Cruising

ash_1050

Club Legend
Nov 21, 2009
2,458
3,832
Melbourne
AFL Club
Essendon
Other Teams
Melbourne Victory and Arsenal
Off to Antarctica at the end of the year on a 14 day cruise. The less time spent on the boat the better, but it's more of an adventure trip versus the relaxation cruises that most people go on.
 

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Occidental

Club Legend
Oct 2, 2016
1,034
2,715
AFL Club
Collingwood
I did the Antarctic trip from Ushuaia Argentina down to the Antarctic Peninsula in January 2017. Was with Quark Expeditions, a Seattle based company. Trip was called “Crossing the Circle” as we sailed below the Antarctic Circle. I think around 120 travellers on board, mostly American & Canadian with some Aussies, Kiwis, English, Japanese & Russians.
Ship was a refitted Polish commercial vessel. Ship crew mainly Russian. No luxury, but perfectly comfortable. Every day once you get down there you are twice offloaded (morning & afternoon) onto inflatable zodiacs that hold around 10 people and you scoot about making landings, or checking out glaciers & icebergs or spotting seals, penguins & whales.
We paid to camp out one night onshore in Antarctica, but never got to do it due to the weather.
Trip over the Drake Passage was super calm. Trip back was rushed as an Australian woman had fallen down stairs on board and broken her leg, so the ship roared back without dodging the weather. It was rough!
Sensational trip. The Quark crew were full of historians, biologists, geologists & glaciologists, so you were educated on where you were and what you were seeing. It was they who piloted the zodiacs.
We were scooping up crystal clear glacial ice off the ocean when on the zodiacs, bringing it back on board & putting it in our vodkas.
The wildlife - especially whales & leopard seals are amazing. The zodiacs get right up next to them.
One warning - the penguins (and you see millions) and chicks hang about in one place so the one who’s gone fishing can come back & find them. The ones on land really don’t go anywhere, so over the course of a season they end up living on a huge pile of fishy smelling knee deep s**t. The little ones get covered in it. Penguins colonies really really stink! The little smelly guys come right up to you and your boots are always covered in s**t.
Last day down there they offered us a “polar plunge”, they tie a rope to you and you jump off the ship from a waterline door and swim about in your swimmers for a minute. So yes, I have swum in Antarctica.
One of the real bonuses is who you meet. I had no other plan but to back pack around for a while when we got back to Argentina, but on meeting an English guy & Canadian girl on board we hit it off and travelled together for a few weeks once we got back.
Great trip, but it certainly ain’t cheap.
 
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