Do I need to be an experienced kayaker? How physically fit should I be?
The most challenging part of Sea Kayaking is usually getting into the kayak itself. After you have mastered that, you will learn how to keep a rhythm going through the icy water. Antarctic Sea Kayaking does require some previous kayaking experience as you need to be comfortable doing a wet exit. Conditions can also be unpredictable so be prepared for changes to weather and sea conditions. The ability to do a kayak roll isn’t required but you should be able to demonstrate that you’re comfortable in a sea kayak. A moderate level of fitness is required as kayaking can be demanding on your arms/core and you should also have a good sense of balance.
How big are the groups?
Each group excursion involves up to 16 kayakers.
How many times will I go kayaking?
Each kayaking expedition generally runs for between two and four hours, depending on the weather. Up to four excursions throughout the expedition will be scheduled, but please be aware that kayaking is strictly subject to weather and water conditions. Safety is number one priority and the expeditions will not run if we do not deem the conditions fit enough.
What will I see?
Sea kayaking is a beautiful way to be close to Antarctic nature. When you kayak, you can reach down and touch the water. You can seize the ice floating past and watch penguins, seals and whales glide through the water just inches from you. Incredible scenery is guaranteed – rugged shorelines with snow-capped mountains in the background, pristine untouched shorelines, icebergs that can turn the water beneath you a brilliant blue. The quiet nature of kayaking also makes it an excellent opportunity to encounter wildlife.
Should photographers’ kayak in Antarctica?
If you’re a photographer and you want to kayak, you will need to be prepared for some compromise as it won’t be possible to do both to the best of your ability.
Our expedition guides will be happy to talk to you about your photography priorities so that you don’t miss out on the best opportunities for photography.
Is sea kayaking safe?
It is important to be vigilant when you are kayaking. You are exposed to polar weather and sea conditions so dress according to the elements to avoid the risk of hypothermia. Sea kayaking numbers are limited to two groups of 16 so that our accompanying guides can keep track of everyone and ensure your experience is maximised. One guide stays with the group in a support kayak, while another trails nearby in a zodiac in case of emergencies which require a faster retreat back to the Ocean Endeavour. All guides are experts in kayaking and have vast experience working sea kayaking groups.
They will work to scale an excursion to the skill-level of your group.
Do I have to bring any of my own kayaking equipment?
Kayaking equipment is provided. We have 14 to 18 different kayaks onboard, with a mix of doubles and singles. There are different sizes of dry suits and we carry around 35 dry suits. PFDs (personal flotation devices) are mandatory for safety, and we have a variety of sizes available to make sure you find one that fits. Spray kits for the cockpit of each kayak are available in different sizes.
We also provide pogies, which go over your hands to keep them warm and dry, as well as booties for your feet.
What should I wear?
Please make sure you’re dressed properly for your excursion in the open polar elements. We recommend you bring the following:
> Thermal underwear bottom and top for underneath your dry suit
> A fleece jacket or vest to wear over your thermal underwear
> Gloves (preferably ski/snowboard/mountaineering gloves with some grip and a Gore-tex outside/Thinsulate inside)
> A wind-and-waterproof breathable jacket or paddle anorak/jacket and trousers (e.g. Gore-tex)
> A waterproof bag (if you’re bringing a camera)
> Fleece hat
> A turtle neck or neck gaiter
> Thick socks
> Sunscreen/sun block
Avoid wearing cotton clothing like t-shirts or jeans when kayaking as once wet they are hard to dry.