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Who has done the Drake Crossing? How was it. Cruising Antarctica February 2020. Please give details.

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Who has done the Drake Crossing? How was it. Cruising Antarctica February 2020. Please give details.

 

Our Drake Crossing wasn't rough.

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Late December, 2017 aboard the Zaandam:

 

A severe storm was projected to cross the Drake Passage as we were to sail towards Antarctica. Very high winds and waves were forecast. The Captain chose to delay our departure from the tip of South America by 18 hours to allow for the storm to pass. He sailed the ship into the shelter of some islands near Cape Horn and we sailed a "race track" pattern, slowly, for those 18 hours. When we did begin our transit of the Drake in the vicinity of Cape Horn, the seas were rough. How rough? I was in the Crow's Nest and I found it difficult to maintain my footing when I was standing. This did not last long, however, and the rest of the transit was quite normal.

 

Going to bed that evening, looking towards the West. the end of the storm system was still visible on the horizon and it surely looked nasty even at some distance.

 

Even with the delay, we had 3 and one-half days of wonderful sightseeing, including the first day and a half when one Officer with whom I spoke said it was the most pleasant weather he had ever seen in that part of the world: blue skies with whispy clouds, light winds, cool but not unpleasant temperatures on the open decks.

 

It was a great cruise experience!

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We also crossed in Feb. '17...smooth as glass both ways. I had been so dreading that part of the trip and actually delayed booking any sort of Antarctic trip for years on account of it. It's luck of the draw. Someone on CC once posted, "the Drake isn't that bad...until it is". Go prepared with sea bands, dramamine, ginger pills...etc. and you should be fine. Wishing you "Drake Lake"!

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Who has done the Drake Crossing? How was it. Cruising Antarctica February 2020. Please give details.

 

How it was for any of us of course doesn't mean that's how it will be for you. You might have the Drake Lake, or the Drake Shake.

 

Both of our crossings during our Jan./Feb. 2013 expedition cruise were fairly rough. It was awesome. I know I'm probably in the minority in saying that. The elevator was closed, guide ropes were strung in passageways, many of the passengers stayed in their cabins. I enjoyed being up on the bridge, or out on the stern watching the many birds that follow ships through the Drake, including wandering albatross.

 

Enjoy your trip!

 

enhance

 

enhance

 

(photos by turtles06)

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Jan/Feb 2018 we had a smooth crossing down, a bit rougher on the way back. But watching the weather reports, we were lucky, because there were some significant storms that passed through in the meantime.

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Turtles06 - Thanks for the reminder of the joy watching the birds following the ship, especially the beautiful albatross. We even had one bird land on deck.

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I have done it quite a few times including in a force 11 storm. The rougher the better as far as I am concerned - its your visa entry to Antarctica!!

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Drake Lake on each of our trips.

 

 

Lake, or Shake, you won't know until the time and it's not worth worrying about: it's what happens on the way to the most amazing place.

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Smooth down in February

No one made it to lunch and not many to dinner on the return. And we left early to avoid a storm

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We were in Antarctica in February this year. We had the Drake Lake on the way down and the Drake Shake on the way back. I am very prone to seasickness and I use the patch. It is the only thing that works for me. Several people were sick on the way back....the ones who were unprepared. There is a reason the chairs are chained down in the restaurants!

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I have done it quite a few times including in a force 11 storm. The rougher the better as far as I am concerned - its your visa entry to Antarctica!!

 

I was happy to enter Antarctica visa free!

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When we did it, it was disappointing. The sea was only slightly rough going south and very calm coming back north. I just can't see the point of going to Antarctica across the Drake Passage if you don't get to enjoy rough seas.

 

However, mother nature did make up for it because when we got to Cape Horn, we had a force 10 gale. It was really cool. I enjoyed it.

 

It was also fun watching the pilot boat try to put the pilot on board. It took about 2 hours for him to get on board.

 

DON

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:)Thank you

 

 

Late December, 2017 aboard the Zaandam:

 

A severe storm was projected to cross the Drake Passage as we were to sail towards Antarctica. Very high winds and waves were forecast. The Captain chose to delay our departure from the tip of South America by 18 hours to allow for the storm to pass. He sailed the ship into the shelter of some islands near Cape Horn and we sailed a "race track" pattern, slowly, for those 18 hours. When we did begin our transit of the Drake in the vicinity of Cape Horn, the seas were rough. How rough? I was in the Crow's Nest and I found it difficult to maintain my footing when I was standing. This did not last long, however, and the rest of the transit was quite normal.

 

Going to bed that evening, looking towards the West. the end of the storm system was still visible on the horizon and it surely looked nasty even at some distance.

 

Even with the delay, we had 3 and one-half days of wonderful sightseeing, including the first day and a half when one Officer with whom I spoke said it was the most pleasant weather he had ever seen in that part of the world: blue skies with whispy clouds, light winds, cool but not unpleasant temperatures on the open decks.

 

It was a great cruise experience!

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It was also fun watching the pilot boat try to put the pilot on board. It took about 2 hours for him to get on board.

