Carina's Antarctic Adventure
Carina Svensson works at the PolarQuest office, where she coordinates our expeditions to Galapagos and Antarctica. In February she left the office and headed out on a big adventure – her first Fly & Cruise expedition. Are you curious to hear about her trip? Read the interview below!
Can you tell us about the flight over the Drake Passage?
I was pleasantly surprised when I boarded the plane. I am not sure of what I had expected, but I probably thought it would be quite small and crowded, but it was spacious with comfortable seats and nice catering. The only thing that differed from a regular flight was that 20 minutes before landing there was an announcement telling everyone to get their polar gear on! The journey took around two hours (by ship it takes at least a day and a half). As the weather Gods were on our side we could enjoy the magnificent views of the Beagle Channel and the South Shetland Islands from above. Landing on King George Island made the flight an extraordinary experience. There was no arrival hall; instead we walked directly from the plane towards the shore and the Zodiacs. 15 minutes later we were on board Ocean Nova! The flights departure time are always weather dependent. We did not know what time we were supposed to fly until the night before, it is all part of the adventure!
You chose sea kayaking as an extra option, tell us more!
I am an active person with previous experience of kayaking and this time I wanted to experience Antarctica in a different way. And what an adventure it was! I will never forget the feeling of slowly gliding past icebergs and glaciers or the close encounters we got with the wildlife. One day we kayaked only meters from a leopard seal resting on an ice floe, and another day we had a humpback whale just next to us. On this expedition we went out seven times with the kayaks, but naturally the number of outings is weather dependent. We got into the kayaks when the rest of the group were out on a Zodiac cruise or made a landing. Sometimes we made a shorter paddling so that we also had the chance to go ashore.
You were on board the Ocean Nova for six days, was it enough?
Yes! We had time for several landings and Zodiac cruises and on board we had the chance to listen to many interesting lectures. We got to experience icebergs and glaciers, encountered humpback and minke whale, Gentoo and chinstrap penguins as well as several species of seal such as Weddell, leopard and elephant seal. In addition we spotted lots of birds, including petrels and Antarctic terns. I had travelled with Ocean Nova before and my experience was at least as good as the last time around. It is a very comfortable and cosy ship with a wonderful crew, knowledgeable guides and lots of delicious food!
What was the most overwhelming experience?
With out a doubt – the encounter with the humpback whale! The water was still and calm like a mirror and as we sat there in the kayaks thinking; “This cannot get any better”, a humpback whale appeared from out of nowhere. It came closer and closer and suddenly it swam under our kayaks – an unforgettable moment.
Did you make any continent landings?
Yes, we made a landing in Neko Harbour, which is one of my favourite spots in Antarctica. The scenery viewed from here is hard to beat.
Below you can find a selection of images from the expedition.
600 miles south of Cape Horn we find the world’s most isolated and remote wilderness – Antarctica. The grand and beautiful Antarctic landscape leaves its visitors in awe. The continent and surrounding islands are home to millions of penguins, seals and whales. Worth mentioning is the subantarctic island of South Georgia, a haven for anyone interested in wildlife and widely regarded as one of the most beautiful places on earth.