Antarctica & Sub-Antarctic Islands
We offer multiple voyages in the Antarctic and there are many options to choose from. So, how do you decide which voyage to join? Firstly, consider the length of the voyage - the longer the voyage, the more places and wildlife you will see and the greater your chance of having some good weather days. Secondly, you may want to consider when you go. All voyages happen in the Antarctic summer, and in the early summer, the seals and penguins are breeding and there is still a lot of ice about. During midsummer the penguins chicks are hatching and the ships can travel further with less ice about. By the end of the summer the penguins have left their colonies, but whales have arrived in great numbers and it is possible for the ships to reach the 'deep south'. Next you will need to think about where you want to go. For most, reaching Antarctica will be their final continent and the ice-covered peaks are truly other worldly. However, if you have the time and can afford it, it is perhaps a shame to go all the way to the bottom of the world and miss out on the wildlife extravaganza that is South Georgia. The different parts of the Peninsula are also different from each other - the most commonly visited west side is spectacular but the Weddell Sea perhaps has a more polar feel and certainly has more interesting geology (as does the active volcano of Deception Island). You will also need to decide if you want to include activities on your voyage. For many simply being in Antarctica, going ashore and learning from the onboard experts is more than enough to have a once in a lifetime experience. Others however like to try various activities while in Antarctica, such as kayaking, camping, snowshoeing, diving or mountaineering - all these activities are offered on the Basecamp voyages with some selected activities on other voyages too. Finally you may even want to consider one of the voyages that uses helicopters. These voyages are more expensive, yes, but could get you to rarely visited spectacular locations such as the Snow Hill Emperor Penguin Colony or east Antarctica' Dry Valleys!
James driving a zodiac in the Ross Sea, East Antarctica
" Some think Deception Island & the South Shetlands are somehow 'lesser' than the Peninsula, but I disagree - they're full of history & geology. If wildlife is your main focus, then South Georgia is a must. I'm also a great fan of voyages that enter the Weddell Sea & Antarctic Sound. It's colder here than the west coast & feels more polar. If you have the time & money, the Ross Sea is, of course, the ultimate experience - but be aware, it does have a lot of sea days!"