For those who’re after an actual journey (and supreme bragging rights), then you need to add tenting in Antarctica to your bucket listing!
Having camped in hundreds of different places world wide, having the ability to sleep beneath the celebs on the white continent is one thing we knew can be an actual journey.
And similar to any actual journey, there was no assure of success.
Earlier than signing up for the 11-day Antarctic Peninsula Adventure we chatted with the gross sales crew and discovered that departing on the finish of February meant the climate can be beginning to get colder, they usually couldn’t promise that the tenting mission would go forward.
This didn’t deter us although and we knew that whether or not we slept on the continent or not, it will nonetheless be one thing we’d always remember.
Once we boarded the Akademik Ioffe in Ushuaia, our expedition chief Boris introduced that it appeared situations might be deteriorating, and for security causes they must wait to see what occurred.
We crossed the Drake Passage throughout a storm and thought our possibilities have been gone with the wind. That was till we awoke on the primary morning within the Antarctic Peninsula.
Blue skies greeted us and there was no wind! We couldn’t consider our luck and we spent the primary day happening zodiac and island excursions.
After lunch rumours began to go across the ship that maybe tonight the climate would keep clear, and situations would enable us to camp on the continent. Pleasure ranges have been at an actual excessive.
Positive sufficient after we returned from our second tour for the day the announcement went over the PA system – the ship’s captain, and expedition chief, had authorised this journey.
Try loads of different wonderful things to do in Antarctica in our newest article.
The Security Briefing
Tenting in Antarctica is an optionally available exercise that’s included on a few of One Ocean Expedition’s journeys, and about half of the company have been ecstatic to strive it out.
Everybody who’s needed to meet on the bow for a compulsory security briefing, the place Ben, the assistant expedition chief, went over what was the be anticipated and the gear that will be used.
The forecast for the night was a balmy -5°C, pretty heat contemplating we have been in Antarctica. This meant that the true threat of anybody affected by the chilly was nearly non-existent with the excessive tech tenting gear.
Quite than sleeping in tents the One Ocean Expeditions crew use bivy sacks for his or her tenting actions. These waterproof, windproof sacks are good for cold-weather tenting and in addition enable a transparent view of the sky above.
We have been proven put the thermal mat contained in the bivy sack, adopted by the heavy obligation sleeping baggage. The baggage are rated to -15°C consolation, so everybody was going to be heat sufficient.
In addition to going over the gear we have been all reminded of the strict quarantine legal guidelines on Antarctica, which meant we might take nothing onto the continent with us apart from contemporary water, clothes and our digital camera gear.
Going to the toilet can be strictly prohibited. A bucket and tarpaulin cowl can be introduced onto land for these needing to go quantity ones, but when at any level somebody wanted to do their enterprise in the course of the night time they’d be taken again to the ship to take action.
With every little thing defined and understood we headed again to the cabins to prepare for this epic journey.
Heading To Hovgaard Island
After dinner we brushed our tooth, went to the toilet, loaded up with all of the warmest garments we owned and headed to the zodiacs.
The situation for our night time tenting in Antarctica was going to be Hovgaard Island, a small island off of the Antarctic Peninsula. Penguins and seals have full management of the place, and we liked the concept of hanging out with these curious neighbours.
We walked down the gangway, whereas the passengers who had opted to remain on the ship stood outdoors, drinks in hand, singing us songs and cheering.
The environment on the zodiac was buzzing, and the solar began to dip decrease within the sky. We couldn’t wait to lastly contact down on Hovgaard Island!
Tenting In Antarctica
We landed on Hovgaard and instantly collected our tenting gear. We walked as much as a big, snowy slope that had been allotted by the One Ocean Expeditions crew because the official Antarctica Campground, and set to work establishing our bivy sacks.
The very first thing to do was dig out a flat platform within the snow, and the entire crew set to work with the shovels.
Quickly everybody had managed to construct a pleasant campsite, and as soon as we obtained the bivy sacks arrange we headed right down to the water’s edge to catch the sundown.
We couldn’t have deliberate it any higher. As soon as the solar dropped behind the mountains the sky lit up in violent tinges of reds and purples. The colors have been so vibrant all of us put our cameras down to easily admire it. Images couldn’t do it justice.
As to be anticipated, now that we have been within the shade the temperature began to drop quickly. All of us made our approach again to the bivy sacks, took off our boots, snow pants and snow jackets, and crawled inside.
