Join Tim Blakemore for a once in a lifetime sailing and ski expedition to the ‘last continent’.
One of Earth’s last great wildernesses, Antarctica remains wild and unspoilt. Accessible by yacht (from Tierra del Fuego) the Peninsula can be reached in around 4 or 5 days.
Once there we use the yacht as a floating base camp; typically staying two nights at any one anchorage and using a RIB to gain the shore. Objectives are almost limitless. Often day peaks are around 600 – 1200m though bigger objectives can be attempted via static camps (we will pull pulks containing tents, stoves and sleeping bags).
Along the way we spend time amongst the fauna of Antarctica – Humpback, Fin and Minke whales, Orca and Dolphin. Weddell, Crab Eater, Elephant and Leopard Seal have all been regularly seen on previous trips and penguins are guaranteed! The Peninsula is home to Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie and we often see Magellanic in the Beagle Channel.
The snow is typically spring like. Powder can be found but it is rare and the main hazards are large scale crevassing – much of the skinning is roped. The scenery and ambience is incredible however and the rewards immense.
Potential guests should be prepared for long term discomfort on the yacht. Most guests take sea sickness medication which leaves you a little lethargic (as does sea travel) though once on the Peninsula the sea is calm.
Food is excellent and plentiful.
Typically yacht expeditions sail between Deception Island in the North and Vernadsky Base in the south.
1. Depart LHR for overnight flight
2. Arrive Ushuaia, Argentina. Night in hosteria.
3. Day in Ushuaia. Last minute provisioning for camping supplies. Another night in hosteria.
4 – 8. Crossing of the Drake Passage to Antarctica (3-5 days).
9 – 25. Ski mountaineering in Antarctica. Options are almost endless and we hope to ski a variety of objectives – both from the yacht as day trips and also from a multi day base camp. Within this time we hope to visit bases (manned and un manned), penguin colonies and other sites of interest. Weather is generally settled but we may have days off for rest/poor weather.
Some yachts have kayaks as an option.
26 – 30. Return across the Drake Passage to Ushuaia. The yacht skipper will start to plan this up to a week ahead in accordance with the weather and wind (they are very good at reading and using depressions). We may arrive a day or two early.
31. Ushuaia – depart yacht. Night hosteria
32. Depart Ushuaia flying to Buenos Aires. Overnight at Holiday Inn.
33. Depart Buenos Aires.
34. Arrive home.
We are one of the few operators who guide this trip and have a good working knowledge of the area, as well as the yachts/skippers. I would urge you to get in touch and have a good chat before booking (the terms and conditions are unique to this trip as the deposit is non refundable).
The Antarctic Ski Sail industry is in its infancy and not, for e.g. the same as a yacht charter in Lyngen!