Kayaking in Antarctica

Antarctica XXI Kayaking

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.  Bumping through the ice, gliding across a glassy bay with the mountains and glaciers reflected in the water, or close encounters with wildlife are experiences shared by sea kayakers, all the time experiencing another side of this magnificent destination…

So what happens?

Choosing the sea kayaking option with your voyage involves going out into the pristine glacial waters on most, if not every, day you spend on the Antarctic Peninsula.  Led by a guide (an expert instructor who guides your way around the alien, glacial landscape as much as they keep you safe, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights as you explore), you’ll paddle in groups of 10 to 16.

Rather than travelling large distances, the aim is to see as much as possible. You’ll paddle anywhere between 5 to 15 kilometres (2 to 4 hours) per outing, sometimes taking a snack and a flask of hot drinks to enjoy, making shore landings with the rest of the passengers on the voyage, too.  But you’ll be able to explore the nooks and crannies of the Peninsula’s coastline in a ways that are inaccessible for the zodiacs.

Explore parts of the Peninsula that no one else can...

Explore parts of the Peninsula that no one else can…

Who can do it?

The sea kayaking is broadly aimed at any passenger with an adventurous spirit.  Some sort of experience is ordinarily required, although the extent of this varies by operator – we can help you find the voyage most appropriate to your abilities.  The guides accompanying you are experienced instructors and can help you with any additional skills that you might require.  In addition, they’ll tailor sea kayak excursions to your skill level.

And what’s provided / what do I need to bring?

You’ll be provided with industry leading equipment, including full dry-suits, neoprene boots, a waterproof deck bag, ‘pogies’ (insulated mittens that attach to your paddle) and many other vital paddling accessories.

On your part, you’ll be in charge of more personal items and equipment such as sunglasses, sunscreen and appropriate layers to wear under your dry-suit.  Appropriate layering consists of a layer of thermal underwear (top and bottom) as well as a heavier (200g) fleece or wool insulating layer to wear over the thermals (top and bottom). A warm hat is also a great idea.

Great, so how can I do it?AntXXI Kayaking

The good news is that the vast majority of voyages to Antarctica offer kayaking as an option (for an additional charge).  However, spaces are limited, so unfortunately it may not always be possible on your preferred trip.  The best thing to do is to let us know immediately that kayaking’s a priority for you, and we’ll do our best to find a space for you on a voyage that fits your time-frame.

Get in touch now with Swoop Antarctica to make kayaking part of your Antartic adventure.

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About Alex Mudd

Alex returned from his first Antarctica trip ten years ago firmly bitten by 'polar fever' and obsessed with icebergs. Since then, in between further forays to the polar regions, he's been evangelising about the joys of expeditionary cruising and doing all he can to return to The White Continent. An inveterate traveller never happier than when beyond mobile reception. Some of his more memorable adventures have included dog sledding in Spitsbergen, hanging out with Huli Wigmen in PNG, piranha fishing in The Amazon and chasing the Northern Lights in Greenland. Alex heads up Swoop Antarctica as General Manager.