It took a couple of minutes to heat up, however as soon as we did the bivy sack and sleeping bag turned fairly cosy. We stuck our camera gear inside with us to ensure it didn’t freeze, and slowly drifted off as the celebs began to got here out.
The snow platform was surprisingly comfy, and with the thermal mat, sack and sleeping baggage between our our bodies and the snow we have been protected against the weather.
At about 1am I felt a delicate shake and awoke. Alesha rolled over in direction of me and whispered, “Have a look at the celebs.” I turned my eyes up and couldn’t consider what I noticed.
Billions of stars glowed brightly in the dead of night sky, glistening like glitter beneath a strobe mild. The Milky Means rose above the snow-capped peaks in an impressive arc.
“Take a photograph,” Alesha mumbled, earlier than rolling over to return to sleep. As heat as I used to be, I needed to try and capture what I was seeing. Defying the chilly I sat up, caught my arms out and arrange the tripod and digital camera.
For five minutes I snapped just a few pictures, spending the time whereas the shutter was open to gaze in direction of the heavens and watch the celebs shine. After I had captured just a few I packed every little thing up and fell again asleep, making an attempt to get heat once more.
We stirred awake round 6am with the solar already excessive within the sky. Among the different campers have been already up and strolling round, and we rapidly joined them.
Crawling out of the bivy sack was fairly troublesome with the chilly temperatures outdoors, however we did it as rapidly as attainable, bouncing round as soon as we have been out to get the blood flowing.
Inside a couple of minutes we had put all our garments again on, packed up the sacks, sleeping baggage and mats, and made our approach again in direction of the ready zodiacs.
The One Ocean Expeditions crew did a ultimate sweep of Hovgaard Island to ensure no overseas objects had been left behind, then we made our approach again to the Akademik Ioffe.
Craig, the restaurant supervisor and Beckie the bartender have been ready for the blissful campers with contemporary espresso and tea out on the deck, and to say it was appreciated can be an enormous understatement.
All of us gathered round, sipped on our sizzling brew and set free an enormous cheers. We had managed to outlive an evening tenting in Antarctica, and the expertise is just not one thing we’ll ever overlook.
Ideas For Tenting In Antarctica?
The primary to bear in mind when tenting in Antarctica is that it is just attainable in summer time when there may be ample sunlight hours and temperatures are a lot hotter.
That being mentioned that is nonetheless thought of cold-weather tenting, and subsequently you want specialist gear to do it. 3-season tents gained’t reduce it right here.
We visited Antarctica with One Ocean Expeditions, they usually had prime quality winter-grade bivy sacks, sleeping baggage and thermal mats for all their passengers to make use of on the continent.
With crucial gear taken care of, the following factor to take with you in your Antarctica tenting journey is heat garments.
We suggest sporting thermal pants and thermal tops (merino wool is our private selection), in addition to two pairs of heat socks, a sweater, gloves and beanie. Additionally convey a torch, headlamp or your telephone with a light-weight.
The outerwear and snow boots will likely be provided by One Ocean Expeditions, so you may go away the large, cumbersome jackets and pants at residence.
Take a bottle of consuming water with you, however that’s all you may take. No meals or different forms of drinks are allowed on the continent for environmental causes.
A big waste bucket is supplied, together with a tent-style cowl to go round it for people who wanted to go to the bathroom whereas on the island. That is solely obtainable for quantity ones although, so be sure to go to the bathroom earlier than leaving the ship.
If at any time you’re feeling uncomfortable or wish to return to the ship you may ask one of many One Ocean Expeditions crew members and they’ll return you on a zodiac instantly. However when you return to the ship, you aren’t allowed to return.
Crucial factor to recollect is that whereas that is an thrilling exercise, and one thing that you simply’ll be telling your pals about for years to return, it’s not precisely ‘harmful’.
If there’s any likelihood of a storm rolling in or the temperatures dropping considerably, the expedition chief will cancel the night time’s exercise. This can be a bummer, however they actually do have everybody’s security as their predominant concern.
The largest tip we may give for tenting in Antarctica is to simply give it a go! It’s a once-in-a-lifetime alternative, and is without doubt one of the most wonderful issues you may ever tick off your bucket listing.
Our night time spent tenting in Antarctica was carried out as a part of our partnership with One Ocean Expeditions. All ideas, opinions and stars we tried to rely whereas mendacity in our bivy sacks are, as at all times, our personal.
Newest posts by Alesha and Jarryd (see all)