$1500 more to kayak? Help me understand the value.

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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$1500 more to kayak? Help me understand the value.

Postby g_traveller_140245f7 » Tue May 30, 2017 11:21 am

Hello,
I am at a loss to understand why kayaking is an extra $1500 (for my booked 2018 trip). I've read the information, but I am just not understanding the extreme cost/value over the Zodiak activities.

Furthermore, if you sign up for kayaking, have you then forfeited all rights to Zodiak trips? Or if you do Zodiak instead, then you have just "wasted" the kayaking money? If the weather is lousy, and kayaking is impossible, is your money refunded?

Please help.

Thank you,
Kristi N.
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Re: $1500 more to kayak? Help me understand the value.

Postby laurenfarmer » Tue May 30, 2017 4:04 pm

Hi Kristi,

Exciting that you'll be joining us in Antarctica! What trip did you decide on. You are in for the time of your life!

I can't speak to the breakdown of the cost of kayaking (perhaps the G rep or travel agency you booked through might be able to provide that kind of information), I can provide some details on what you might experience as a kayaker. I've been involved with the kayak program both as a guest and now as a member of the expedition team. If you are one of the kayaking group, if the weather is suitable and kayaking fits within the overall operation plans, you will always have the chance to go out for a kayak. Before going out, the kayak guides will give you an idea of what you can expect from that particular paddle, and it is always up to you whether you choose to go kayaking or would prefer to go on a Zodiac cruise or to shore with the rest of the group, depending on what the day's activities are. So no, signing up for kayaking does not mean you forfeit other experiences, it is always up to you to choose how you want to spend your time based on the information given to you on the day, if it's been determined that a kayaking operation is possible.

What you can expect as a kayaker is the experience of really being out in the wild, as the paddlers are often away from the fleet of Zodiacs (except for a safety boat which always stays with the kayakers) and the ship, so it can be quite peaceful. It's a small group (maximum of 20) so there is a camaraderie and impactful group experience that goes along with being a kayaker. Kayaking can often afford you more intimate wildlife experiences with seals, penguins and even whales. There are of course guidelines we follow as far as how close we can be to wildlife, but naturally being "in" the water with them can provide some interesting experiences. Also paddling through brash ice is really amazing!

I hope that helps, and please do reach out to the G sales team as they can provide a lot more information as well.

- Lauren (G Expedition staff)
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Re: $1500 more to kayak? Help me understand the value.

Postby Collette » Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:51 am

I'm glad you asked this question - my Antarctica trip is in January 2018, and the kayaking portion is $1,799! I love kayaking and I know I would love it in Antarctica, but yikes the price! I would love G to explain why it costs so much. Do they actually get 20 people each trip? If not, do they offer the opportunity to go out on a charge-per-trip basis?
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Re: $1500 more to kayak? Help me understand the value.

Postby helix » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:59 pm

I've done the Arctic highlights and Spirit of Shackleton cruises with G. I did not do the kayaking on either of the trips but want to say a few words about it anyway.

On both cruises i was on, there was some people (a few, not many) who decided not to do the kayaking at all after their first briefing - when they got to know what it actually will be. I think the reason in all the cases was that people thought they did not have enough experience to fully enjoy it (and make it safe). I wouldn't even consider it if you're not fairly experienced sea kayaker.

On both cruises there was multiple people who decided to skip kayaking once or twice and go on a zodiac cruise instead.

How i see it, is that you'll get kinda more private experience kayaking than on a zodiac, and of course it's lovely to be kayaking through those landscapes. But it is darn expensive! It doesn't give you more time off the boat - because other people go out with the zodiacs when you go kayaking. The other downside is that you can't really take photos with a proper camera while kayaking.

The equipment (kayaks, dry suits, etc.) they provide are good and people (who did kayaking) seemed to be happy with their leaders and the whole experience.

I do sea kayaking back home and was thinking about the option when booking my cruises. Afterwards i'm not disappointed that i ended up not doing it. Partly because i'm really into photographing and would have missed a lot of really good shots if i had done the kayaking.
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Re: $1500 more to kayak? Help me understand the value.

Postby Collette » Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:29 am

Thank you Helix, that was helpful. I think I'll give it a miss.
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Re: $1500 more to kayak? Help me understand the value.

Postby g_traveller_71866051 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 9:59 pm

I hesitated spending the money on the kayaking when I went to Antarctica in 2015 , but only for a second. It was the most wonderful experience and I didn't regret a penny of it. How often are you going to have an opportunity to kayak in Antarctica? Within the first hour of going out, I had a humpback whale dived under my kayak, fortunately he didn't surface, which was a good thing as I didn't want to practice a wet exit my first time out. It was really the best of both worlds, we went out kayaking, then came back to the ship and took a zodiac to shore. What is the difference? Well you are sitting in a kayak resting between the icebergs, seals to the left and right, listening to the movement of ice and the penguins chatter in the distance, no boat motors or muffled human conversations. You look out over the horizon, so serene and majestic, like you have been transported to a different planet.

Thanks for the memories, I am going to the Artic in 4 weeks unfortunately the kayaking option was not offered, so disappointed :cry: , however I have found a 4 hour trip on the day that I arrived so I can obtain the title of "Bipolar Kayaker" as promised when I was down south. Cheers Donna
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Re: $1500 more to kayak? Help me understand the value.

Postby melb_guy » Thu Oct 26, 2017 8:07 am

I saw this today and thought there must have been a mistake in the price. I am still tempted.

From those that went, can you book on the ship? Or do you need to do it ahead of time? Or does that just guarantee it if possible?

I guess it'd make my GoPro worth taking.
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