Visionary Wild, LLC • 2200 19th St. NW, Ste 806, Washington, DC 20009

E-mail:    •    Tel: 1-202-558-9596 (9am to 5pm, EST).

Justin Black – Managing Director: 1-202-302-9030 • Email:

Jennifer Woolley – Director of Operations • Email:

We look forward to hearing from you!


Limit 6 spaces | $* Register
Expedition January 16 - 30, 2019 | View other workshops

Antarctica by Yacht II with Michael Melford

Map via Google

A Fly-In – Fly-Out, Antarctic Photography Expedition Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp

Note: As this opportunity has developed on very short notice, and availability of berths is limited, this expedition may be booked directly through our office only. Please either call us at +1-202-558-9596 or email Director of Operations Jennifer Woolley at to book this trip or be added to the waiting list. Online bookings for this expedition are not enabled at this time.

We are pleased to offer this intimate private-charter photographic expedition, including round trip flights across the Drake Passage, 12-nights aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, and instruction and guiding throughout by National  Geographic photographer Michael Melford.

Ocean Tramp is a 20-meter motor-sail yacht (specifically, a ketch) which is operated by personal friends of Visionary Wild founder Justin Black, whose company Quixote-Expeditions specializes in small-vessel Antarctic adventures. In an era when Antarctic expedition vessels are getting larger and larger, Ocean Tramp offers a wonderful way to go with a very small group of just six guests, on a comfortable vessel that can get into locations that bigger ships can't reach.

Spend almost two weeks on location at Antarctica, rather than wasting precious days "rockin' and rollin'" on the Drake Passage crossing. As master of the boat, Michael Melford will work with Captain David Roberts (U.K.) to choose the best route to maximize the photographic opportunities at destinations along the way, responding to local conditions of weather and ice. Captain Roberts and Ocean Tramp’s experienced first mate and cook have an excellent track record of delivering exceptional Antarctic experiences for their guests.

Ocean Tramp normally sleeps eight guests in four cabins, but we are limiting the group size to six to eliminate crowding onboard, in the Zodiac, and at landing sites. The boat's Shackleton Suite features an en-suite private bathroom, while the other three cabins share two bathrooms.


Jan 16: Arrive in Punta Arenas, Chile, by late morning for airport pickup and transfer to Hotel Cabo De Hornos, followed by a group dinner with Michael at one of our favorite restaurants.
Jan 17: Transfer to the airport for our quick and comfortable jet flight over Cape Horn and across the Drake Passage to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands, where we board Ocean Tramp and begin our adventure.
Jan 17-29: Aboard S/V Ocean Tramp, photographing the wildlife, ice, and landscapes of the Antarctic Peninsula, south to Lemaire Channel and Vernadsky Research Base, using our vessel's size and maneuverability to access places that larger ships can't get to.
Jan 29: Disembark Ocean Tramp for the flight back to Punta Arenas. In Punta Arenas, after transferring to Hotel Cabo De Hornos, the group will enjoy a celebratory final dinner at one of Punta Arena's best restaurants. Overnight at Hotel Cabo De Hornos.
Jan 30: Transfer to Punta Arenas airport to catch your departing flight.


• Attentive and personalized photographic instruction throughout by Michael Melford
• Use of S/V Ocean Tramp and its Zodiac, as well as the services of the experienced crew
• Specially arranged round-trip flights on DAP Antarctic Airways, aboard a four-engine BAE 146 jet, from Punta Arenas to King George Island (seats on these flights typically cost between $6,000 and $8,000 per person).
• Two hotel nights in Punta Arenas (Jan 16 and 29)
• All meals from dinner on Jan 16 to breakfast on Jan 30 (including wine/beer with dinners).
• All necessary transfers from arrival to departure in Punta Arenas, Chile.


• Shackleton Suite (perfect for a couple, with en suite bathroom) – Double-Occupancy at $21,500 per person
• Cabin #3 (a fairly spacious cabin in the bow) – Double-Occupancy: $18,500 per person, or Single-Occupancy for: $25,750 per person
• Cabin #2 (Twin bunks, third most spacious) – Double-Occupancy: $16,500 per person; Single-Occupancy for $24,750
• Cabin #4 (Twin bunks, least spacious) –  Single-Occupancy only for $22,495

Note: Single-Occupancy bookings are limited to two guests total. Group size is limited to six guests total.

A 50% deposit is required upon registration, with the remaining 50% balance due by September 6, 2018.

Modified Cancellation and Refund Terms

Please note that due to the significant commitments involved in chartering the vessel for this trip, the following cancellation and refund schedule will apply, based on date cancellation notification is received:

  • 121 or more days prior to expedition start date: Full refund (less any non-recoverable credit card processing fees)
  • 120 to 91 days prior to start date: 25% of package cost non-refundable
  • 90 to 61 days prior to start date: 50% of package cost non-refundable
  • 60 days or less before start date: No refund

Travel insurance and medical evacuation insurance are required for this trip.

