Antarctic Dive Expedition 2021

EXCLUSIVE ANTARCTIC DIVE EXPEDITION

Join us in Antarctica. Having already made two spectacular expeditions to Antarctica, the African and Oriental Travel Company is going back again. We have booked all of the diving spots on Aurora Expeditions’ state of the art vessel: the MV Greg Mortimer. This unique voyage starts in Chile and sees us flying down to the airstrip at King George Island in Antarctica where we board the vessel. Flying maximizes our time on the Antarctic Peninsula and outlying islands above allowing us to start exploring immediately.

THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA & SOUTH SHETLANDS

The whales, birds, seals, penguins and iconic icebergs are all good reasons to visit Antarctica, but most impressive is that all this takes place in the most majestic landscape. 10,000ft mountains rise up out of the sea and tower over the secluded bays and islands. There you’ll see many species of penguins, leopard seals, Weddell seals, crab-eating seals, albatrosses, skuas, snow petrels, and various types of whales (orcas, minkes, and southern right whales are common). We start our voyage in King George Island, with no time lost travelling south.

In addition to this greatest of wildlife shows, there is a palpable sense of history in the museum at Port Lockroy, which showcases British Antarctic exploration and even a WWII operation to find U-Boats. Britain’s now forgotten presence of seaplane stations, airstrips and bases is still visible for us to see.

The MV Aurora at anchor between the icebergs. Photo courtesy SergeiAndronov/Aurora Expeditions

ALL ARE WELCOME TO JOIN; DIVERS AND NON-DIVERS

This exclusive and escorted voyage is open to all. This really is an incredible experience whether at sea, on land, or underwater. This is the perfect journey for diving and non-diving friends. We will land daily on the Antarctic Peninsula and islands under the watchful guidance of the excellent Aurora guides. When the divers have finished their dives, on most occasions they will be able to land and take in the above water scenery as well. Diving is always optional; divers can choose to dive or to stay dry and go ashore, as they wish.

Most active people will have much of the correct cold weather clothing for this voyage already. Specialized boots and jackets are provided by Aurora for the land based activities. March is the end of the season and we should have dry landings but you should be prepared as though you would be spending an entire day skiing or winter hill walking. Layers are best and we can guide you for the type and quantity of clothing if required.

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Antarctic Scuba Diving

For the divers there are the wrecks of whaling vessels, steep walls, underwater rock formations and isopods and penguins that can be seen underwater. In addition, we will try to dive on icebergs if possible, which is an experience in itself. Diver numbers are limited to 12, or two zodiacs, in order to keep this expedition safe and easy to manage. This is the smallest group of divers accepted on any Antarctic vessel, and makes this entirely exclusive. We should see seals, and benthic fauna including nudibranchs, gigantic sea spiders and isopods, fish with antifreeze in their blood, anemones, brachiopods, crinoids, and many other animals unique to Antarctica.

Polar Scuba Diving Requirements

Divers will need to show that they have completed at least 30 dry suit dives. As a diver you should be very familiar with your equipment and your equipment must be in good working order. Cylinders and weights are included; all other diving equipment must be provided by you (details upon request). For any items you do not have, we can put you in touch with first class suppliers. Such as Mike’s Dive Store or Al Boom Diving

Experience shows that it is essential that you are very comfortable in your equipment. You should be familiar and practiced in dry suit diving and be able to get in and out of your dry suit with minimal help. You will need basic lightweight scuba equipment such as a strong BCD, 2 cold water regulators (2 first stages/2 second stages/1 gauge/1 dry suit hose/1 BCD hose), weight belt, 7mm mittens and a good hood. You will need a good under-suit like a Weezle, and thick socks. Diving will be conducted from Zodiac inflatable boats which sit low in the water and are a very stable diving platform. You will get on the zodiac with your drysuit on and will don all other equipment at the dive site. Buddies help buddies to kit up while maintaining a seated and stable position. Water entry is by backward roll. Resurfacing after the dive, weights and BCD/cylinder are removed and passed into the boat before finning out in a “seal exit”.

Specialist technical diving equipment is not required for this type of diving. Quick release basic BCD’s are best as they are easy to get in and out of. Again, we are happy to offer guidance on diving equipment requirements.

Dives will be made in buddy pairs for safety. Dives are not guided once below water. Each buddy pair explores the dive site taking care of each other. This is expedition diving at its finest

Antarctic Dive Expedition - Information

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.

 

 

Antarctica
Fly to King George Island on DAP air.

