Antarctica is a special destination and due to its remoteness quite unreachable for a lot of people. But because of its special landscape, unique wildlife it can be a dream destination also for families. We decided when we started our blog that we will present also families that travel and their amazing worldwide adventures. Our fellow slovenian photographer Sašo Novoselič recently visited this cold continent and made a brief description for us so we can imagine how the journey looks like. It was not a family trip, but this trip is so unique that we decided to present it anyway. Have a great read – we really enjoyed reading it!
Visiting Antarctica can be a very expensive thing, although we must not forget the good side of it: you can see something amazing, so pure and beautiful, that you soon forget the expensive part of the journey.
I had the 7th continent on my mind for a long time, but lately, such trips became within available and possible budget. As I have witnessed, even families decided to take such a trip.
So, how do we get »down there«? First thing is to go to Ushuaia, Argentina’s southern city, from where all the trips to Antarctic peninsula are made. This is the cheapest way and also most popular. People come to Ushuaia for the starting point even from Australia. It is cheaper for them, rather than traveling from Australia directly to Antarctica. The best option is, if you are already in Argentina or even better, in Ushuaia. Then, you just find the nearest tourist agency, that offers last minute trips to Antarctica. Be aware, trips are available only from November to March. Otherwise, a deep winter makes traveling to Antarctica impossible.
As I mentioned, journey starts in Ushuaia. I booked the shortest version, since it is most inexpensive. The package included 11 days: to peninsula and back. Currently in Slovenia, such trips are offered for 5.000 EUR + flight ticket. Remember, if you go there with the agency from your country, you have to make a reservation one year in advance. If I recall correctly, last minute ticket from Ushuaia can be as low as 3.500 USD. If you luckily get one, of course. Sometimes, those trips are sold out quickly. You can also purchase a package, that includes Falkland Islands, but it adds 1.000 USD or more to the final price.
First part of the trip is very unusual. Due to fact, that ship has to cross Drake Passage (search Youtube for this), sea sickness is a commmon thing. Believe me, there is only a small number of people, who can handle it … even with pills. I hardly managed not to throw up. But, it is kind of amusing. 14 meters high waves make everything crazy. I barely catched my morning coffee, when it almost slipped from the table or when I finished taking a shower and wanted to go to sleep, I crawled on the floor to reach the bed. There is also a special piece of furniture prepared under the bed, to stick it under your body on one side, so you do not fall off.
The whole ship has sickness bags hanging on every corner, if you can not make it to the toilet in your room.
Eating is another speciality. Every meal was different. For example, some lunch was Philippine cuisine, other was Argentinean or American with BBQ and chicken wings. You sit at a different table every time and meet a lot of interesting people from all around the world. Having exciting debates with international guests and eating a delicious food is always a plus, right?
Everything is rewarded when you arrive to Antarctica. Landscape is so amazing, you can just sit and watch. Beautiful blue color of ice, penguins in natural habitat and endless snow landscape is more than perfect.
We slept on a ship for the whole cruise, since there are no hotels or any other capacities on Antarctica. We made 2 or 3 trips with Zodiacs (small rubber boats) per day. Sometimes, we went ashore and hike around on snow, other times just sailing among icebergs. After that, we returned back to »mother ship« and had lunch or dinner. When we were not going out, we had other interesting activities. On board were couple of scientists, who gave us lectures on everything concerning Antarctica. Climate, wild life, nature and we even watched movies about these issues. Days were fulfilled and 11 of them went by very quickly.
We visited some research stations, where we were welcomed by friendly staff who gave us lectures about their mission. You can also send a postcards from one base, which is very unique.
Our ship managed to reach the edge of a polar circle, where ice was already so hard, that ship could not go any further.
A lot of amazing things happened, which I will never forget and they keep reminding me about one thing: money does not matter, only memories count. I will always remember swimming with the penguins in -1,5°C Southern Ocean, standing on ice in the middle of the frozen sea, walking on the edge of a volcano, riding in a Zodiac and holding tight to the ropes while jumping over the waves and I will definitely remember the peacefulness of this remote land. It is a highly recommended destination, if you can afford it. My advice is to hurry up, since there are no tourist facilities so far, but sooner or later Antarctica will follow the greed and unfortunately become more touristic. And that will no longer be a real Antarctica.
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