Sailing in Antarctica
Experience the ultimate expedition adventure with a sailing holiday to Antarctica. This icy wilderness is a land of sculpted icebergs, compelling wildlife and arguably the best scenery on our planet.
As the most remote continent on earth, and perhaps one of the most foreboding, visiting Antarctica is not for the faint-hearted. Travelling here requires a strong sense of adventure with those who make the effort, are richly rewarded.
The wildlife-watching opportunities here rival safaris in Africa whilst the scenery and ever-changing landscape will leave you spellbound. Black volcanic sands disappear into dazzling turquoise waters above which bright white icebergs tower and glaciers beckon. Sail through narrow straits, into the centre of calderas, across deep passages and wild ocean.
Untouched, unrivalled and unbelievable, if you’re seeking a break from the norm, join us for a sailing holiday in Antarctica.
Expedition boat Tecla
The object of many historic and great expeditions, visiting Antarctica is what adventurers dream of! One of few sailing boats to offer the voyage, expedition boat Tecla is well versed in navigating the wild and icy shores of Antarctica. Her steel hull and experienced crew offer a safe and sustainable way to explore this ever-lasting white wilderness. Tecla makes two voyages every year, sailing from South America across Drake’s Passage, usually spending 7-10 days exploring the icy coast as part of a longer voyage including the Falklands and South Georgia Island. Get close to some of the world’s largest penguin colonies, sailing past fascinating icebergs and hopefully spotting some whales as you go.
Whether we are discovering the incredible depths of Drake’s Passage, exploring the South Shetlands or encountering the most southern village in the world, there’s no denying the untamed wilderness which surrounds you. The icy scenery as we explore has been shaped by some of the most unforgiving weather conditions on our planet, as evident in the raw, ruggedness of each formation. Marvel at how any life forms exist here, let alone thrive in what appears to be a forbidding continent.
Wildlife in Antarctica
Whilst the conditions in Antarctica are harsh and freezing, they are the perfect habitat for an array of species with one animal in particular, remaining on the ice all year round – the penguin.
Home to millions of these incredible birds, visitors are often treated to sightings of the majestic Emperor Penguin as well as the cute Adelie and Gentoo, with their distinctive bright orange flippers. Slightly cumbersome on land, penguins come into their own when underwater and you are likely to experience both sides of this icon of the Antarctic during your venture with us. Aside from penguins, there is an astonishing array of birdlife in Antarctica with 46 non-native species visiting annually. Bird-watchers can hope to sight albatross, shearwaters, petrels, sheathbills and skuas amongst plenty of others. Lucky travellers may also be rewarded with a sighting of the pink-faced sheatbill, Antarctica’s only native bird.
Whilst sailing Antarctica’s rich waters, keep your eyes constantly peeled for the blow from one of the many whale species that migrate here each year. From the magnificent blue whale to deep-diving sperm whales to humpback and orca, these incredible mammals have often travelled thousands of miles to feed here, often delighting visitors by breaching acrobatically out of the water or waving their tales.
The waters here are also home to six seal species. The Leopard and Ross seal can often be found living solo whilst the Weddell, Crabeater, Elephant and fur seals are social creatures who can be observed in larger groups, seeking safety in numbers.
History and Heritage
By 1820, the continent surrounding the South Pole had been officially mapped. It stayed well hidden in the Antarctic mist and became the object of many great expeditions. Some were in search of its supposed natural resources, some in search of the whales and their blubber, some in search of fame!
Despite being so far off the beaten track, humans, predominantly under sail, have left their mark on this vast Antarctic wilderness for thousands of years. From Scott’s hut at Cape Evans to Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds, experience first-hand evidence of the human drive to explore the world, as well as our endurance.
Port Lockroy offers a former British scientific research station which now welcomes visitors as a living museum. Whilst much of the Antarctic landscape remains largely as these heroic explorers found it, the signs of human activity are visible including collapsed stone shelters, weathered wooden boats and former whaling stations which are dotted along the coastline. There are very few places where our connection to the past feels very present.