Kayaking In Antartica

Famous for its enormous icebergs, towering glaciers and shimmering summer light, Antarctica offers some of the planet's most awe inspiring landscapes. The North Atlantic and Arctic evoke images of sparse snow covered lands, but when summer comes it bursts with colour and life.

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Kayaking In Antartica

Postby js_travels » Sat Dec 04, 2010 2:29 am

Hi,

Has anyone taken the Kayaking option in Antartica?

What was it like? Did you go the same places as the Zodiacs?

Thanks
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Sat Dec 04, 2010 12:42 pm

I wasn't one of the kayakers but our trip was the inaugural voyage for that option. The kayakers have to do their thing when the ship is anchored so it tends to happen when everyone else is going ashore. Our trip got to do the kayaking at Cuverville Island, Whalers Bay and Half Moon Island. I'm not sure where else they were thinking of possibly doing kayaking -- I recall being weathered out at Pleneau Bay and Petermann Island and vaguely recall another instance where the expedition leader had to announce red flag conditions. My travelog notes probably have specific details.
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby tletter » Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:04 pm

js_travels wrote:Has anyone taken the Kayaking option in Antartica?
What was it like? Did you go the same places as the Zodiacs?

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who actually did the kayaking whether it was worthwhile compared to sticking with the Zodiacs. I would assume that there are pluses and minuses.

Thanks.
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby dmitri1999 » Wed Nov 16, 2011 3:59 am

I don't remember the reasons,but I(and some others) remember being happy for not doing the kayaking.
If you are into it and the cost is not an issue then you just should go for it.
It's one of those things we do once in a lifetime and kayaking in Antarctica does sounds like a unique activity.
Then just go for a swim and you'll have the whole package :D
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby wattsed » Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:43 pm

I was on the trip in the first week of march 2011---I did not do the kayaking; however, about eight on our tour did it and seemed to really enjoy it...most times they were kayaking during the period of time we were out in the zodiacs and they always had a crew in a zodiac with them for safety purposes I would assume....the pictures I took of them in their colorful kayaks among the icebergs and blue water were really impressive.
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby giskard » Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:27 am

I was on the November 18th Antarctica trip and did participate in the kayaking program and it was by far the best experience of the whole trip! Granted, we were extremely lucky with the weather (we got to do a total of 9 kayak runs during our trip, which was a record number) but even in the somewhat rougher seas, it was still a thrilling experience.

We were able to go to places the zodiacs couldn't get to, like little coves with penguin rookeries, an estuary where we found some crabeater seals who posed for our cameras and a close encounter with a leopard seal lying on the ice only ~25ft away from us. Getting that close to icebergs, seals, brash ice and whales (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry0-gTEZFQA) was just unforgettable... I highly recommend it.
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby tletter » Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:32 pm

giskard wrote:We were able to go to places the zodiacs couldn't get to

Were there opportunities that you missed out on because you weren't in the zodiacs, e.g. hiking on shore to see the animals up close?

giskard wrote:whales (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ry0-gTEZFQA) was just unforgettable...

A very interesting encounter with a humpback whale. Was the zodiac in the clip your safety boat?

Thanks.
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby ExplorerWannaBe » Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:51 pm

Of course there are always experiences you will miss because you were or weren't kayaking. On our trip (the inaugural trip for kayaking from the Expedition), we had some tremendous views of a macaroni penguin nesting in a chinstrap colony and an elephant seal that put on quite a spectacular beachside show (about 10-15 minutes of preening and showing off for everyone) while the kayakers were off doing their thing. On the other hand, they got to see the islands from perspectives that the rest of us missed.

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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby giskard » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:44 am

tletter wrote:Were there opportunities that you missed out on because you weren't in the zodiacs, e.g. hiking on shore to see the animals up close?


Well, they brief the kayakers on the general activities and kayaking opportunities twice a day and let you choose whatever option you prefer. Usually, you can go kayak, then do a shore landing at the landing site where everyone else is, so you'll have all the same opportunities, just maybe a little less time (and it's true, you might miss out on something happening while you're out on the water, as will the people on the shore miss out on close encounters with humpback whales ;) ).

Sometimes it's impossible to do a shore landing by kayak, so you either return to the ship and do the landing by zodiac, or get out of the kayak at sea onto a zodiac.

There was one afternoon where we had so much fun out on the water (cruising the brash ice at Danko Island) that we just decided to stay out on the water, so that's one shore landing we (voluntarily) missed out on, the other thing we missed was the zodiac cruise at Wilhelmina bay, where we had to basically choose between zodiac cruise or kayak trip because of the narrow timeframe.

The approach they take to kayaking though is that it's supposed to be an enhancement of the general program, so they try and fit it around the general activities as much as possible and in my opinion they did a great job on our trip!

tletter wrote:A very interesting encounter with a humpback whale. Was the zodiac in the clip your safety boat?


Actually, no, that was an extra zodiac with a few crew members that came along for the trip. We also had a safety boat with us a little further back.
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby tletter » Fri Dec 23, 2011 10:02 pm

giskard wrote:
tletter wrote:The approach they take to kayaking though is that it's supposed to be an enhancement of the general program, so they try and fit it around the general activities as much as possible and in my opinion they did a great job on our trip!

Thanks for the information. I found it difficult to find helpful information about the kayaking option which at some $700 is not inconsequential.
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby giskard » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:38 pm

True, I wasn't sure what to expect beforehand, but ultimately, kayaking was by far the best part of my Antarctic experience!

Here are some of my pictures from several of our kayaks in the Antarctic waters, to get somewhat of an idea of the experience: http://www.flickr.com/photos/r_giskard/tags/kayaking/
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby smartartz » Thu Jan 12, 2012 7:31 am

Thanks Giskard for the enlightenment and the link to some AWESOME photos!! We are booked on what appears to be the same trip that you did (Patagonia and Antarctic Circle) and have my fingers crossed that we have some similarly fabulous weather (so jealous). We'll also be doing the kayaking so I'm also hopeful of getting up close and personal with some of the local marine life :) Thanks again for sharing. Ellen
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby limerigger » Sat Jan 14, 2012 4:49 pm

Has anyone had difficulty with the kayaks themselves?
Quote from documentation provided on the Gadventures website states "For entering into the kayak and assuming a comfortable paddling position, the maximum hip width is 40 cm or 15.75 inches. We suggest that you take a horizontal measurement at the widest point of your hips to determine if you will be able to fit in the kayak."
Now I'm not the smallest person out there but it does seem rather small.
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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby tletter » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:04 pm

limerigger wrote:the maximum hip width is 40 cm or 15.75 inches.

This is over a 49 inch circumference waist which is quite expansive :)

No one in our group could not fit in the kayak although it was a production for a few.

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Re: Kayaking In Antartica

Postby limerigger » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:13 pm

Thanks tletter for helping clear this one up for me. I'm glad to say my waist circumference is nowhere near that!!
After hearing others stories and seeing photos/videos I am really looking forward to the trip - 5 weeks and counting.
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