In 1998, I was fortunate to visit Antarctica for myself. It was my seventh (and final) continent, but that was soon forgotten as I quickly fell under the spell of the ‘Ice’, and the experience left me changed forever! Over the last ten years I’ve been back several times, and arranged for over 750 people to visit Antarctica, travelling with almost all of the expedition and cruise ship operators. Many clients come back the following year to book another trip – beware, Antarctica is addictive! Antarctica is absolutely my favourite subject, and I would be delighted to share my experience with you to plan your trip of a lifetime.
My personal favourite experience was in 2008 when our little Kiwi group tramped the last 5km of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s crossing of South Georgia during the (in)famously epic “Endurance” Expedition. We were put ashore at Fortuna Bay and walked across a couple of passes down into Stromness where the old whaling station still stands, now surrounded by a guard of aggressive sea lions! We reached the small pass where the ‘Boss’ and his men heard the morning whistle from Stomness calling the men to work. That was the moment they then knew they would make it, and their crew’s lives would likely be saved. It was an emotional moment for all of us. Later that day we visited the whaler’s cemetery at Grytviken and paid our own tributes with a wee dram at Shackleton’s grave.
SOME ANTARCTIC HIGHLIGHTS
- Whale watching while zodiac cruising in Paradise Bay
- kayaking among icebergs in the Antarctic Peninsula
- Setting foot on the Antarctic (7th) continent
- Watching hilarious penguin social behaviour while nest building
- Sailing the narrow Lemaire Channel
- Enjoying the surreal sight, smell and sounds of tens of thousands of king penguins at Salisbury Plain.
- Walking the last 5km of Shackleton’s traverse of South Georgia.
- Sailing through ‘Neptune’s Bellows’ into the dramatic harbour of volcanic Deception Island.
- Visiting Scott & Shackleton’s expeditions huts in the Ross Sea
- Standing atop the Ross Ice Shelf
There are several small ‘expedition’ ships that visit the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula every summer – this is my favourite cruise itinerary and usually is 18-20 days duration, departing from Ushuaia in Southern Argentina. The ships are all ice-strengthened and are often former research vessels that have been upgraded for tourist use. There are now even a few first class vessels which are purpose built tourist ships, should you prefer additional creature comforts! I’ve seen most of these ships and would be pleased to recommend the perfect ship, expedition company and itinerary for your requirements. I’d highly recommend booking at least a year in advance to secure berths on these longer itineraries with the best expedition companies!