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Antarctica Expedition

In January 2020, took a Expedition Cruise to George Island in Antarctica, King George Island is one of the most important and frequently visited islands in Antarctica. It is located in the South Shetland Islands archipelago, which lies off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.

In Ushuaia Argentina, getting ready for my Antarctica expedition

Puerto Williams Chile
Puerto Williams Chile

Took a Expedition Ship cruise from Ushuaia Argentina and fly back to Punta Arenas Chile from King George Island Antarctica. Sail and fly combo. 

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators limits the number of passengers allowed on Antarctica to 100 at any given time.


Expedition Ship Ocean Nova docked at Puerto Williams Chile over looking the Beagle Channel, that's the ship that took me to King George Island Antarctica, Picture above

Dress for Antarctica - you'll be going in and out of Zodiac boats, your outer layer has to be water proof and not water resistant. Get a good pair of water proof pants to wear on top of your regular pants. My Cruise company provided me with water proof boots.

Shared  Cabin - I had opted for a shared cabin as it is cheaper than a single room, most of my waking hours were spent in the observation Deck. Coffee and tea, snacks were available 24/7.

Food on the ship - Amazing 3 meals a day.

Alcohol - Wine and Beer is served with food in the ship, I did bring a bottle of Vodka which I bought at a store in Ushuaia and did not drink and ended up giving to the staff at the ship.

Travel Insurance - you'll need Proof of Travel Medical Insurance

Ushuaia Argentina

Above is the Port of Ushuaia Passport control, one walks from the passport control building to where the ship is docked. The Port was walking distance from my Hotel.

Once aboard the ship, the ship crew kept our passport and returned it once we cleared the Chilean immigration in Puerto Williams. I boarded the Expedition Ship in Ushuaia.

Puerto Williams Chile

The actual world's southernmost city, our ship docked here for little over an hour, we were allowed to go ashore and explore. The Chilean Immigration officers boarded the ship and we had to wait 10 minutes before going, as there is a passport check.

On shore we had 2 groups, one went to the museum and second to see the front section of the Yelcho, Yelcho was a ship that was used to rescue men left behind by Shackleton on Elephant island. In our observation deck briefing the speaker talked about Sir Shackleton, there are books online and wiki pages on Shackleton and the Yelcho, if you do go read up on those as it will give better appreciation on the challenges faced by Artic explorers in the early 1900's

I went to both, to see the Prow of Yelcho and the museum. The museum was closed there was a whale skeleton in the front lawn.

Port Williams is a upcoming town with tourism a big industry and a Naval base, could not explore more as we has limited time.

Once back on-board the ship headed towards Cape Horn, due to rough sea we were not able to visit Cape Horn. Antarctica Expeditions are at the mercy of the weather.

Crossing the Drake Passage

The Drake Passage is a 600 mile (1,000 km) wide body of water that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It's located between Cape Horn in South America and the South Shetland Islands in Antarctica.
The Drake Passage is named after the 16th-century English explorer Sir Francis Drake. 

The Drake Passage is considered one of the most treacherous voyages for ships. The currents at this latitude meet no resistance from any landmass, and waves can top 40 feet.  

It takes around 48 hours to cross the Drake Passage by boat. 

The dreadful Drake Passage, some folks experience a calm sea and some what is called the Drake shake. We had the Drake Shake, I had motion sickness Pills with me but still had to spend a day sick in bed. About 1 in 4 crossings will experience turbulent seas.

Antarctica sunset

Sunset over the Antarctic Ocean

The sunsets in Antarctica are some of the most beautiful in the world. The sky can be ablaze with color, from fiery reds and oranges to soft pinks and purples. The contrast between the bright colors of the sky and the stark white ice is truly breathtaking.

The best time to see the sunset in Antarctica is during the spring and summer months, when the days are longer and the sun is higher in the sky. However, even during the winter months, you can still see beautiful sunsets, albeit shorter ones.

If you ever have the chance to visit Antarctica, be sure to take some time to enjoy the sunset. It is an experience you will never forget.

Ship Life

It was a fun 4 nights and 5 day at sea, there were daily briefings as the activities of the day, dolphin and whale sightings were broadcast, I spent a lot of time on the observation deck. There was a small gym and a library, movie nights with popcorn. Expert talks on sea birds, whales, safety drill. The crew made us super comfortable.

South Shetland Islands

The ship docked in the ocean and the Zodiac boats brought us ashore, during our briefing we were told to keep our distance from the Sea lions and the Penguins.

