Basecamp Antarctica Trip Report: Mar 7, 2019 aboard the Ortelius

Basecamp is a great way to get a taste of all the various activities offered on trips to Antarctica: camping, kayaking, mountaineering/snowshoeing and photography. It is important to sign up at the time of booking for each of the activities you are interested in. With Basecamp you participate once during the voyage for each of the activities you sign up for (conditions permitting).

The activities offer you a different perceptive of what Antarctica has to offer. On my voyage, the kayakers had great closeup encounters with humpback whales and seals on ice. When we camped, we slept under the open night sky with the sound of avalanches happening near us. We were lucky to have whales in the bay serenading us all night- it was magical. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to mountaineer/snowshoe because conditions changed when my turn came up.

On top of the activities, we also had some great encounters with wildlife. The leopard and Crabeater seals, as well as the Gentoo penguins were a highlight. March is the end of the season for penguins, but there are still the adults molting onshore & some curious chicks to enjoy. We had an amazing experience with a female leopard seal who hunted and ate six penguins. Passengers got some fantastic videos and pictures. I had a very curious Gentoo penguin come right up to me and start pecking at my leg. When he realized I wasn’t anything tasty or interesting he proceeded on his way to the water.

We also visited a large iceberg graveyard which has a very calming, majestic and eerie feeling all at the same time. It is a perfect spot for Zodiac cruising as there are large pieces of ice, towering icebergs and snow-capped peaks all in one place. The water was so calm and the reflections provided some great photographic opportunities. There were 20-30 crabeater seals feeding right next to our Zodiac.

Every trip is different with changing conditions and wildlife experiences. This was an amazing voyage, diverse with the activities, wildlife and scenery. I am so very grateful to experience this place where pictures and words cannot do it justice.

- Janys

Janys is on the Sales Team here at Polar Cruises.

Antarctic landscape

On the water - Kayaks and Zodiacs

Mountaineering (see those tiny people advancing upward in the 3rd picture?)

Penguins and seals

Whales and penguins