If you have any questions at all, please let us know. We hope you will join us on this Antarctic adventure!

Contact or +1-202-558-9596 to register or for more information.


VIDEO TOUR OF INTERIOR OF S/V OCEAN TRAMP, by our friend Laura Smith of Quixote-Expeditions:

Michael Melford

National Geographic Photographer Michael Melford has worked with the Society for over 30 years. He has produced 19 feature stories for National Geographic magazine, and over 30 stories for National Geographic Traveler magazine.Born in New York, Michael received a bachelor’s in photography from Syracuse University and returned to New York City in 1977 to start his career.

He has been on assignment the past eleven years mostly for the National Geographic magazine, celebrating the marvels of our National Parks: Acadia, Glen Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Waterton/Glacier, and Death Valley, and a cover story on Our National Parks in Peril (2006). Michael recently shot for National Geographic's "The 50th Anniversary for the Wilderness Act" (2014), which was ranked #2 story of the year by the readers of National Geographic. Other National Geographic stories include: “Saving Civil War Battlefields,” “King Herod: Architect of the Holy Land,” and “Russian Kronotsky Preserve: Let it Be.” and “Solar Energy”.

Michael has produced photography for eight books for National Geographic, including three in Alaska, his favorite being Treasures of Alaska. He has received many awards for his photographs, but prefers to remain humble and share his knowledge, his love of nature, and his sense of humor with students of photography.

Michael has built an excellent reputation as an instructor and photo trip leader, teaching photography through the National Geographic, giving one-day seminars around the country, and onboard the various ships that NG has stationed around the world. His first photo expedition with Visionary Wild is to New Zealand’s south island, focus of a March 2014 feature article for National Geographic magazine.


VIDEO INTERVIEW: Michael Melford, Photographer, by National Geographic Live!


Born in New York 1950

Studied Photography at Syracuse University, Graduated 1973

Moved to New York City to pursue Career in Photography 1977

Contributing Photographer to LIFE Magazine, 1981

Worked for many publications including cover articles for :

Newsweek,  Time,  Life,  Fortune,  Smithsonian,  Geo,  Travel & Leisure, 

Travel Holiday, National Geographic Traveler,  Coastal Living,  Adventure Magazine.

Contributing Photographer to National Geographic Traveler, 1998

Began work for National Geographic Magazine (yellow magazine) 2003.  First assignment:  Acadia National Park. 

Just completed 19th assignment for National Geographic Magazine.


Awards include:  

POYi-1st Place Features Nature/Science

World Press Images Photos of the Year    

International Center of Photography

New York Art Director’s Club

Communication Arts Photo Annual

Graphis Photo Annual

The Missouri School of Journalism

Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Photography

Caribbean Tourism Award for Best Magazine Photographer


Books Published:

New England: Land of Scenic Splendor (National Geographic)      

The Emerald Realm (National Geographic) 

Canada’s Incredible Coasts (National Geographic)        

National Geographic Guide to New England

National Geographic Guide to Alaska

National Geographic Guide to San Diego

The Smithsonian Guide to Historic America   

Classic Photographs (Life)

Big Sky Country (Rizzoli)        

Treasures of Alaska (National Geographic)

Hidden Alaska-Bistol Bay and Beyond (National Geographic)

A Day in the Life of Japan ( Collins )

A Day in the Life of America ( Collins )

Expertise is in shooting the wonders of travel and nature and the people who occupy that landscape. An enthusiastic teacher of photography, with a great sense of humor.


  • 13-night private charter of S/V Ocean Tramp, a comfortable and capable 20-meter ketch perfectly suited to small-group Antarctic exploration
  • Small group size, limited to no more than 6 guests
  • Includes round-trip flights across the Drake Passage aboard a BAE 146 Jet. Flight duration is about two hours, which frees up an extra four days on location in Antarctica, significantly reduces the potential for seasickness, and increases general safety.
  • Frequent landings to make the most of photographic opportunities along the coast and on the islands
  • Excursions by Zodiac among the icebergs
  • Generous and personalized photographic instruction throughout by Michael Melford

Accommodations & Travel

  • Punta Arenas, Chile, nights of January 16 and 29: Hotel Cabo De Hornos, an excellent and modern hotel located in central Punta Arenas, conveniently close to the best restaurants and the waterfront.
  • Antarctica: 13 days/12 nights from January 17 t0 29, private charter vessel S/V Ocean Tramp
airplane iconcar iconboat iconfoot iconweather icon
Fly to Punta Arenas, Chile (PUQ) for our initial group meeting. Flights across the Drake Passage from Punta Arenas to King George Island are included. All ground transfers are included. At King George Island, we will embark on S/V Ocean Tramp for a 12-night private charter to explore the Antarctic Peninsula. Walks at landing sites will be easy to moderate. On the Antarctic Peninsula in January, expect temperatures around freezing (0ºC to +2ºC) most of the time, with a mix of wind, sun, overcast, and possible rain showers.