There were thousands of Penguins, click to enlarge the picture

Glacier - The scenery is breathtaking

The ship crew bought out the zodiac boats and took us to see the Glacier, there was a surprise waiting for us, the ship crew roped all the boats together and had a champagne toast 'to visiting Antarctica'

Polar Plunge

The Polar Plunge is a rite of passage for visitors to Antarctica and the Arctic. It involves jumping into near-freezing water, usually off a ship or Zodiac. The water temperature varies by location and season, but is typically between 35-45 degrees Fahrenheit.

King George Island

This was our last stop before boarding a flight to Punta Arenas. The Zodiac boat dropped us off, we had time to see the Russian Orthodox Church, built in Siberia and assembled in Antarctica. This small Russian Orthodox church is near Bellingshausen Station, Russia's permanent outpost in Antarctica. It's the southernmost Orthodox church in the world. One needs to take their boots off to go inside the Church.

The boots were knee high and were needed to get on and off the Zodiac boats.

Also there is the Chilean and the Russian research station, I only visited the Russian research station gift shop to get my passport stamped. They were selling souvenirs.

Then we had to walk through a dirt road to board our plane. It was almost mile and half walk, I was over dressed and was sweating.

And that is the flag of Chile and not the flag of Texas

Antarctic Airways is the first commercial airline in Antarctica. The airline is part of AerovĂ­as DAP and has a fleet of six aircraft. Their flights depart from Punta Arenas, Chile and land at Union Glacier, Antarctica. 

Antarctica is considered a no-fly zone because it is the most remote and isolated continent on Earth. It has an extreme climate, with temperatures that can reach as low as -89 degrees Celsius in some areas. 
Antarctica does not have any airports or scheduled airline services. Instead, planes land on ice runways with limited technical support on the ground. Pilots must undergo specialist training to make these landings. 

Antarctica has 15 out of 30 stations with runways for fixed-wing aircraft. However, in many parts of Antarctica, there's limited or no infrastructure, no landing strips, and no refueling stations for planes.

Antarctic Airways plane ready to take us to Punta Arenas Chile

2 hours later

At the airport we had to return the boots that that were given to us, I spent a night at Punta Arenas and was off to Santiago Chile

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Questions or Comments?


  1. The views look magnificent. What a great space that you have put together for all of your travels. It is so informative. I have a friend who is very interested in traveling to Antarctica. I am not about a cold-weather journey, but I'm sure it is breathtaking. Looking forward to experiencing your next adventure.

  2. This sounds like SUCH an amazing trip!! I'm so envious. I also like that they included drinks. Lots of times alcohol is an upgrade. I'm sure the staff appreciated your vodka. That was so nice of you to leave for them!

    1. Yes on most of the cruise liners, alcohol is an upgrade

  3. Antartica is on my bucket list - I guess it also requires some budget and planning. So your trip account helps a lot for an idea about the whole trip and what to expect. Very nicely written and helpful.

  4. Doing an Antarctic visit with a cruise one way and flying back is a great way to avoid doing the dreaded Drake Crossing both ways. We too started our cruise in Puerto Williams but we were sad we did not have enough time to see this tiny place before we left. We were glad we did the polar plunge but it is not for everyone. Sounds like a good trip.

  5. Antartica cruise sounds like a great trip! Crossing the Drake passage and viewing the massive glacier must have been the high points in the cruise. Polar plunge is for tough skinned adventurers who can take that ice cold water. Enjoyed the blog post.

  6. I have always wanted to visit Antarctica. It is at the top of my bucket list and hope one day I will. I visited Chile and I did meet people who have been to Antarctica, from whom I've learned how bad the Drake Passage can be. It's astonishing that you got sick even with motion sickness pills. But it was all worth it. Being on the same piece of land with penguins, in the wild, can't be compared.

  7. A trip to Antarctica has always been our bucket list. Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience. Will definitely make sure we have the right attire. The views are amazing and I look forwarding to seeing the penguins up close.

  8. I can feel your excitement when visiting Antarctica. Visiting Puerto Williams, the southernmost town of the world, seeing thousands of penguins up closed at South Shetland Island, seeing the Orthodox southernmost church, got your passport stamped, and many more. I'm sure the experiences will stay forever in your memory. I hope I will do these experiences, too.

  9. What an incredible trip! I have always wanted to visit Antarctica. The drake shake must have been quite adventurous. Polar Plunge would be too much for me. Being up close and personal with so many penguins must have been quite an experience !

  10. The Antarctica expedition looks so wonderful with all the voyage details. It's a great expedition starting from Ushaia Argentina and fly from Chile to King George Island.
    It's nice that there was whale and dolphins watching opportunity from the ship and you also got to see penguins roaming in the South Shetland Island.Nice to know that Drake passage connects Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and there is Antarctic airways which flies from Chile.Watching sunsets from Antarctica must be priceless.


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