 

 

 

DON

 

 

 

Lol that's my favourite 2am entertainment !!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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The Drake is MISERABLE. It is the worst 4 days of my life. I never thought I'd rather be working than on vacation, but the Drake definitely made me rethink that thought. It's rougher than the Tasman Sea, North Atlantic, or really any ocean or sea I have EVER BEEN ON. IT IS AWFUL! I have sailed to South Georgia Island as well, and that is at least a little better.

 

We were on a small expedition ship, The Kapitan Khlebnikov, which is a Russian ice breaker with no stabilizers so that may have made it worse than being on a large cruise ship.

 

The boat had everything strapped down, and had seat belts in beds and nets as well. Everything had the sticky carpet runners on all surfaces to keep things from sliding. All the table cloths were wet to also keep things from sliding. They put Emesis bags every two feet in the hall. I felt like I was walking up hill when going down a hallway. It was miserable. Absolutely awful, and I never get see sick have been on MANY cruises.

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The Drake can be MISERABLE.

Fixed that for you. ;)

 

I’m lucky (or unlucky) enough to have had the Drake Lake on two of my crossings. I’ve experienced a slightly more proper Drake, when the sixth deck of the ship was getting hit by spray from the bow, but it was thankfully a front-to-back bucking instead of the awful side-to-side sway.

 

Having actively followed the expedition logs for some of the ships, most trips land somewhere in the middle. People who are prone to seasickness can have a rough time, but for most passengers, it’s not a huge ordeal if they’re good about taking motion sickness meds before they start to feel sick.

 

Like everything else in Antarctica, the best strategy is to hope for the best, and plan for the worst.

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Fixed that for you. ;)

 

I’m lucky (or unlucky) enough to have had the Drake Lake on two of my crossings. I’ve experienced a slightly more proper Drake, when the sixth deck of the ship was getting hit by spray from the bow, but it was thankfully a front-to-back bucking instead of the awful side-to-side sway.

 

Having actively followed the expedition logs for some of the ships, most trips land somewhere in the middle. People who are prone to seasickness can have a rough time, but for most passengers, it’s not a huge ordeal if they’re good about taking motion sickness meds before they start to feel sick.

 

Like everything else in Antarctica, the best strategy is to hope for the best, and plan for the worst.

 

I have spent over almost 300 days on expedition and cruise ships and never get sea sick. Everyone was down for the count. No amount of seasickness meds would help this misery even with premedication (which I did take because we were already heavily warned). The boat would rock 25-30 degrees regularly for days. I watched the inclinometer they had in the library trying to see how high it could hit.

 

Thankfully the way back wasn’t as bad but was still miserable. Like I said, I think the fact that the boat lacked any stabilization system just amplified the awfulness. Some who had been down before on a different expedition ship said it was the worse they had experienced. When I went on another expedition to South Georgia and Falklanfs only (skipped the peninsula as the whole goal was to spend as much time on South Georgia as possible) while not crossing the Drake but still skirting it, it was not as bad. It was on the Akademik Vavilov and that ship was much more stable.

 

What boat were you on? I am glad you had a great crossing. I wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy.

 

Overall, I agree, it definitely is luck, and you can get varying degrees of the Drake. There is a reason they started offering expeditions where you can fly to Kjng George Island, Antarctica and pick up the boat there as the Drake can be such a deterrent.

 

I would imagine the cruise ships that go to Antarctica have much less rocking as the size of the boat would reduce the amount of rocking considerably. Plus they have very advanced stabilization systems.

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So far I’ve only done it on the MS Expedition and the MV Fram. Nowhere near as top-heavy as the Khlebnikov!

 

I would guess they’re a bit more pleasant in typical Drake conditions, but I’ve still heard some crazy stories from both. On the trip immediately after ours on the Expedition, they actually had a partial lockdown and encourged everyone to stay in their cabins for the day due to the risks of moving about the ship! I asked about this on the Fram, and the staff said that in those cases they don’t even need to ask, because everyone is generally too sick to come out anyway!

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Don't forget that the presence of stabilisers doen't mean you will feel their benefit in all weather. If there's ice around then they are tucked out or harm's way rather than allow the ice to remove them!

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So far I’ve only done it on the MS Expedition and the MV Fram. Nowhere near as top-heavy as the Khlebnikov!

 

I would guess they’re a bit more pleasant in typical Drake conditions, but I’ve still heard some crazy stories from both. On the trip immediately after ours on the Expedition, they actually had a partial lockdown and encourged everyone to stay in their cabins for the day due to the risks of moving about the ship! I asked about this on the Fram, and the staff said that in those cases they don’t even need to ask, because everyone is generally too sick to come out anyway!

 

The Khlebnikov felt like it was being tossed around like a rubber ducky. The Vavilov was a notably more pleasant voyage. While not crossing the Drake it did skirt the top of the Drake passage out to South Georgia. there were some pretty rough seas, but it was nothing like the Drake.

 

The year after we went the Khlebnikov got stuck in the ice. Thank goodness we weren’t on that ship.

 

How was the Fram and Expedition? Was that through Hurtigruten?

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Don't forget that the presence of stabilisers doen't mean you will feel their benefit in all weather. If there's ice around then they are tucked out or harm's way rather than allow the ice to remove them!