The Voyage

We will depart from Punta Arenas (Chile) by DAP Air to the Chilean base at King George Island. This saves two days that would otherwise be needed to steam across the Drake Passage, maximizing our time in the Antarctic. The M/V Greg Mortimer, will be waiting for us to board and we steam south towards the Peninsula. We will dive and make landings every day, at the discretion of the Expedition Leader and Captain who will be monitoring weather, sea and ice conditions, for our safety. Our projected route will take us as far south between the islands as time permits, or until we encounter pack ice. Then we turn and slowly make our way northwards until we reach the South Shetland Islands. Here we’ll do a final dive in usually clear water and have a final glance at the 10,000ft high peaks before steaming to Ushuaia through the Drake Passage. If the weather is kind, we may even do this in 36 hours!

All cabins are twin staterooms, and while we hesitate to use the word “luxury” the MV Greg Mortimer is a premium product. With a gym, staterooms with balconies and a sauna, it is highly regarded on the Antarctic Cruise Route. Wine and Beer are included at dinner, and all of Aurora’s guides are members of the Polar Tourism Guide’s association.  

Antarctica_spirit-of-antarctica

EXPEDITION SUMMARY:

25th February 2021 Leave Europe/N-America Feb 25th
26th February 2021 Santiago De Chile, Accommodation overnight
27th February 2021 Arrive Punta Arenas.Accomodation Cabo del Horno Hotel
28th February 2021 Explore Punta Arenas. Accomodation in Hotel Cabo Del Horn
1st March 2021 Depart on DAP flight to King George Island. Board MV Greg Mortimer Accomodation on board. Expedition Commences.
11th March 2021 Disembark MV Greg Mortimer at Ushuaia Port Argentina. Transfer to Airport. Depart for Buenos Aires
12th March 2021 Depart Buenos Aires for Europe/N-America

EXPEDITION COSTS:

(all US$ All per person, payment can be made in US Dollars or GBP sterling at the prevailing rate. )

Twin berth Cabin pp:                                                       $12,730.00

Diving Surcharge:                                                            $ 1,250.00

 

 

Your Expedition Leaders:

YOUR ESCORTS
This trip will be escorted Raf and Cisca Jah, who bring experience, expertise and knowledge that will compliment your journey. They have previously led two similar expeditions to Antarctica. In addition they have worldwide travel experience with expeditions encompassing diving, hiking, mountain trekking, and safaris, in remote areas from the African plains to the deserts of the Sahara and Namibia, from the highs of the Himalayas to the lows of the Dead Sea and Death Valley, from driving across continents to fantastic train journeys through Asia and Russia to Siberia and China.
They love travel and they love adventure. They love it more when they can share it with others.

Francisca Jah MA Hons.
Cisca is a maritime anthropologist with extensive experience in maritime communities. With over 1100 dives all over the world, 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. She brings her organizational skills and educated knowledge of the region to the expedition.

 

Farhat “Raf” Jah Ba.Hons., FRGS
Raf has over 25 years’ experience organising expeditions. He ran a NAUI dive training facility in Tanzania for 20 years. A keen historian, he is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, a PADI Diving Instructor and NAUI Diving Instructor Trainer.

Antarctica Dive Expedition Prices

Antarctic expedition includes:

a.1 night accommodation Punta Arenas, Flight to King George Island, 10 nights accommodation on the MV Greg Mortimer in a twin/double balcony stateroom, daily landings, diving tanks and weights (if pre-paid), all shipboard guiding fees, all meals on board the vessel. Beer/Wine with dinners. Airport transfers in Punta Arenas and Ushuaia.
c. Diving includes: Two dives per day on diving days (at the discretion of the OW dive team leader.)
d. Flights from Europe will include: The air travel portion specified on the ticket you buy from us.
e. Extra Hotel Package includes: 1 Night in Santiago De Chile. 1 x extra nights in Punta Arenas, 1 night in Buenos Aires with airport taxis and transfers. (based upon 2 sharing)

All packages exclude:

dive gear rental, departure taxes, alcoholic drinks, soft drinks (except where specified) , personal expenses, food on shore (except breakfast where specified) land based tours, dive equipment, dive insurance, travel insurance (mandatory), clothing hire, gratuities (expected) any item not specifically mentioned on your invoice.

Currency Note: Due to the current instability of the British Pound, all items are prices in US Dollars. Payments in sterling are accepted at the current rate of exchange by prior arrangement.

Build Your Own Package

ALL PRICES IN US$
Expedition Costs: $12,730.00
Diving Surcharge: $ 1,250.00
Return Flights to From UK/USA: $ 1,276.00*
(*based upon availability)
Extra Hotels Package $ 520.00