Once I settled on what company that I wanted to go to Antarctica with, I had another decision to make… whether or not to go Antarctica kayaking! It was a pretty hefty extra expense, and I just didn’t know if I was fit enough or if it was even worth it. Now that I’m back, I really wanted to put together the kind of article I wish I could have found before I went on my trip, so you can learn more about kayaking in Antarctica. The kind of article that answers all of my questions and questions that I didn’t even know I had! Please keep reading to see what this experience was truly like to see if Antarctica kayaking is for you!
Going to Antarctica? Read these!
- Why I picked G Adventures
- My Antarctica Trip Cost
- G Adventures Antarctica Cruise Review
- What it is like to go Camping in Antarctica
Is Antarctica Kayaking Always Available?
Unlike camping, Kayaking is available on every cruise itinerary, although not necessarily every day. When I was first considering it, I thought that kayaking was only a one day option! Honestly, even if that were true, I probably still would have done it, lol. But actually, weather depending, you can go twice a day!
Do You Need Special Gear to Go Kayaking in Antarctica?
Absolutely. Not just because you’d be kayaking, but also because you’re in cold water! But, that is all provided by the company! You’re provided a dry suit, booties, pogies, spray skirt, kayak, and paddles! All you need!
One thing I was a little worried about was fitting in the kayak. I received an email that said you must fit certain dimensions to be able to kayak. Ok… well I measured, and it would be tight, but I should fit. I was a little confused because I’ve kayaked a lot before, and it was never a problem.
However, once I got there, I felt much better. They have dry suits up to 5XL! So, no worries they should have equipment for pretty much anyone!
Does It Cost Extra to Go Kayaking in Antarctica?
Yes, it does. Some people don’t like that you have to pay extra for something, but I didn’t mind since the company I signed up with, G Adventures, was cheaper than most of the other companies anyway. And I think it’s preferable to add something you want rather than having to pay for something you might not use. Plus, by keeping it an optional extra, it keeps the numbers down.
You definitely don’t want a lot of people out kayaking with you.
The price for kayaking depends on which itinerary you choose since the number of days varies!
Will I See Any Wildlife When Antarctica Kayaking?
As with anything and anywhere in Antarctica, there are no guarantees! However, I can attest that I did, in fact, see a lot of wildlife! A lot depends on luck, but because the kayaks don’t have motors, we can get pretty close to the wildlife because we don’t scare them!
You still have to maintain certain distances from animals based on species for our and their safety, but the animals do come close to see who you are.
One thing that surprised me about penguins is how they jump out of the water like dolphins. I had NO idea that they did that. Seeing them do it from way up on the ship was cool, but eye level on the kayak was something else.
We also got to see some snoozy seals.
What Is the Weather Like While You’re Kayaking?
Weather can change day by day, hour by hour, or even minute by minute. The crew will not let you go out kayaking if the conditions are not suitable, and they monitor the weather at all times to ensure your safety!
Every day we went out was absolutely picture perfect <3 There was only one day that the wind conditions were too high for the kayaking, so we just did a regular landing instead.
Do You Have to Be Physically Fit for Kayaking Antarctica?
They definitely caution you that you need to be fit and have some kayaking experience. Kayaking in Antarctica should NOT be your first time in a kayak! I’m considered overweight, and I saw some people larger than me, and they were able to do it. It’s person-powered, so you’re in control of how fast you go and for how long.
There was only one day that I started getting really tired, and that was because we went longer than normal. But then we had a little break while we were all looking at a seal.
How Do You Get In and Out of the Kayak?
Never fear! There will be a person or two holding the kayak steady while you and your partner get in. They will also help you put on your spray skirt and hand you paddles!
What If There is an Emergency?
A zodiac follows us around just in case. One time we paddled so far from the ship that we all got into the zodiac and dragged the kayaks behind us. I wish we did that every time because paddling away is so much more fun than paddling back.
But in the event of the weather turning, an injury, or some other emergency, you’ll have quick access to a rescue boat. Yay!
What Should I Bring To Be As Comfortable As Possible?
These are things that I did think to bring!
These are helpful items that should be on anyone’s packing list, but when I was out on the water, I definitely wanted a hat! This is my fave hat because it has a blu tooth music speaker in it, it can buckle on my head (helpful if windy), covers my ears as well, and also has a mouth flap that’s attached.
I also had a gaiter to warm my neck, chin, mouth or nose. Very versatile and easier to move around than the above hat mouth covering. Make sure to get wool!
I also got this dry bag for my cell phone. My cell phone is actually waterproof, but it’s not drop-proof! This bag allows me to touch the screen through the bag, but I often just took my phone out of the bag since the water was so calm.
These are things that now that I’ve gone, I wish I’d had!
If you have a Go Pro you MUST have a way to attach to the kayak. TRAGEDY because my Go Pro was slid into a mount, but the MOUNT came off. You either need to find a way to also tie it to the kayak (seemed overkill, since what was the point of the mount? But joke’s on me since mine fell in the water) or a floating thing attached to your Go Pro. They are waterproof… but they do not float D:
I had some nice touchscreen gloves, but I wish I had gotten *waterproof* gloves. Your hands will go inside some pogies which are basically like wet suit material around your hands… but as the name suggests, your hands will be wet. It def keeps them warmer than without, but not dry. Some nice waterproof gloves underneath with some gripping would be much more comfortable. Touch screen fingertips also a pro!
I also wish that I had brought a Go Pro pole. Sometimes the Go Pro was mounted on the kayak, sometimes on my head, but a pole would be nice! A few times there were penguins (or for some lucky people, whales!!!!) zooming around us underwater. I wish I had my pole to dunk my camera in to catch that footage! My friend did it but her hand was frozen afterwards. Also, bring something to wipe the droplets of the lens when you’re done.
What if I Change My Mind?
You can change your mind up until you go out the first time for no penalty. There is always a waitlist so there is NO shame in backing out because someone will very happily take your spot. However, once you get started, you can’t get a refund.
Overall, is Antarctica Kayaking Worth It?
The silence. Several times we would just float there and hear the roar of SILENCE. You get so up close with nature; it is soul-stirring. I’m a fairly cheap person by nature (how else can I afford these wild trips??), but when I tell you that kayaking was worth every penny, I hope you believe it.
The worst was having to decide to kayak or land. Almost every time you had to choose, but we did have a landing where we got to paddle first and then go on land. That was the day I lost my camera to the water 🙁 I would say that was the worst, but that will not apply to you because you’ll learn from my mistake!
Major things to consider:
- You should definitely book it even if you’re not sure about it because it will sell out. You can always drop it later for no financial penalty.
- Try and get in first or paddle at the front to get more pics without other travelers.
- Make friends with other boats and take pics of each other!
- Sometimes the ship’s professional photographer will join you on the paddle in the zodiac. Photographers are not paid, but if you buy them a drink, they’re more likely to take more pics of you 🙂 #Bribery
- Better to be too warm and take layers off than be too cold and not have enough to put on!
- Bring a dry bag for anything you want to bring!
- Make sure everything is attached to something, so you won’t drop.
- Always know what you’re putting in what pockets, so you don’t have to search for things all the time.
- Bring chapstick!
Please pin if you found this helpful to share with others!