 

Well the Khlebnikov is a Russian Icebreaker sin i don’t know if it even comes equipped with Stabilizers. We were breaking through ice most of the time. It can run till up to 90% pack ice density and at that point the ice gets too thick. There are some pics in the book I made of it breaking ice. It had helicopters so you could see from above just how it split the ice. It was impressive.

 

http://www.blurb.com/b/647707-antarctic-expedition

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The Khlebnikov felt like it was being tossed around like a rubber ducky. The Vavilov was a notably more pleasant voyage. While not crossing the Drake it did skirt the top of the Drake passage out to South Georgia. there were some pretty rough seas, but it was nothing like the Drake.

 

The year after we went the Khlebnikov got stuck in the ice. Thank goodness we weren’t on that ship.

 

How was the Fram and Expedition? Was that through Hurtigruten?

 

When "your" ship got stuck in the ice the next year, was that the time a few years ago when the first rescue ship also got stuck for a while?

 

We remember watching/reading about that every day for a while (and several times throughout the day), just hoping everyone would be okay....!

Fortunately, everyone was, but it did seem a bit dicey for a while! :eek:

 

GC

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The Khlebnikov felt like it was being tossed around like a rubber ducky. The Vavilov was a notably more pleasant voyage. While not crossing the Drake it did skirt the top of the Drake passage out to South Georgia. there were some pretty rough seas, but it was nothing like the Drake.

 

The year after we went the Khlebnikov got stuck in the ice. Thank goodness we weren’t on that ship.

 

How was the Fram and Expedition? Was that through Hurtigruten?

Fram was with Hurtigruten, and Expedition is G Adventures. The Fram is beautiful, and I love the panoramic lounge. However, she's a little big for me, and sometimes she really felt a little too fancy (She's nicer than a few traditional cruise ships I've been on!). I love the size of the Expedition, and she has the perfect middle-ground comfort level for me. You'd never mistake her for a cruise ship, but she's comfortable enough. Kind of like a mid-range hotel. The expedition staff were great on both, and some of the lectures on Fram were very impressive, but the G staff spends a lot more time mingling with passengers, so you can learn a lot more outside of lectures. I also fit the G passenger demographics a bit better, as there are more solo travelers doing cabin-shares and a fair number of people who've done some of the more adventurous land-based G tours before.

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The Drake is MISERABLE. It is the worst 4 days of my life. I never thought I'd rather be working than on vacation, but the Drake definitely made me rethink that thought. It's rougher than the Tasman Sea, North Atlantic, or really any ocean or sea I have EVER BEEN ON. IT IS AWFUL! I have sailed to South Georgia Island as well, and that is at least a little better.

 

We were on a small expedition ship, The Kapitan Khlebnikov, which is a Russian ice breaker with no stabilizers so that may have made it worse than being on a large cruise ship.

 

The boat had everything strapped down, and had seat belts in beds and nets as well. Everything had the sticky carpet runners on all surfaces to keep things from sliding. All the table cloths were wet to also keep things from sliding. They put Emesis bags every two feet in the hall. I felt like I was walking up hill when going down a hallway. It was miserable. Absolutely awful, and I never get see sick have been on MANY cruises.

 

The KK is a full class icebreaker - not a 'small exhibition ship' and certainly not a 'boat'. The zodiacs on board are boats! Remember the saying "A boat can fit on a ship, but a ship cannot fit on a boat" - it saves insulting the captains by referring to their vessels as mere boats!!

 

I have had 66 days on the KK including the previously mentioned force 11 storm, and the far far rougher Southern Ocean. Loved every second of it. As did the majority of the crew, expedition team, and passengers (most of whom have been on the KK many times). The rough seas were some of the most grandest times I have had in my life. No one was miserable except the 5 or 6 people who did suffer terrible seasickness but as they had been on the KK plenty of times they were well prepared and had packed all their usual remedies, and the doctor was giving them phenergan injections regularly.

 

The boat would rock 25-30 degrees regularly for days. I watched the inclinometer they had in the library trying to see how high it could hit.

 

 

 

Lol - on both of my trips we hit the magic 55 and 60 degree tilts. It was fun sitting in the lounge balancing a hot chocolate (I was smart and took a thermos cup with screw on lid, having already met past travellers who mentioned cups of tea spilling etc) as we all were ready to photography the inclinometer (or as we dubbed it - the tiltometre!!) when it hit the highest sway point. Not to mention lining up at the bridge (or further above on the outer deck for the well balanced and braver mob) for the iconic "huge wave over the bow" photos. Also fun the time we had to form a human chain in order to get everyone out of the bridge when the captain deemed it too dangerous to be up there!!

 

Well the Khlebnikov is a Russian Icebreaker sin i don’t know if it even comes equipped with Stabilizers.

 

It doesn't - of course - being a breaker - they would snap off in the ice!! The main difference between a breaker and a normal ship is the shape of the hull. The normal ships have a V shaped hull to go through the sea. Icebreakers have a rounded hull for the ice. So out at open sea they are essentially a champagne cork just bobbing around on top of the water.

 

Your photos are gorgeous. I 'still' haven't got around to putting my 4 trips into books - its still on my 'to do' list!

