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We are considering an Antarctic Cruise although I have never gotten sick on any boat larger than 100', I'm certainly nervous about the Drake. For those who have taken the cruise how bad was it really?

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We are considering an Antarctic Cruise although I have never gotten sick on any boat larger than 100', I'm certainly nervous about the Drake. For those who have taken the cruise how bad was it really?

 

I was on the Nordnorge (123 Meters long) down south and also north. On our trip south the seas where almost as flat as a Inland Lake. It was sunny and smooth. No waves for two days strait.

On the the way north we had a storm coming so the captain pushed full speed ahead. Was a bit more interesting. Later on the first day the storm had catched up and we where rolling around and hoped to get to the island close to the "horn" soon. We arrived during the night. The waves where quite high and the buffet restaurant close to empty. I didn't eat anything, but I would not have missed the storm on the Drake. Loved it as much as I hated it!

 

This sad... it depends really on the weather. I don't wanna be on a ship with less than 50 Meters in those waters. But decide for yourselve... http://www.shipspotting.com/gallery/search.php?search_imo=9107784&search_uid=10922

Edited by crizzlyhug

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I didn't eat anything, but I would not have missed the storm on the Drake. Loved it as much as I hated it!

 

That was my experience too. Our return trip was very rough. I think my mal de mer was brought on by thinking about it. I stopped eating and was able to enjoy all the lectures.

 

Crossing the Drake is a right of passage and I would never consider taking a trip which involved flying as these are too often delayed or cancelled.

 

I did not have a patch or any medication since I generally do not get seasick so my experience was maybe not typical.

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The Drake, like any body of water can be flat calm or very rough. The Drake gets its reputation because it has more rough days then most bodies of water. The most exciting cruise ship story I have heard about the Drake was a Celebrity cruise that tried to cross twice to Antarctica and had to turn back twice. The Captain asked for a vote from the passengers as to whether to try again. They passengers said yes so they went and made it. Our crossing was not all that exciting until the latter part of our journey over. When we woke the ship was listing pretty good to one side from a 70 knot cross wind. The neat thing was the ships decks were all covered in snow, never seen that before or since. Once you get into the coves of Antarctica it becomes very calm.

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My uncle was in the navy and said the doctor on his first day on board the ship said "There are two types of people. Seasick people and non seasick people. Seasick people will be seasick their entire life, non seasick people will never be seasick".

 

Its all to do with your own personal equilibriam and inner ear balance.

 

If you have not yet been seasick on any other vessel - your are highly unlikely to suddenly develop it on an expedition ship.

 

I agree with Maryann that the Drake is a right of passage. I refer to it as your "Visa to Antarctica". Its all part of the amazing experience and those days can be really exciting (whether the sea is rough or smooth) as there are whales to be spotted, albatross to follow, and the all important first spotting of an iceberg.

 

Its also a handy time for all the safety talks etc so that time is not wasted during valuable landing time.

 

On my 4 trips to Antarctica I have crossed the Drake several times on 3 of them. Once was seriously rough and exciting - full blown storm. The rest were normal flat boring seas. In that region the actual worst (most fantastic) rough seas I have encountered were between SGI and FI - not in the actual Drake itself.

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The simple truth is that the Drake can be very rough, very smooth, or anything in between. All of the individual past experiences you read about here are NOT predictive of what your experience will be. You are venturing to the 7th continent, the most amazing place in the world. So few people have this opportunity -- don't squander it.

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Each of our crossings has been smooth but we realise that our next may be very different. If it is, it will be worth it!

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The simple truth is that the Drake can be very rough, very smooth, or anything in between. All of the individual past experiences you read about here are NOT predictive of what your experience will be.

 

Exactly. No one can predict what a future crossing of the Drake will be like.

 

Both of our crossings were pretty rough. I don't get seasick, and I loved the crossings. I know I was in the minority on our ship; most folks were in their cabins. The elevator was shut down, and a guide rope was strung up through the passageway to the dining room (which was pretty empty).

