice on what photography equipment to bring, and he's right that you can get very wet in the Zodiacs so have a way to keep your camera dry while travelling (like a dry bag). Also, bring a USB stick for swapping photos with other guests. Everyone runs out of memory card space it seems, so make that tiny additional investment in advance!

And the best photography advice -- occasionally put your camera away and experience Antarctica. Don't let all your memories be ones of taking photos!
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby macrae11 » Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:28 am

Almost getting to be time to leave and I've now got a few spare moments to start packing/thinking about things. Two more questions.

1: What's the onboard internet like? Speed, price? Not planning on using it a whole lot but it's nice to be able to send a picture here and there.

2: Are you able to bring outside drinks on the ship? My wife and I have unique tastes that aren't usually found on a typical ship but most cruises don't allow outside beverages.
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby alexcowan » Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:21 pm

Hi!

1.) If you buy 100MB it's $130. If you buy smaller packages it's more expensive per MB. As for speed it's very slow; think dial-up or slower as a guide. It all goes through a satellite.

2. Yes, you can bring your own drink on board no problem. It should go without saying, but naturally you can expect to be unwelcome (and/or be charged corkage) if you bring it to the bar and are being indiscreet about it. Otherwise you can go nuts!
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby denamac » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:13 pm

I am considering going on the Arctic Highlights Cruise in Sept. 2014. I am a single woman traveler age 56. Do these types of trip tend to have a diverse travel group? i.e. age, gender, solo travelers, etc.
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby markmol » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:02 pm

Hi Denamac,
all the trips i have been on with this company has had a diverse mix of people, there will be some you like a lot, some you don't like as much, but on a whole you will be travelling with like minded people. I am a solo traveller in my 50's & enjoy meeting & travelling with people of all ages & ethnic backgrounds.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby justdoug! » Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:34 am

denamac wrote:I am considering going on the Arctic Highlights Cruise in Sept. 2014. I am a single woman traveler age 56. Do these types of trip tend to have a diverse travel group? i.e. age, gender, solo travelers, etc.


Hello denamac,

I work on board the MS Expedition (and of your age group), and I think you will find our passenger diversity quite refreshing. Not only in ages, but in nationality and backgrounds. G Adventures tends to attract people who are looking for challenges and adventures instead of seeking a "peer group" style of travel. I hope we see you up north next summer!
Doug
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby psyclonejack75 » Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:28 pm

Hi Alex

Do you know the make/model of the kayaks used on the MS Expedition. What are the craft dimensions. I wanted to visit a local store here in Australia to check them out before I depart on the cruise.

Also are all passengers (who elected kayak option) assigned a two person kayak?
Has the craft been modified to now allow GoPro attachments?
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby justdoug! » Sat Dec 28, 2013 6:19 pm

psyclone,

I don't know the model, but the make of the kayaks is Prijon, made in Germany. The ones we use are full touring sea kayaks, and are very sturdy.

Yes, you will always in in a double kayak; either paired up with another guest, or in the event we have an odd number of paddlers, someone gets teamed up with one of our kayak guides. The guests are not allowed to go in solo kayaks.

Some of the kayaks have a Gopro mount already installed, but not most. If you bring a mount that has self stick tape, you are welcome to stick it on the boat you will be assigned for the entire cruise. Each paddler stays with the same boat, in the same seat for the whole cruise.

I hope you already signed up for kayaking, as it must be pre-arranged to kayak before you reach the ship.

See you soon!!
just Doug.
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Re: Ask an expert

Postby psyclonejack75 » Sat Dec 28, 2013 9:46 pm

Thanks for the info justdoug!

Yes, I have booked the cruise plus reserved a kayak seat and a sleeping bag to camp.

Is there a particular GoPro mount I should be looking to buy? ie suction cup? Jaws? attachment or just find some self stick tape ???
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