There are icebergs drifting past us, giant snowy mountains, and whales everywhere. I am headed to Antarctica, my number one travel bucket list destination, but the adventure of Antarctica begins long before you get there. First, you have to get to Ushuaia, Argentina. It’s known as the gateway to Antarctica. In Ushuaia, I boarded the Seaborn Venture, thanks to Seaborn, who’s hosting me for this trip. The Seaborn Venture is known for its incredible Antarctic experiences.
Crossing the Drake Passage
Before reaching Antarctica, you have to cross the Drake Passage, which is the body of water between the southernmost tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It is known to have the roughest seas in the world. The stretch is nearly 600 miles. I even had the chance to watch albatross soar around the ship, which was incredible.
Arriving at Antarctica
After two days of sailing across the Drake Passage, the Antarctic continent emerged on the horizon. It was a dramatic and exciting moment. The expedition team wasted no time getting us out on shore. We made shore landings every day, depending on weather conditions.
I was most excited about seeing the wildlife, especially penguins. Antarctica is home to some of the largest penguin colonies in the world. Every shore landing had penguins, including chin strap penguins, adelie penguins, and the most common, gentoo penguins. There were many special moments, like seeing penguins napping or witnessing penguin parenting challenges.
Protecting Wildlife and the Environment
To protect wildlife and the environment, there are strict rules to follow during shore landings. We had to be careful about what we wore and brought on shore. Before going out, we walked through disinfecting tubs to prevent the spread of disease. It was a unique and cool experience.
Submarine and Kayaking Experiences
The Seabourn Venture offers submarine and kayaking experiences. The submarines can dive nearly a thousand feet, allowing guests to see wildlife and plant life in the depths of the ocean. Kayaking among icebergs was also a cool and unique experience.
Visiting Port Lockroy
We stopped at Port Lockroy, which has the world’s southernmost post office. It’s a former British military base and home to a gentoo penguin colony. The place was charming and made for great photo opportunities.
The Lemaire Channel
We sailed through the Lemaire Channel, a narrow channel with steep snowy cliffs on either side. It is known for its beauty. As an added bonus, we had the company of a lone orca swimming alongside the ship.
Luxury Expedition Ship
The Seabourn Venture is a luxury expedition ship designed for polar environments. The interior design is beautiful, with explorer-themed touches throughout. There are lounges, mudrooms, and drying closets to ensure comfort and convenience for passengers.
On this ship, there are many amenities to enjoy. There is a locker to store gear, a sauna for relaxation, heated whirlpools, and a swimming pool to take in the scenery. There are also plenty of dining options, with sushi being a favorite. The suites are spacious and luxurious. I had chance to sail into an active volcano in Antarctica called Deception Island. Although it is currently low risk, the ship has an emergency plan in place. As my journey came to an end, I am grateful for the incredible experiences and moments that surpassed my dreams.