 

For me - doing the two trips on the KK first - they felt like true polar expeditions and experiencing the rough seas the way they were meant to be experienced. I loved each and every second of it. Trip 3 was on the Sea Adventurer (now renamed Ocean Adventurer), small vessel with 116 pax and stabilisers. I spent most of the trip wishing there was more rocking and rolling as it all felt a tad too smooth for my liking.

Trip 4 was on the Ortelius with around 80 pax from memory, from NZ to USH so plenty of huge oceans but still the force 9 storm felt 'less adventurous' to me being on a vessel with stabilisers. There were several KK expedition team members and past passengers on board and they agreed - we all missed the true rock and rolling of the KK.

The biggest joke among my friends is that I am a lifelong insomniac - I average about 90 minutes of sleep per night. The longest and best sleeps of my life were on the KK in the middle of the worst storms ! I would drop off for 3 or 4 hours. I have yet to work out how to make my bed at home replicate deck 7 of the KK! If someone patented a bed that simulated a force 11 storm in an icebreaker - I would buy it!

 

In the big cruise ships I have also been in force 11 storms in the Indian and Pacific oceans and one typhoon in the upper Pacific. Mostly pretty tame because of the size of the vessel and the stabilisers. On one ship the stabilisers broke on night 2 and fellow passengers moaned and groaned and threw up in the dining room. Personally I couldn't even feel the ship moving! On those big liners I usually have to go outside and really stare at the sea to make sure we are actually moving!

 

Re the KK getting stuck in ice - if folks have been (or are heading) to the Ushuaia Prison Museum - there is a big photo display and news footage and stories of the event and the 'rescue'. Great aerial photos from the choppers - I purchased one as a print for my wall. I know many of the team who were on board and a couple of the passengers. They still list it as a huge travel highlight in their lives.

 

My big motto for polar travel (and any other kind of expedition travel really) is:

 

Attitude is the difference between an ordeal, and an adventure.

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The KK is a full class icebreaker - not a 'small exhibition ship' and certainly not a 'boat'. The zodiacs on board are boats! Remember the saying "A boat can fit on a ship, but a ship cannot fit on a boat" - it saves insulting the captains by referring to their vessels as mere boats!!

 

I have had 66 days on the KK including the previously mentioned force 11 storm, and the far far rougher Southern Ocean. Loved every second of it. As did the majority of the crew, expedition team, and passengers (most of whom have been on the KK many times). The rough seas were some of the most grandest times I have had in my life. No one was miserable except the 5 or 6 people who did suffer terrible seasickness but as they had been on the KK plenty of times they were well prepared and had packed all their usual remedies, and the doctor was giving them phenergan injections regularly.

 

 

 

 

 

Lol - on both of my trips we hit the magic 55 and 60 degree tilts. It was fun sitting in the lounge balancing a hot chocolate (I was smart and took a thermos cup with screw on lid, having already met past travellers who mentioned cups of tea spilling etc) as we all were ready to photography the inclinometer (or as we dubbed it - the tiltometre!!) when it hit the highest sway point. Not to mention lining up at the bridge (or further above on the outer deck for the well balanced and braver mob) for the iconic "huge wave over the bow" photos. Also fun the time we had to form a human chain in order to get everyone out of the bridge when the captain deemed it too dangerous to be up there!!

 

 

 

It doesn't - of course - being a breaker - they would snap off in the ice!! The main difference between a breaker and a normal ship is the shape of the hull. The normal ships have a V shaped hull to go through the sea. Icebreakers have a rounded hull for the ice. So out at open sea they are essentially a champagne cork just bobbing around on top of the water.

 

Your photos are gorgeous. I 'still' haven't got around to putting my 4 trips into books - its still on my 'to do' list!

 

For me - doing the two trips on the KK first - they felt like true polar expeditions and experiencing the rough seas the way they were meant to be experienced. I loved each and every second of it. Trip 3 was on the Sea Adventurer (now renamed Ocean Adventurer), small vessel with 116 pax and stabilisers. I spent most of the trip wishing there was more rocking and rolling as it all felt a tad too smooth for my liking.

Trip 4 was on the Ortelius with around 80 pax from memory, from NZ to USH so plenty of huge oceans but still the force 9 storm felt 'less adventurous' to me being on a vessel with stabilisers. There were several KK expedition team members and past passengers on board and they agreed - we all missed the true rock and rolling of the KK.

The biggest joke among my friends is that I am a lifelong insomniac - I average about 90 minutes of sleep per night. The longest and best sleeps of my life were on the KK in the middle of the worst storms ! I would drop off for 3 or 4 hours. I have yet to work out how to make my bed at home replicate deck 7 of the KK! If someone patented a bed that simulated a force 11 storm in an icebreaker - I would buy it!

 

In the big cruise ships I have also been in force 11 storms in the Indian and Pacific oceans and one typhoon in the upper Pacific. Mostly pretty tame because of the size of the vessel and the stabilisers. On one ship the stabilisers broke on night 2 and fellow passengers moaned and groaned and threw up in the dining room. Personally I couldn't even feel the ship moving! On those big liners I usually have to go outside and really stare at the sea to make sure we are actually moving!

