Our Marketing Manager, Becky Wood, travelled to the Antarctic Peninsula on our Springtime voyage this year and had the most amazing time. Becky shares her experience here!
Greeted by our warm and friendly expedition staff, I boarded Polar Pioneer on 26th November for the Springtime voyage with excitement and butterflies as I was about to experience my first expedition cruise and explore the winter wonderland of the Antarctic Peninsula! It was snowing as we left Ushuaia, and headed down the Beagle Channel. Once we had passed through the Drake Passage, the true adventure began! My first penguin and elephant seal spotting was on Aitcho Island, one of the South Shetland Islands – I was in penguin heaven! I could watch them for hours as they waddled up the snowy paths. The kayakers also enjoyed their first paddle in Antarctic waters! The bar was buzzing that evening as we exchanged stories from our first landing!
The following day, I was in “iceberg heaven” as we cruised down Errera Channel! Our climbers headed to Peon Peak while we were spoilt by a sighting of an Emperor Penguin in Cuverville Island – what a treat and very rare for that area! Some of us participated in a short hike, followed by a bum slide! It was great to feel like a kid again!
Next on the itinerary was a visit to Port Lockroy, one of Antarctica’s most historic locations and one of the highlights of my trip. The British base was restored in 1996 and now welcomes visitors every summer to their museum, gift shop and post office. I ensured I bought a few souvenirs as a memory of my visit as well as send a few postcards to envious loved ones back home! That evening, a group of happy campers ( including myself) were given the opportunity to sleep on the ice! Wow, what an experience! After a relatively comfortable sleep, we were woken to penguins chatting and a beautiful sunrise!
After a hearty breakfast and a hot shower, I was ready for another day of Zodiac cruising! We sighted more fantastically shaped icebergs and an occasional sighting of a minke whale! The day ended with a bbq on the stern deck where we drank mulled wine, ate with massive appetites and danced and joked around with an array of crazy hats and wigs!
Our 7th day was another highlight for me. We had been so blessed by the Antarctic weather and the evening light was just breathtaking. We Zodiac cruised after dinner, meandered around icebergs, spotted seals sleeping and gentoo penguins taking a evening dip, against a backdrop of snow clad peaks! We returned to the ship where we were greeted by a number of participants who were willing to take a dip in the cool Antarctic waters. Most of us just stood on deck and offer whoops and words of support and encouragement as each one took “ the polar plunge”! The sauna was a popular place soon after!
The final landing was at Whalers Bay, walking against a brisk wind, we explored the historic shores enriched with remnants of a whaling and science station, followed by a Zodiac cruise as there had been more whale sightings! As we commenced our return across the Drake passage, I made the most of the interesting lectures on board, observed the rich birdlife from the bridge or on the bow, and enjoyed the company of my fellow passengers.
Our last evening at sea started in the lecture room, where two American passengers had accumulated an array of photos from everyone on board and provide a fascinating and entertaining slideshow of our trip! Followed by “farewell drinks” in the bar with all the expedition staff and captain, and a delicious meal in the dining room , we all accumulated in the bar again for a quiz, all competing to be the king or queen of Antarctica!
It was such a pleasure and a honour to experience this life changing trip with Aurora Expeditions. Plus share the journey with such an intimate and amazing group of like minded travelers, who had fulfilled their dreams of visiting Antarctica and witnessing the stunning scenery and captivating wildlife. I would encourage everyone to put this destination on their holiday list!
There is limited availability for this season, so please call our experts for more information.