Early in the morning you hop in your kayak and push away from the ship. You and your fellow kayakers make your way across the turquoise waters, keeping your eyes peeled for wildlife. Weaving between towering icebergs, you round the corner and spot a seal reclining on the ice. You drift past silently; almost close enough to touch it. Making your way back to the ship, your guide calls for silence and you hear a pod of whales singing in the distance. It’s another perfect morning kayaking out amongst the ice!
Kayaking is one of our most popular activities because it allows passengers to get closer to the action than is possible on a zodiac. When you paddle through the polar regions of Antarctica or the Arctic, you can’t help but be humbled by the beauty of this wilderness.
Our kayak groups are led by a team of expert guides, like Al Bakker. Al has been paddling around the world for four decades and has led sea kayaking tours through the Polar Regions for over 20 years. Al’s expertise in his field is invaluable, and is the key to having a memorable and safe kayaking experience.
Read on to see what Al has to say about kayaking in these remote regions…
What should I wear for a day of polar kayaking?
Comfort and warmth make the difference, you should be prepared for a wide range of temperatures and wear multiple layers. Thermal tops – thin short sleeve, thin long sleeve and a heavier long sleeve help you dress for a range of temperatures. Also thermal bottoms – thin long johns and heavier long johns because you’ll be sitting on cold plastic seats. It’s also vital to have a warm, waterproof hat that you can tie under your chin + a lighter hat for warmer days.
I want to capture my experience on camera, what do you recommend?
After taking pictures on from kayaks for 30 years, I always bring a small point and shoot camera that I have readily accessible (waterproof is even better!), as well as a better camera for shore and on the ship. A good waterproof bag or camera case means you can always put your bigger camera in the kayak hatch as we make our way to shore.
A good pair of binoculars will also add a tremendous amount of excitement to viewing wildlife both on the ship and on shore.
What kind of environmental guidelines should I be aware of in the Arctic/Antarctica?
Environmental and wildlife guidelines do make a difference, and seeing that difference in the wild is humbling and rewarding. Sometimes just sitting and watching will give you more meaningful memories than always holding a camera to your eye; a little patience can help create a much larger experience.
How much kayak training should I do before I go?
We would recommend you paddle regularly for conditioning, and if possible attend a tune up course to brush up on your skills. That way you can make the most of your polar experience.
Any last advice?
Bring your spirit of adventure, an open mind and be prepared to have fun in the most exciting regions you can paddle on earth!