 

Re the KK getting stuck in ice - if folks have been (or are heading) to the Ushuaia Prison Museum - there is a big photo display and news footage and stories of the event and the 'rescue'. Great aerial photos from the choppers - I purchased one as a print for my wall. I know many of the team who were on board and a couple of the passengers. They still list it as a huge travel highlight in their lives.

 

My big motto for polar travel (and any other kind of expedition travel really) is:

 

Attitude is the difference between an ordeal, and an adventure.

That is an impressive list of expedition travel. Is any of it for work or do you just enjoy the adventure? At 66 days spent on the KK did you do a hemi or full circumnavigation on those voyages?

 

I totally agree it’s all in the attitude. Clearly, the location made it worthwhile if I was willing to go for round 2 to South Georgia. Your fellow passengers were clearly more seasoned. If you are spending 30 plus days at a time on the KK, or doing an USH to NZ it is clearly not going to be your first trip to Antarctica. The dining room was at best 25% occupied so I don’t think we had the most seasoned Pax list.

 

Thank you for the kind words on the photography. I had only bought my first DSLR 5 months prior to going and started practicing photography just to get some decent pics from that trip. My South Georgia pics are better technically but I did not have time to stick them in a book yet. South Georgia just isn’t as pretty as Antarctica. Too much rock and and a rediculous amount wildlife. Please post if you ever put them in a book. I love pics of Antarctica esp those take from Pax on expeditions as they are so rare.

 

I haven’t been in the condition you have been in but I agree about the cruise ships. Anytime people are moaning and groaning, all I think about is that this is nothing compared to the rolls the KK can do.

 

Yes I was definitely aware that the bottom the boat was flat compared to the normal V. Hence the rubber ducky analogy. It really just bobs around.

 

I was very sad when the KK had moved off Antarctica charters as it was my dream to take my son on it some day and see the baby emperor chicks, because as you know it’s only icebreakers that have a high probablility chance of seeing those chicks as you need the choppers to get you there. The other expeditions don’t even remotely guarantee it as the failure rate is so high. It was good to see it start going back this year. I hope it can continue and hopefully you can get back on it now that it has returned to Antarctica. Do you have any future trips planned on it now that it’s returned?

 

It is definitely true adventure as you are going places in which evacuation is sketchy at best or just not available. Anyone that has been to Antarctica knows there is an irresistible draw to go back there. It’s that sense of adventure you you speak of that makes it such a great time.

 

The crazy weather that changes on a dime is definitely a highlight and makes for the best stories. From the time your zodiac leaves the “ship” to the time you hit the landing area it can go from sunny and beautiful to hurricanes force winds and you can’t see a thing. It’s the motto of expedition travel “weather dependent.” On our South Georgia expedition we missed 45% of the landings, which is par for the course, including Salisbury which was a bummer for most.

It didn’t bother me as much as the main one I wanted to see was St. Andrews Bay which we amazingly had beautiful weather for.

 

Good luck in your future travels. I hope next time you can get a level 12 storm!! Maybe you could sleep a whole night!

Edited by rimmit

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That is an impressive list of expedition travel. Is any of it for work or do you just enjoy the adventure? At 66 days spent on the KK did you do a hemi or full circumnavigation on those voyages?

 

I totally agree it’s all in the attitude. Clearly, the location made it worthwhile if I was willing to go for round 2 to South Georgia. Your fellow passengers were clearly more seasoned. If you are spending 30 plus days at a time on the KK, or doing an USH to NZ it is clearly not going to be your first trip to Antarctica. The dining room was at best 25% occupied so I don’t think we had the most seasoned Pax list.

 

Thank you for the kind words on the photography. I had only bought my first DSLR 5 months prior to going and started practicing photography just to get some decent pics from that trip. My South Georgia pics are better technically but I did not have time to stick them in a book yet. South Georgia just isn’t as pretty as Antarctica. Too much rock and and a rediculous amount wildlife. Please post if you ever put them in a book. I love pics of Antarctica esp those take from Pax on expeditions as they are so rare.

 

I haven’t been in the condition you have been in but I agree about the cruise ships. Anytime people are moaning and groaning, all I think about is that this is nothing compared to the rolls the KK can do.

 

Yes I was definitely aware that the bottom the boat was flat compared to the normal V. Hence the rubber ducky analogy. It really just bobs around.

 

I was very sad when the KK had moved off Antarctica charters as it was my dream to take my son on it some day and see the baby emperor chicks, because as you know it’s only icebreakers that have a high probablility chance of seeing those chicks as you need the choppers to get you there. The other expeditions don’t even remotely guarantee it as the failure rate is so high. It was good to see it start going back this year. I hope it can continue and hopefully you can get back on it now that it has returned to Antarctica. Do you have any future trips planned on it now that it’s returned?

 

It is definitely true adventure as you are going places in which evacuation is sketchy at best or just not available. Anyone that has been to Antarctica knows there is an irresistible draw to go back there. It’s that sense of adventure you you speak of that makes it such a great time.

 

The crazy weather that changes on a dime is definitely a highlight and makes for the best stories. From the time your zodiac leaves the “ship” to the time you hit the landing area it can go from sunny and beautiful to hurricanes force winds and you can’t see a thing. It’s the motto of expedition travel “weather dependent.” On our South Georgia expedition we missed 45% of the landings, which is par for the course, including Salisbury which was a bummer for most.

