Antarctic Dive Expeditions 2021-2022

Entering the Lemaire channel, the view from the bridge of the MV Ortelius.

Antarctic Expeditions – Information

  • Our Antarctic expedition cruises are open to divers and non divers alike. Activities for non divers are multitudinal.
  • We use Oceanwide Expeditions and Aurora Expeditions. These are the best Antarctic expedition cruise  companies, with the most activities, landings and adventures.  All activities are always included in the price. 
  • If you choose to join our escorted Antarctic Expedition Cruises, you will be joining the only company in Britain that escorts its Antarctica diving tours, and no other travel company in the UK has such experienced divers on staff as your polar escorts. 
  • All Antarctic Cruises are  fully guided by professional guides from Oceanwide or Aurora expeditions.  This means you have the very best dive Polar guides for all Antarctic Landings.
  • Expedition places start at £7656.00 per person including diving 

UPCOMING ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION DATES:

MVPlancius  – Budget Antarctic Expedition Cruise      MV Aurora- Premium Antarctic Expedition Cruise

DEPART USHUAIA  : December 12th 2021                DEPART PUNTA ARENAS (AIR) 1st MARCH 2021
RETURN USHUAIA: December 22nd 2021               RETURN USHUAIA (SEA)         11th MARCH 2021

Young and old Penguins on the beach at St Andrews bay in South Georgia

The Antarctic is fantastic all the way through the spring to the autumn. There are no “best times to visit” as there can be in other locations. We simply do not go there when it is dark. But the Antarctic is very different from month to month. In the early months you have the penguins laying eggs. In the middle of the season they hatch and by the end of Autumn you are into peak whale watching season. That means you have whales playing next to the boat, and circling it.  For diving, we have selected cruises at the end of the season where there is a chance, of better visibility. We also have an exclusive dive trip in December when the Penguins are out and about and laying their eggs. The marine life is always stunning. These Antarctic Dive expeditions are exclusive. We have taken years to negotiate their arrangement, and the planning and detail that has gone into it. The 2019 Polar Diving Expedition was a huge success. Some images can be seen here.

We are now taking bookings for the Antarctic Peninsula Cruises in 2021. So join us for an exclusive and unique opportunity to dive and explore the Antarctic peninsula.

We love the Antarctic  in the height of the Antarctic summer, buts some people wish to go to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. These two locations are full of wildlife that can only be accessed by sea. We often organise non-diving Antarctic Holidays to the Falklands, South Georgia and the Weddell sea. You can see images of them here. The December Antarctic cruises to South Georgia and the Falklands give you the best chance to see the penguin breeding/gestation season, and this can make for the best all round experiences.

The MV Plancius. An old lady of the sea, but recently re-engined with 3 diesel generator propulsion, and refurbished to a very comfortable stanard. The MV Plancius’ hospitality crew are second to none.

THE ONLY ANTARCTIC DIVE EXPEDITION IN SUMMER!

Scuba diving in the Antarctic and South Atlantic Islands is no different. The most prolific land based wildlife occurs about midsummer, but the best visibility and marine life is in Autumn. The African and Oriental Travel Company has organised two exclusive dive expeditions. One with Oceanwide Expeditions, and the other with Aurora expeditions, to operate a one-off, best of the best, diving expeditions.

These exclusive and fully guided voyage is open to divers and non-divers alike. This really is an incredible experience whether at sea, on land, or underwater. Non-divers will land daily on the Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, while divers explore what is below the surface. On many occasions divers will also have the opportunity to land and view first-hand the stunning scenery and amazing life of this pristine part of our earth. Most active people will have the correct cold weather clothing for this voyage, but specialized boots (and snow shoes if needed) are provided by the boat for the land based activities. November is warm for Antarctica, but even so you should be prepared as though you would be spending an entire day outside skiing or hill walking on a snow bound and cold Welsh hillside. Contact us now to book now. 

There is no experience quite like diving on an iceberg. Melting fresh water mixes with the Antarctic sea water to create amazing kalaidescope views

ANTARCTIC SCUBA DIVING

The dive numbers are limited to 16, or two zodiacs, in order to keep this expedition exclusive and easy to manage. You will need to  show that you have completed at least 30 drysuit dives. Cylinders and weights are included; all other equipment must be provided by you. (details upon request). What you do not have, we can put you in touch with first class suppliers.

