Antarctica

A trip to Antarctica

Rachel Williams

Rachel Williams  |  21 March 2016

Rachel from Viva Expeditions  has just returned from an incredible Antarctic adventure.

I travelled with One Ocean Expeditions on one of their exciting new “Fly-Cruise” itineraries, “Ultimate Antarctica - Amongst Emperors & Kings”.  We flew from Punta Arenas in Southern Chile, into the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica where our ship, the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, awaited us.
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For the next 11 days we sailed around the Antarctica Peninsular, through the Antarctica Sound, into the Weddell Sea, the Elephant Island and then we crossed the drake passage to the Falkland Islands.  It is a really exciting itinerary combining a lot of different regions of Antarctica.  And having some time in the Falklands as well made it really unique for a short itinerary.  The Falkland Islands are very different from Antarctica and offer different wildlife suck as King Penguins, Rock Hopper Penguins & Albatross.

It was like being in David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet documentaries.  Often I didn’t know where to look there was so much wildlife.  Gentoo, Chinstrap, Adele, Macaroni, Rockhopper & King Penguins; Fur, Crab Eater, Weddell, Leopard & Elephant seals; Humpback, Mike, Fin & Killer whales.  Leopard seals eating Penguins, Orcas terrorising Humpbacks, truly unbelievable.
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It is hard to find the words to describe how magically beautiful Antarctica is.  Covered in ice it is truly other-worldly, and can’t be compared to anywhere else I have travelled so far.  A really soul touching experience.
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My absolutely favourite experience was on day 5 when I had the opportunity to try the Kayaking program.  We found ourselves in the middle of a whale feeding frenzy.  There were humpback & Minke whales everywhere, so close at times that I could have touched them.  They were gentle monsters, as big as a bus, but even though it seemed like they would be swimming straight at us they never hit us and moved so slowly there was virtually no wake.  We spent hours with those whales often not sure where to look because we were surrounded by them, while they fed on krill that we could see swimming in the calm, clear Antarctic waters.  It was such an incredible experience; one I will never forget.
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Another thing that struck me was the silence. There was so little noise pollution, just the sounds of the ocean lapping, ice moving & cracking and wildlife.
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Adding to this incredible natural beauty was expertise of the one Ocean expedition crew.  There were experts in a variety of fields.  We had on board a Glaciologist, a historian, a bird expert, a whale expert, a krill expert . . . the ship also hosted a number of scientists which was another highlight as everybody enjoyed the feeling of participating in real science and the scientists interacted with the passengers and presented on their projects.
 
I sincerely recommend One Ocean Expeditions and Antarctica.   It is a once in a lifetime experience that can’t be compared to anything else.  Antarctica will have a special place in my heart forever.

Rachel travelled with One Oceans on “Regal Antarctica- Weddell Sea & Falkland Islands”.
12-day Fly-Cruise priced from USD$16660 pp twin share.  Special offer for bookings via Viva Expeditions
USD$750 pp travel credit to be used towards flights or other land arrangements associated with the cruise.
Add Kayaking for USD$795 pp.
 

POLAR PLUNGE FOR PHILZY

While in Antarctica I did the Polar Plunge to raise money for a dear friend who is sick with Melanoma.  Treatment in NZ is not funded so I wanted to do my bit to help.  So on day 2 I threw myself into the freezing Antarctic ocean.  It was heart-stoppingly cold & took my breath away, it was a while before I found my words again.  But it was so completely worth it as I Raised $5145.  You can see a video of my plunge  CLICK HERE   

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