It didn’t bother me as much as the main one I wanted to see was St. Andrews Bay which we amazingly had beautiful weather for.

 

Good luck in your future travels. I hope next time you can get a level 12 storm!! Maybe you could sleep a whole night!

 

I am doing a South Georgia and the Falklands trip leaving in about 7 weeks. Anything that I should especially look for or look out for.

 

DON

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I am doing a South Georgia and the Falklands trip leaving in about 7 weeks. Anything that I should especially look for or look out for.

 

DON

 

LOL - everything Don ! Just sit back and enjoy every single thing about the trip.

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That is an impressive list of expedition travel. Is any of it for work or do you just enjoy the adventure? At 66 days spent on the KK did you do a hemi or full circumnavigation on those voyages?

 

No as per my signature block it was two separate trips including the KK's final voyage (until it finally gave in to the public pressure and returned for the upcoming Snow Hill trips. I couldn't afford them this time around but I know plenty of the crew and also quite a few passengers who have booked the 4 trips back to back.

 

I totally agree it’s all in the attitude. Clearly, the location made it worthwhile if I was willing to go for round 2 to South Georgia. Your fellow passengers were clearly more seasoned. If you are spending 30 plus days at a time on the KK, or doing an USH to NZ it is clearly not going to be your first trip to Antarctica. The dining room was at best 25% occupied so I don’t think we had the most seasoned Pax list.

 

On the big trips I have done its been generally a higher percentage of multiple polar travellers rather than first timers - maybe 60%. But then again - I chose the big 33 day obscure location trip as my first time.

 

I love pics of Antarctica esp those take from Pax on expeditions as they are so rare.

 

You should check our trip reports digest on Trip Advisor - plenty of folks post links to their Flikr or Smugmug accounts etc.

 

I haven’t been in the condition you have been in but I agree about the cruise ships. Anytime people are moaning and groaning, all I think about is that this is nothing compared to the rolls the KK can do.

 

Yes it is easy to launch into a spiel of a Monty Python nature - "Rough? You don't know rough" !

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No as per my signature block it was two separate trips including the KK's final voyage (until it finally gave in to the public pressure and returned for the upcoming Snow Hill trips. I couldn't afford them this time around but I know plenty of the crew and also quite a few passengers who have booked the 4 trips back to back.

 

 

 

On the big trips I have done its been generally a higher percentage of multiple polar travellers rather than first timers - maybe 60%. But then again - I chose the big 33 day obscure location trip as my first time.

 

 

 

You should check our trip reports digest on Trip Advisor - plenty of folks post links to their Flikr or Smugmug accounts etc.

 

 

 

Yes it is easy to launch into a spiel of a Monty Python nature - "Rough? You don't know rough" !

 

You have to go to Snow Hill! It's amazing! The chicks are too cute, you really just want to pick them up and cuddle them. Post if you do. It's such an amazing place. I really am glad they started going back there again.

 

If you don't mind me asking, why did the KK pull out of Antarctica for a bit. I heard it was due to emissions, but it's back again so that's not the case unless they did some retrofitting.

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I am doing a South Georgia and the Falklands trip leaving in about 7 weeks. Anything that I should especially look for or look out for.

 

DON

 

Watch out for the Elephant seals. They are incredible. They don't do much, but when they do... It's like two trucks hitting each other. One that was right near our landing got into a fight literally feet from us. One of our expedition team leaders backpacks was crushed by them, and thankfully he was able to retrieve it after the fight, as they were only partially laying on it, so he yanked it out from under them without any repercussions. It's incredibly when they fight. Like Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101879036367907&l=4a9bb99abb

 

Not sure if you can see that pic. My privacy settings may not let you. But it's impressive when they fight.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101879036467707&l=46b9d21647

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Watch out for the Elephant seals. They are incredible. They don't do much, but when they do... It's like two trucks hitting each other. One that was right near our landing got into a fight literally feet from us. One of our expedition team leaders backpacks was crushed by them, and thankfully he was able to retrieve it after the fight, as they were only partially laying on it, so he yanked it out from under them without any repercussions. It's incredibly when they fight. Like Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101879036367907&l=4a9bb99abb

 

Not sure if you can see that pic. My privacy settings may not let you. But it's impressive when they fight.

 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10101879036467707&l=46b9d21647

 

WOW!!!! Wish me luck.

 

DON

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You have to go to Snow Hill! It's amazing! The chicks are too cute, you really just want to pick them up and cuddle them. Post if you do. It's such an amazing place. I really am glad they started going back there again.

 

 

 

If you don't mind me asking, why did the KK pull out of Antarctica for a bit. I heard it was due to emissions, but it's back again so that's not the case unless they did some retrofitting.

 

 

 

The emperor colonies I've been to are ten times the size of the Snow Hill colony so I haven't missed anything by not going to that specific location. Especially the many enormous colonies at Atka ice port and all the ones along West Antarctica between commonwealth bay and Davis station and the massive colony on the Shackleton Ice Shelf - over half a mil couples.

