Diving & Snorkelling in Antarctica
Diving in Antarctica is not for beginners, it’s both technical and challenging, and is only offered on limited departures and has strict criteria for those looking to sign-up.
While you don’t need to be a qualified ice diver, you will need to prove you have extensive diving experience in cold water of +4° Celsius or below, and are well versed in using a dry suit.
If you’re not qualified to dive but still love the idea of swimming with penguins and icebergs, why not consider polar snorkelling, which is fun and a lot less technical?
Diving in Antarctica
What our customers think
Fantastic advice from Alex. Using a polar specialist with an understanding of diving was a good decision and much better than the recommendations from Australian dive travel agents. Very impressed by the dive team's professionalism. Diving an iceberg, with penguins and seals, and being one of the few in the world to dive within the Antarctic Circle were all big highlights.
Erika Australia March 2017
Most magical moments: 1) going ashore at Cuverville Island, and walking among the penguins, which showed no signs of fear of humans and 2) climbing the hill above Neko Harbor, and seeing ice-covered mountains all around, and reflections on the water, which was perfectly calm.
Vincent Micelotta United States Of America November 2018
The penguins were so fun to just watch as they carried on their regular activities- building nests or heading down to the water. The landscapes and wildlife were magnificent. We saw 3 species of penguins and several types of seals and also whales. The people on our ship came from various countries and we enjoyed getting to know them.
Susan Herron United States Of America December 2018
Everything was perfectly organized by Swoop. Fast, precise and very much in details. I can also say I had perfect advice which ship took for my Antarctica adventure. Great communication at all times. Would highly recommend.
Rafal Wilk Ireland November 2018
John was a real star. The right ship, the right voyage.
Andy & Wemmie Worner Australia February 2019
Antarctica did not disappoint and it exceeded my expectations! My favourite moment - finding a chunk of 30,000-year-old "Black Ice" and getting to taste it; then later on, it was the ice used in our cocktails!
Kristen Hilt United States Of America February 2019
How does Diving in Antarctica work?
Before departure you will need to show an internationally accepted diving certificate, diver's logbook and a statement from your doctor (not older than two years) stating that you are physically healthy to practice scuba diving. This may seem a little excessive, but so far from a proper hospital and medical care, safety is of the utmost priority.
The voyage will start with a check-dive so all divers can get used to the cold water and try out their equipment and the number of weights they need. Before each dive, there will be a briefing about the location of the site, the weather and ice conditions and the procedure of the dive.
The dive sites will vary from shallow ice diving, diving along a wall, from a beach or from the zodiac. The maximum depth is around 60 feet/ 20 meters.
The dives will be done on a 'buddy system' basis. There will not be a dive guide in the water to accompany and lead the divers. The guides will stay on the surface for the divers' safety and they will check you "out" and "in" after each dive. The divers are expected to be experienced enough to read their compass, depth gauges and look after each other in order to have a safe dive.
Each diver will be expected to prepare his/her own equipment well in advance prior to each dive. The diver will have to carry his own equipment in and out of the zodiac and sometimes up and down the gangway.
The aim will be 1-2 different dives per day, but this will be influenced by local ice and weather conditions. You’ve also got the choice to join the rest of the group on a landing instead of diving, if you prefer. To operate, a minimum of 6-8 divers are typically needed to have signed up. The maximum number of divers varies between different ships from 15 - 24.
What will be provided?
The following items will be provided for you on-board: Compressor, scuba tanks & weights
Important personal clothing and gear you must bring with you:
- Dry suit with hood, thick and warm underwater garments, and dry gloves
- 2 separate freeze protected regulators
- Pressure gauge, and a stabilizing jacket or some kind of BC with quick release
- Depth gauge, watch or computer, compass, knife & torch
- Mask, fins and snorkel & weight belt
You'll also be expected to bring your own spare parts for your regulators and dry suit in case of leakage or damage.
Voyages with Scuba Diving
With three medium-sized expedition ships and regular departure dates throughout the season, this well priced voyage is a popular option. Across striking landscapes and icy seas your company will include penguins, seals, whales and skuas. For the adventurous, optional kayaking…
By including optional kayaking and diving, these late season voyages offer the chance to maximise your polar crossing experience by exploring Antarctica both on and under the water. Travelling at that time provides excellent photographic and whale watching conditions, alongside…
Explore the White Continent onboard one of the newest additions to the Polar fleet, a state-of-the-art expedition vessel combining adventure with comfort. Limited to only 126 passengers, there’s also a wide range of optional adventure activities on this classic Antarctic…
How does Snorkelling in Antarctica work?
Polar snorkelling is designed for everybody and is seriously out of the ordinary! Its perfect for anyone who wants to experience the waters of Antarctica, but without the technical challenges involved with diving. Plus, you can participate in the excursions with everyone else as well, so you get the best of both world’s - experiencing Antarctica both above and below the waterline.
Some prior snorkelling experience is recommended, as it’s a chilly place to cut your teeth, but other than that there are no prerequisites. Typically people spend 45 mins to an hour in the water per session.
A drysuit, hood, mittens and booties are all provided, while it’s recommended that you bring your own snorkel, mask, fins and warm under layers to go under the drysuit.
Note that only one ship currently offers snorkelling on select departures, so your choice of voyages will be very limited.
Voyages with Snorkelling
Divers be prepared to dive in very cold water...follow the advice: Suggest dry gloves or mitts (not 5-fingered gloves). Practice diving in full Antarctic dive kit before going - allowing for weight, being able to undo clips with thick gloves - and be fit.
Erika, Australia Customer
What does Diving & Snorkelling cost?
Diving and snorkelling in Antarctica both carry an additional cost as it involves experienced dive guides and specialist equipment.
For diving, prices vary, but expect to pay between USD$500 - $1000 per person, depending on your choice of ship and duration of the voyage.
Snorkelling is priced at around $600 per person.
The combination of sunlight and extraordinary ice formations, which create an ever-changing spectrum of colours, is an experience no diver will ever forget.
Diving & Snorkelling in Antarctica: FAQs
Very, unless you can demonstrate that you have the minimum number of cold water and dry suit dives under your belt, you won’t be admitted.
Every time you enter the water there’s a chance to see wildlife, but as ever with wildlife it’s not a given. Sightings of penguins, seals and even whales are far from uncommon.
Yes, if you would like to. Typically you can dive up to twice a day, but often many divers choose to dive only once. This allows them to explore and enjoy Antarctica above the water as well, giving a more balanced overall experience.
More Adventure Activities in Antarctica
Kayaking in Antarctica
Imagine the swish of water as it passes your hull, or the clack of brash ice against your paddle blade. Skim past penguin rookeries and seals sleeping on passing ice floes. …
Camping in Antarctica
Fall asleep beneath the Antarctic night sky and wake up in the morning to an alien, glacial landscape, and maybe even an inquisitive penguin or two!
Paddleboarding in Antarctica
Paddleboarding has taken the adventure world by storm and is one of the fastest growing sport activities, so why not in Antarctic? Boarding past icebergs, surrounded by magnificent…
Hiking & Snowshoeing in Antarctica
Snowshoeing is an easy way of exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. For the more adventurous, try mountaineering and get a taste of the region's fantastic climbing opportunities.