The Final Frontier

Posted: March 10, 2013 in Antarctica

When we first set out to plan our one year adventure, Antarctica was at the forefront of the wish list.  We knew it would not be cheap, and also knew it was a once in a lifetime adventure, so wanted to be sure we chose the best ship possible for our needs, and not to let a couple of dollars difference get in the way of an incredible experience.

A lot of research was done through the Internet reading through trip reports, blogs and Antarctica websites, and the fundamentals were clear.  A small ship (less than 100 passengers), expedition style hull (for breaking through ice), and an itinerary of no less than 10 days (as crossing the Drake Passage from South America to Antarctica takes 2 days in either direction).

We came up with a great find, a ship that had spent the summer season doing fly in, fly out trips for five days at a time (and therefore eliminating the Drake crossing on these trips) was doing a final voyage where it would cross the Drake for a 10 day trip.  An expedition ship, the Ocean Nova was able to take a maximum of 68 passengers aboard its 73m length, making it perfect for quick access to shore excursions and zodiac cruises once in Antarctica.

The Ship!

The Ship!

Of course, one of the trade-offs of such a small and maneuverable ship is that it will bounce around a little if the conditions are a bit rough.

Six metre swells greeted us upon entry in to the infamous Drake Passage, and the ‘Drake Shake’ was on!  Two days later, after not feeling awesome, we arrived in Antarctica and were ready to see what we could see!



Some magnificent icebergs were the start of our adventure, as we did a zodiac cruise through an ‘iceberg graveyard’.

Icebergs ahead

Icebergs ahead

Our first mammal (after a tremendous amount of Albatross and Petrels accompanied us on our 2 day Drake adventure) was a leopard seal, and was a great sight to see!

Leopard Seal

Leopard Seal

We even managed to win the on-board photo contest with the following shot (talk about right place, right time!)

Leopard Seal & Gentoo Penguin

Leopard Seal & Gentoo Penguin

Over the next four days we were incredibly lucky to have great expedition staff, super weather, and a plethora of animals all combining to make this one of the best travel experiences of our lives.  We climbed volcanoes, went on Zodiac cruises with humpback whales so close you could almost touch them, saw some incredible landscapes, and even managed to take a plunge in to the Southern ocean (for about five seconds!).

Whilst the photos can not truly show the size and grandeur of Antarctica, we have done our best in the very large gallery below to let you see just how amazing our journey was, hope you enjoy!

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