 

The KK originally simply finished its 20 year tourism contract in 2011 and was recalled back to its Russian owners to operate as a working breaker in the north. Quark managed to negotiate a new contract for short term use in the Arctic season. Then worked on the new Snow Hill 4 trips. It costs over a million to bring the empty vessel south and unlike other vessels it cannot subsidise that cost by having paying passengers doing repositioning trips. As it is operated by steam the vessel itself gets unbearable hot and not ideal for "pleasure cruising". At the end of the final voyage as we moved from the Southern Ocean into the Indian Ocean it was 40 degrees C on board. Closer to the equator it gets even worse.

So they have to do it with just a skeleton crew. A very sweaty skeleton crew I imagine !

 

The tourism market changed - to the larger pax vessels and more fancy cabins etc and the shorter trips just on the peninsula. Appealing to the box tickers rather than the expeditioners. It's a different customer base these days.

The big long grand expeditions of the 90s and 2000s and the full circumnavigations are unlikely to happen again. And if they did - the cost would be prohibitive to the majority. I know quite a few folks who did the famous KK circumnavigation and a bunk in a triple share cost over $100k. It would cost double that today.

 

When I win lotto I'm just going to buy my own second hand icebreaker and choppers ! DIY !

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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The emperor colonies I've been to are ten times the size of the Snow Hill colony so I haven't missed anything by not going to that specific location. Especially the many enormous colonies at Atka ice port and all the ones along West Antarctica between commonwealth bay and Davis station and the massive colony on the Shackleton Ice Shelf - over half a mil couples.

 

The KK originally simply finished its 20 year tourism contract in 2011 and was recalled back to its Russian owners to operate as a working breaker in the north. Quark managed to negotiate a new contract for short term use in the Arctic season. Then worked on the new Snow Hill 4 trips. It costs over a million to bring the empty vessel south and unlike other vessels it cannot subsidise that cost by having paying passengers doing repositioning trips. As it is operated by steam the vessel itself gets unbearable hot and not ideal for "pleasure cruising". At the end of the final voyage as we moved from the Southern Ocean into the Indian Ocean it was 40 degrees C on board. Closer to the equator it gets even worse.

So they have to do it with just a skeleton crew. A very sweaty skeleton crew I imagine !

 

The tourism market changed - to the larger pax vessels and more fancy cabins etc and the shorter trips just on the peninsula. Appealing to the box tickers rather than the expeditioners. It's a different customer base these days.

The big long grand expeditions of the 90s and 2000s and the full circumnavigations are unlikely to happen again. And if they did - the cost would be prohibitive to the majority. I know quite a few folks who did the famous KK circumnavigation and a bunk in a triple share cost over $100k. It would cost double that today.

 

When I win lotto I'm just going to buy my own second hand icebreaker and choppers ! DIY !

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Previously you stated you wanted to go to Snow Hill. Why would you want to go there when the colony you saw was much bigger?

 

Did you actually see the chicks? The chicks are the only reason to go to snow hill. We went late Oct. and almost all were teenagers by then. We lucked out and were able to photography one still under feet, but most were put from under at that point. They were still adorable. I was under the impression that Snow Hill was the only truly accessible colony to see the chicks as the ice would be too thick to get to any of the other colonies as snow hill is the northern most emperor colony. Even at Snow Hill many years based on how thick the pack ice is it can be difficult and many expeditions can miss seeing them. That is why a Snow Hill is the only place a commercial break expedition can go to see the chicks.

 

Also, I thought there were only 550k-600k emperor penguins total in the world. Has there been a population explosion recently, as if there were half a million pairs that is a million emperors in that one location alone. I was always under the impression that emperors are never found in the sheer numbers like the kings are on South Georgia. There are 300,000 pairs of Kings at St. Andrews Bay in South Georgia which is the largest King colony and they outnumber the emperors by total population by a ton.

South Georgia has much larger penguin colonies than those found on Antarctic Sea Ice.

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Previously you stated you wanted to go to Snow Hill. Why would you want to go there when the colony you saw was much bigger?

 

Did you actually see the chicks? The chicks are the only reason to go to snow hill. We went late Oct. and almost all were teenagers by then. We lucked out and were able to photography one still under feet, but most were put from under at that point. They were still adorable. I was under the impression that Snow Hill was the only truly accessible colony to see the chicks as the ice would be too thick to get to any of the other colonies as snow hill is the northern most emperor colony. Even at Snow Hill many years based on how thick the pack ice is it can be difficult and many expeditions can miss seeing them. That is why a Snow Hill is the only place a commercial break expedition can go to see the chicks.

 

Also, I thought there were only 550k-600k emperor penguins total in the world. Has there been a population explosion recently, as if there were half a million pairs that is a million emperors in that one location alone. I was always under the impression that emperors are never found in the sheer numbers like the kings are on South Georgia. There are 300,000 pairs of Kings at St. Andrews Bay in South Georgia which is the largest King colony and they outnumber the emperors by total population by a ton.

South Georgia has much larger penguin colonies than those found on Antarctic Sea Ice.

