Apex Expeditions leader Shirley Metz

Shirley Metz

My greatest pleasure is taking people to parts of the world that they never could have imagined in the hopes that they will become inspired to protect them and the creatures that inhabit them.

South Georgia cruise slide of Fortuna Bay with penguins and glacier

“If I only had 5 days to live I would spend 3 of them at South Georgia; the other 2 would be spent getting there.” Fortuna Bay - simply picture-perfect.

Antarctica cruise slide featuring Chinstrap Penguins on an iceberg

No two icebergs are ever alike. And if they have penguins on them, such as these Chinstraps, ice doesn’t get any better.

Greenland tour slide of Arctic Willow Ellesmere Island

Only in the Arctic can one feel like Gulliver, a giant amongst the flora and fauna. This Arctic Willow (Salix Arctica) on Ellesmere Island creates a dense carpet just a few inches tall.

North Atlantic birding photo of Puffins

Sometimes referred to as “Sea Parrot” or “Sea Clown” the Latin name of Atlantic Puffin is Fratercula arctica, or ”our little brother of the North.”

Botswana safari tour image shows Cheetah

In 1900 over 100,000 Cheetah ran over their historic range. Today an estimated 9,000-12,000 Cheetah remain in the wild in Africa. Botswana is one of my favorite places to view them.

Petra tour image shows cliffs of solid red sandstone

Described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” by poet John William Burgon, the ancient city of Petra is carved into cliffs of solid, red sandstone swirling with color.

Expedition Leader Shirley Metz

Shirley Metz’s careers and accomplishments have spanned the globe. Born in Minnesota, she grew up in Europe and Hawaii, graduating from the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Shirley became a certified diver at age 16 and while at UH did shark research earning her degrees in Marine Biology and Communications. She met her first husband in Hawaii with whom she founded Hobie Sports. She also developed several active clothing lines and consulted to companies such as The North Face.

In early 1988 Shirley visited Antarctica and became inspired to work in Antarctic conservation. To raise awareness, Shirley became a member of an international expedition that would attempt to ski 800 miles from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole. On January 17, 1989, the nine-member expedition arrived at world’s end; Shirley made history and her way into the Guinness Book of Records as the first woman to ski overland to the South Pole. Following a chance meeting in Antarctica in 1990 Shirley married Peter Harrison and together formed the successful travel firm, Eco-Expeditions. As a Board Member of the Friends of South Georgia, under the auspices of the South Georgia Heritage Trust, Shirley raises funds for conservation and continues to promote awareness and support for environmental issues. She is a member of the Explorers Club and The Society of Woman Geographers.

Shirley continues to lead expeditions, both private and commercial. As a professional photographer Shirley documents her travels and lectures on various topics, including her South Pole expedition.

"Shirley is unlike any other guide we know of in the adventure travel industry. She has been a beloved companion in some of the greatest adventures of our lifetimes."

-Don T., New York

Shirley's Expeditions

Emperor Penguins of the Bellingshausen Sea (October 31 – November 19, 2021) green arrow linking to Emperor Penguins of the Bellingshausen Sea

Cross the Antarctic Circle aboard a hybrid electric icebreaker to the pristine west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, home to massive Emperor Penguin colonies.

Oman & Jordan (February 19 - March 6, 2022) green arrow linking to Oman & Jordan

Visit Oman’s stunning World Heritage Sites, explore wetlands and coastal desert for migrating birds, and witness Jordan’s ancient, rock-carved Petra.

Oman & Jordan (March 9 – 24, 2022) green arrow linking to Oman & Jordan

Visit Oman’s stunning World Heritage Sites, explore wetlands and coastal desert for migrating birds, and witness Jordan’s ancient, rock-carved Petra.

Seychelles (April 15–27, 2022) green arrow linking to Seychelles

An immersive Indian Ocean voyage from historic Zanzibar to the sculpted granitic perfection of the Seychelles, via the marine mecca of Aldabra Atoll.

Wild Britain & Norway (May 31 – June 14, 2022) green arrow linking to Wild Britain & Norway

Discover the remote coastlines of Great Britain and Norway, including the Lofoten Islands, with archeological sites, and rugged cliffs alive with massive seabird colonies.

Western Australia (August 19 – September 7, 2022) green arrow linking to Western Australia

A grand transect of Australia’s wild west coast—pristine reefs, historic archipelagos, seabird bonanzas, and Aboriginal art in the Kimberley’s red sandstone wilderness.

Pape'ete to Valparaíso (October 20 – November 13, 2022) green arrow linking to Pape'ete to Valparaíso

An epic 25-day journey that includes the Austral, Pitcairn, Easter, and rarely-visited Alexander Selkirk and Robinson Crusoe Islands, before ending in Valparaíso, Chile.

Deep South Antarctica (February 11 – March 4, 2023) green arrow linking to Deep South Antarctica

Explore a wild part of Antarctica few visitors ever see: south of the Circle, west of the Peninsula, among the little-known islands of the fabled Bellingshausen Sea.

Ask Shirley a question about her upcoming expeditions?

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One Guanaco; Two Guanacoes?

Lama guanicoe, or Guanacos (correct spelling for the plural of “guanaco”) are humpless camels of the arid and semi-arid habitats of southern South America. Found at elevations up to 14,500 feet, they are related to camels, as are Vicuñas, Llamas, and Alpacas. Standing between 3.5-4 feet high at the shoulder they weigh up to 300 pounds. Found in groups of up to ten females, the young, and a dominant male adult, guanacos are the largest native herbivore in Patagonia. Their soft, padded feet tread on soil and vegetation without damaging the environment and they conserve water like other camels.