Antarctic Travel - Why you should sail the southern ocean!

Fly-cruises are becoming a popular way to see Antarctica and more ships are offering that option which you can find on our website (just do a trip search and choose fly-cruise in the destination drop down menu). For me, I still yearn for my time sailing the southern ocean to experience  the birds you don't see if you fly to Antarctica and the chance encounters with whales. There is the watch for the first iceberg and the 360 degree view of open ocean and sky. If the Drake should be rough - it just gives you a sense of what Shackleton and the other Antarctic explorers must have experienced.

I sometimes leave my camera in my cabin but I always have my binoculars for the vertual photograph imprinted in my mind. Luckily, the ship photographer had great images available on a DVD for purchase aboard the Le Boreal of that fin whale experience so it could be more than a memeory.

Let me tell you this captain brakes for whale! In fact the only crashing dishes on the whole voyage was when the captain made a hard turn to stay with some humpback whales.

Below is a Spy hopping fin whale the second largest whale in the world and two soft plumed petrels.



Or you might actually see a southern right whale.  This species was almost hunted to extinction by the early whalers.



Head or tail? Amazingly I had my camera with me for this rare sight!

Southern right what tail


You never know if you will have a close encounter with feeding orcas (near Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea). It was a feeding frenzy for the birds as well. Skuas were attacking cape petrels to make them drop their food and even landing on top of the orcas. Giant petrels were muscling in on the action as well, and the tiny Wilson storm petrels flitted around the food orgy like yellow jackets at a picnic.

 orcas in the Weddell 2011

Skuas and orca


Still, it is the albatross that you only see when you are far from land that take my breath away!

juvenile wandering albatorss


Juvenile wandering albatross (largest sea bird with more than a 12 foot wing span)

sooty albatross


Sooty Albatross one of the most beautiful birds to add to your life list!

On this voyage we sailed by C-19, one of the largest icebergs in the world.

C-19 and cape petrels


Cape petrels were flying by the ship and this iceberg is so large it was making its own weather. It took us hours to sail along one of its faces. There is no way to give you a sense of its size in a photograph. This iceberg is larger that South Georgia, one of the sub-Antarctic Islands we visited on the voyage. Check out the NASA link below!

So there is more to the Drake Passage than rock and roll if you are adventerous enough for the sailing. Let Polar Cruises make your Antarctic dream come true no matter how you get there.

Blog post by Sharon Keating from a Falklands, South Georgia, Antarctica voyage aboard the Le Boreal