 

While I have done 75% of Antarctica's circumference - I haven't done it all - so there are still a thousand locations on my to do list and Snow Hill Is is on the list - but as I said - the colonies I did have the privilege of reaching were much bigger than Snow Hills colony (so all I was saying before is that I haven't been deprived by not going there in particular), and phenomenal and memorable for life. Yes more chicks than we could count - at their cutest and fluffiest - thousands upon thousands. We spent days up to 12 hours long with each colony - returning to the ship after midnight most times. I averaged 10,000 photos per voyage and hundreds and hundreds of videos of the chicks which keep me happy until I win Lotto and return! (someday - sigh!).

 

The trips I did on the Khlebnikov were to extremely remote regions that have only had tourists reach there once before - or never before. If you google the Atka Ice Port and that region along Queen Maud Land you will see how inaccessible it is - so it was a rare experience to get there, making our way across the entire Weddell Sea and the packice, and spend a week around that area. On that same trip we also had 6 days around the Sth Sandwich Islands which almost never get reached other than by the KK. No emperors there but the largest chinstrap colony known of. We didn't land due to the force 12 storm that was across the whole region but we were able to cruise close enough to every island multiple times over the 6 days to be able to see the chinstraps, lava and steam vents etc without needing binoculars or zoom lenses.

 

The Shackleton Ice Shelf colony along East Antarctica was discovered by our chopper pilots purely by accident when they were scouting out a days adventure hike for us - and it was reported around the world as it was a previously unknown and uncounted colony. The other colonies we spent entire days with along the East Antarctica region were of sizes that could not be exaggerated - incredible experiences. Most of the colonies in that region have not been located or counted so the total populations are unknown. They are not near any of the stations and generally its only known via satellite images showing all their guano patches. My friends that work at the stations only get out to the colonies near them if they are doing specific counts or research and thats not generally yearly.

 

The Heard Island colony of King's and elephant seals is equal in size to SGI numbers - so that too was an incredible landing right below an active volcano.

 

The Ush to NZ trip on Ortelius was much later in the season - Feb/March - so no big emperor colonies as all had gone to sea. Mostly just stragglers in groups on ice floes along the way. And plenty of adelies along the whole voyage, and a mystery chipstrap population that the expedition team were not expecting to find on Peter the First Island. It would be nice to see that expedition moved to Dec to utilise the choppers to get to the emperor colonies - but not being a proper breaker, the Ortelius would be hampered by ice more.

 

Now - I need to go by another lotto ticket because all this reminiscing is making me want to return to the south promptly!:ship:

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Yes it is easy to launch into a spiel of a Monty Python nature - "Rough? You don't know rough" !

 

AKA the Yorkshireman sketch. We're not all like that though. Well, not quite.

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While I have done 75% of Antarctica's circumference - I haven't done it all - so there are still a thousand locations on my to do list and Snow Hill Is is on the list - but as I said - the colonies I did have the privilege of reaching were much bigger than Snow Hills colony (so all I was saying before is that I haven't been deprived by not going there in particular), and phenomenal and memorable for life. Yes more chicks than we could count - at their cutest and fluffiest - thousands upon thousands. We spent days up to 12 hours long with each colony - returning to the ship after midnight most times. I averaged 10,000 photos per voyage and hundreds and hundreds of videos of the chicks which keep me happy until I win Lotto and return! (someday - sigh!).

 

The trips I did on the Khlebnikov were to extremely remote regions that have only had tourists reach there once before - or never before. If you google the Atka Ice Port and that region along Queen Maud Land you will see how inaccessible it is - so it was a rare experience to get there, making our way across the entire Weddell Sea and the packice, and spend a week around that area. On that same trip we also had 6 days around the Sth Sandwich Islands which almost never get reached other than by the KK. No emperors there but the largest chinstrap colony known of. We didn't land due to the force 12 storm that was across the whole region but we were able to cruise close enough to every island multiple times over the 6 days to be able to see the chinstraps, lava and steam vents etc without needing binoculars or zoom lenses.

 

The Shackleton Ice Shelf colony along East Antarctica was discovered by our chopper pilots purely by accident when they were scouting out a days adventure hike for us - and it was reported around the world as it was a previously unknown and uncounted colony. The other colonies we spent entire days with along the East Antarctica region were of sizes that could not be exaggerated - incredible experiences. Most of the colonies in that region have not been located or counted so the total populations are unknown. They are not near any of the stations and generally its only known via satellite images showing all their guano patches. My friends that work at the stations only get out to the colonies near them if they are doing specific counts or research and thats not generally yearly.

 

The Heard Island colony of King's and elephant seals is equal in size to SGI numbers - so that too was an incredible landing right below an active volcano.

 

The Ush to NZ trip on Ortelius was much later in the season - Feb/March - so no big emperor colonies as all had gone to sea. Mostly just stragglers in groups on ice floes along the way. And plenty of adelies along the whole voyage, and a mystery chipstrap population that the expedition team were not expecting to find on Peter the First Island. It would be nice to see that expedition moved to Dec to utilise the choppers to get to the emperor colonies - but not being a proper breaker, the Ortelius would be hampered by ice more.

 

Now - I need to go by another lotto ticket because all this reminiscing is making me want to return to the south promptly!:ship:

 

Based on what you’ve seen, I don’t know if I would recommend Snow Hill. For the price and what you see if you’ve seen those other colonies it’s not worth it unless you just want to check some boxes off your list. Snow hill is great but I’d say you’ve seen better sites.

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