Matt’s Peninsula Cruise: Kayaking & Camping

Matt returned in December 2014 from his 12-day Peninsula Voyage, sailing with the Sea Explorer.  Here he tells us about his experience in Antarctica, which included exploring the coastline by kayak and camping overnight beneath the mid-night sun.

What were the highlights of your trip?

Matt & co.
Matt & co.

The highlight of the trip is a hard one.

Kayaking was probably my favourite moment.  Paddling in the quiet and hearing the calving of ice, or watching an ice berg roll is something that you can only appreciate by being there.  Looking at photos is only 10% of what it’s like to experience it for yourself.

But being in the volcanic caldera on Deception Island was amazing.  The scenery is so breathtaking that being able to get so close to the ice was something I’ll never forget. The experience exceeded my expectations.

Camping was tough.  I chose not to tent, rather I dug a hole to sleep in.  I didn’t sleep much because of the excitement, daylight and cold!  The highlight was at 2am when a penguin came up to my “grave” and had a look in!  I got some cool Gopro footage which my kids love.

Matt in his "grave", wrapped up in his special bivvy bag.

To add on to those experiences we got zodiac trips and shore excursions …it was full on!  The weather was fantastic which enabled us to get out each day and be active.

What did you think of your vessel?

The cabin was superb, and the public spaces on board were warm and clean.  You couldn’t fault the food, and the menu was always different.  The bar was open too long!!!  My $700 bar bill proved that…  We had heaps of fun each night discussing the day’s experiences and meeting the other travelers …and then some dancing into the wee hours.

And the guides?

The seminars were great:  very informative, as well as giving you something to do when you’re stuck on the boat.  We had great guides with us – they genuinely seemed excited about what we were about to share together.

It’s a trip and a boat that I would recommend to anyone wanting to experience the wonders of the Antarctic Peninsula.

How would you sum up your experience?

You can’t prepare for how you will feel down on the 7th continent and how exhilarating it is to do these activities.  It really is a trip of a lifetime.  Antarctica was my final continent.  The only other experience I’ve had like it was going to North Korea in 2013:  the entire time you have your mouth wide open.  It made me feel like a school kid again, just in awe of where I was and what I was doing.

And Swoop?

You guys were great to deal with!

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Luke Errington

Swoop founder & MD

Luke founded Swoop Antarctica in 2010, following a career in strategy consultancy and digital marketing.

At home in Bristol he's a dad of three, and a keen trail runner and adventure racer.