You can expect to see many species of penguins, Leopard seals, Weddell seals, Antarctic Fur seals, dusky dolphins, albatrosses, skuas, snow petrels, and whales (orcas, minkes, and southern right whales are common). Benthic fauna includes nudibranchs, gigantic sea spiders and isopods, fish with antifreeze in their blood, anemones, brachiopods, crinoids, and many other animals unique to Antarctica.

Francisca Jah scuba dives amongst the Kelp fields of South Georgia.

THE VOYAGE

We generally depart from Ushuaia, Argentina aboard the ice-strengthened and brand new M/V Hondius  at around 4pm.  The vessel cruises down the Beagle channel in between Chile and Argentina. The views of the two countries so close to each other are gorgeous.  In the night we turn south into the South Atlantic Ocean and the waves build up slightly. Soon after that we pass Cape Horn and head south.  The Drake can be calm and it can be less calm. But this is your two day digital detox, where you can relax and enjoy the crossing with three meals a day, tea and coffee and an evening bar.

During the cruise we will have access to lectures and experts and we will also prepare our dive kit and be issued boots. This two day period is one of calm and preparation. The excitement begins when we sight the Antarctic Peninsula. We then pass between the island and make landfall. We are surrounded by 10,000ft high peaks and we steam down towards the Lamaire  Channel. This early in the season the ice will be packed and so we may not get as far south as we like. Finally we visit the south Shetland Islands and then steam home to Ushuaia through our old friend the Drake Passage. The two day crossing on the way home is the time to edit photos, share stories and perhaps have a small tipple in the bar.

Heading South we see massive tabular icebergs in the Weddell sea.
Antarctic Cruises Map
   Our dive expedition will take us south along the Antarctic peninsula and then if the weather holds we will land at deception Island.

THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA & SOUTH SHETLANDS

No expedition to the Antarctic is complete without setting foot on the seventh continent. But there is so much more to Antarctica than this. The whales, birds, seals, penguins and iconic icebergs are the reason to go to Antarctica.

In addition to this, there is a palpable sense of history in the British Antarctic Survey/Heritage Trust huts that can be found on the peninsula. Britain’s post WW2 presence at the south Shetland Islands is impressive in its far sightedness. Diving on icebergs and the wrecks of whalers is an experience that must be had.

King Penguins on the beach in South Georgia

YOUR EXPEDITION GUIDES:

Every year, we operate an escorted Antarctic Dive tour and many – independent cruises, where you will be guided by the expert onboard Polar Guides. Your Expedition escorts will be Farhat and Francisca Jah.

Farhat “Raf” Jah.

Farhat started diving in 1992 and started his first dive school in 1995. He has organized and led dive expeditions on remote islands in the Indian Ocean ever since. In 1998 he crossed the Sahara Desert in a battered Landrover. Raf is a keen historian, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and NAUI Instructor Trainer with 3000 logged dives.

Francisca Jah.

Francisca is a maritime anthropologist with extensive experience in maritime communities. With over 1000 logged dives to her name, she is a very proud advanced scuba diver. She operated a beach resort on a small African island for 15 years before co-founding the African and Oriental Travel Company. An accomplished tour leader and no stranger to Antarctica, she brings her organizational skills and educated knowledge of the region to the expedition.

EXPEDITION FEES

Antarctic Expeditions vary in cost. Oceanwide are the cheaper option. Aurora are slightly more expensive.

Average costs per person on the Antarctic Peninsula range from:

 US $6000 offers on Oceanwide Expeditions, to on to $10,500 on Aurora Expeditions.

South Georgia Cruises start at $12,700.  Contact us to tailor make your Antarctic itinerary.

Prices include: Expedition, diving tanks and weights, all shipboard guiding fees, all meals on board the vessel. Two dives per day on diving days (at the discretion of the dive leader.) When the diving option is selected. All activities are subject to weather. You must expect “blown out days”.

Not Included: flights, airport transfers, hotels, dive gear rental, departure taxes, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, personal expenses, food on shore (except breakfast) land based tours, dive equipment, dive and travel insurance (mandatory), clothing hire.

BUILD YOUR OWN PACKAGE:

As per the oceanwide requirements you will need to spend a night in Ushuaia. We strongly recommend 2 nights in case of any baggage issues. We are more than happy to tailor make your package with flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, hotels and transfers in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia. We also offer diving and tours  in Ushuaia and flights to Buenos Aires from your home town if required. Simply contact us below and we will organize everything.

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