Antarctica Sailing and Kayaking
This is your chance to experience Antarctica as one of just 6 guests aboard a thoroughbred sailing yacht, where you will be wowed by the spectacular scenery and amazing wildlife of one of the last wildernesses on earth. As a small flexible group we can tailor-make our adventures and adapt itineraries to satisfy even the most seasoned adventure traveler. A cruise to Antarctica to see its dazzling landscapes and plentiful wildlife should be on every-one's "to-do" list, but this adventure simply beats them all! Added to this is the serious potential for real kayak adventures.
Departures are available between November and February. The best icescapes are earlier in the season. Penguin chicks appear around Christmas and the whales are numerous later in the season. It is best to plan and book at least 12 months in advance. While no special skills are needed to sign up for the trip, you will probably want to gain or improve some snow and ice skills or kayak skills in order to join fully in all the activities.
The Detailed Plan
Day 1- Fly from Auckland to Ushuaia, overnighting in Buenos Aires .
Days 2 — 6/ Drake Passage
Cath, Darrel will welcome you aboard, help you stow your gear and learn your way around the yacht before we head out down the Beagle channel for Cape Horn. If weather permits we will stop at the horn to visit the light house before beginning the 3 day crossing of the Drake Passage.
The Drake Passage was a surprising highlight of our last voyage. We quickly got used to the boat motion as we learned how to sail and to work together as a team.
Days 7-21 Our next days merge into each other as we cruise the relatively sheltered waters of the Antarctic Peninsula, exploring the wild and beautiful landscape and fascinating plethora of animal life.
Now’s your chance to take to the kayaks and slip along the side of an iceberg as lazy crab-eater seals plop into the water beside you, or perhaps to just drift along, wondering at the sheer immensity of the glacier wrapped mountains that loom over you.
There will be a number of opportunities for multi-day kayak trips should you desire, or you can always return to the comfort of the yacht at the end of a big paddling day.
Perhaps you’d like to take the snow-shoes and hike up a snow hill to take in the view that literally extends for 50 miles or more in the clear crisp Antarctic air.
Paradise Harbour, Lemaire Channel, Neumayer Channel, all offer dramatic scenery, but we will have the chance to cruise these and many other less visited places, in depth. The chance to see this "Last Paradise" as part of a small and flexible group offers opportunities for adventures that are beyond the realms of travel by any other means.
As an independent yacht we are able to visit tiny coves and shallow anchorages where one can enjoy the magnificent solitude of one of the remotest places on earth, while watching close-up the antics of the local inhabitants, curious leopard seals, playful humpback whales, or frenetically busy penguins. You are part of the landscape! - and we have the time and flexibility to stop and enjoy it. This is an expedition and you are a participant. As we sail through spectacular islands and straits you may take the helm or climb the mast to look for leads in the ice. Imagine yourself as one of the first visitors, early explorer or whaler, pushing into new territory, dwarfed by the awesome majesty of the landscape, and astonished by the amazing wealth of animal life.
Days 21- 26 After a couple of exciting weeks cruising….exploring….kayaking, we begin to watch for a weather window to sail back across the Drake and make a sailor's 'Rounding of the Horn'.
We head out into the Drake Passage to commence our 600nm ocean passage, We are sailing the "screaming sixties", with landfall in the "furious fifties" but thankfully the ‘state of the art’ weather systems aboard Spirit of Sydney help us to negotiate the deep lows the Drake Passage is legendary for. Often we are able to choose weather windows that provide a safe comfortable and fast passage across - and you’ll find that with the routine of watches at sea, the time passes quickly.
Weather and Sea Conditions
The Drake Passage between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula has a reputation for storms and big ocean swells. However, once we reach the Peninsula we are in waters sheltered from ocean swells. While the sea temperatures will hover between 1-3 degrees C and the air temperature will seldom get above 7 degrees, there should be plenty of fine or reasonably fine days. While you should not plan on getting an all-over tan, conditions aboard the yacht are remarkably warm and comfortable much of the time.
There will be opportunities to undertake long-distance kayak trips and multi-day shore based trips. For the less adventurous, the trip can be undertaken as a series of day trips from the yacht. There is no requirement to kayak or for technical snow craft. But having these skills will extend your options.
No specific technical skills are required to register for the trip. However applicants need to be confident of their ability to work with a group for extended periods within the tight confines of a 60 ft yacht.
During the year participants will be expected to participate in several training sessions and gain sufficient skills to safely undertake their planned activities.
Based on current exchange rates and available airfares the price ex Auckland is estimated at $18,500. This is is an incredible deal for 28days in the Antarctic.
Price includes full board on Spirit and airfares from New Zealand.
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