 

My wife, who does get seasick in rough seas, wore a patch for the crossings, and that really helped. I'd say about 2/3 of the passengers (and some of the naturalists!) were wearing the patch. This was on the Nat Geo Explorer three years ago.

 

DrakeSplash1024x678_zps9c13906c.jpg

 

(photo by turtles06)

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What a cool photo.! Though I do hope I don't have such a photo op on my December cruise.

 

And speaking of rough seas, our local PBS station aired a great documentary earlier this week where some guys successfully recreated Ernest Shackleton 's mission to get help when his ship was iced in in Antarctica. He crossed very rough seas from Antarctica to South Georgia Island with a handful of his crew in a small wooden lifeboat. The recreation not only involved a similar vessel but the crew wore clothes similar to that worn back then and they ate the same limited rations. And no GPS -- they had to plot their course the old fashioned way. It was a fascinating documentary but it made me extra glad I will be on a more seaworthy vessel, get to wear clothing made from modern fabrics to keep me warm and dry and eat delicious food!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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From memory, I believe one of those who recreated the Shackleton trip was one of the expedition team on our first Antarctic trip on Fram. He was seriously interesting!

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I was on the Nat Geo Explorer last February. The Drake was pretty smooth going over but crazy on the return trip- 40 ft swells that lasted for about 12 hours. I typically don't get seasick, but had my Dr. give me a prescription for Zofran (sp) just in case. I am allergic to scopolamine. The crew advised us to take something before we went bed just in case, which I did. It was a really rocky night. I woke up at 3:00 am when a giant wave crashed into my third floor window. They had bowls of ginger to chew on if needed. There were ropes throughout the ship to hold onto ( which was very needed) and many people stayed in their cabins during the day. I really wanted the "full" experience ( as long as we were safe!) and welcomed the angry Drake. It was a truly amazing adventure and I hope to someday go back.

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We crossed the Drake in February of 2010 and the captain said it was the "second worse crossing for that season". We had 50' plus seas and hurricane force wind. Wife was thrown out of her reading chair, I was tossed out of the bunk. At dinner, we all had to use the napkins to tie our chairs to the legs of the table to keep from being tossed out of them. One lady was thrown into a column and had to have stitches in her head. It was exactly what I wanted to experience, and even though we had sailed over 30 times when that occurred, I did get very sick. This went on for almost two days. IT WAS AWESOME (& very scary at times). However, for what we saw and experienced over 22 days, it was the trip of a lifetime. We leave in 6 weeks for a second trip. By all means go, you won't regret it and have at least a 50/50 chance you will have a "Drake Lake" and not the "Drake Shake". :eek:

 

opatravels dot blogspot dot com for pics and details

Edited by dpro

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Does anyone know if the Drake is rougher in certain months? We are considering a 23-day Nat Geo excursion (our first to Antarctica), but haven't decided whether or not to do it November or February, which are the only two choices.

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Does anyone know if the Drake is rougher in certain months? We are considering a 23-day Nat Geo excursion (our first to Antarctica), but haven't decided whether or not to do it November or February, which are the only two choices.

 

I think the Drake is awfully unpredictable. And it's a small part of your trip. November and February are very different times to be in Antarctica; personally, I would make the decision based on which part of the season you'd like to experience. I don't think there's a wrong answer. :)

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Thanks, Tutles06. Of course, you are right. We are doing our main research on which would be the better month for our needs and expectations specifically -- early November or mid-February for the 24 day trip to Antarctica, Falkland Islands and South Georgia. My husband and I are amateur photography buffs (he does stills, I shoot video), and love spectacular scenery AND wildlife (have done many trips to Africa). We are trying to decide if November is better because it's more pristine, even if a little colder, or February is better because of penguin chick activity. We're not so much interested in whales. Any suggestions? Or are we simply overthinking this? Ideally, we wish Nat Geo offered the extended trip in December or January, but apparently they only do the shorter version of their trip (just Antarctica) in those months. We're pretty set on doing Nat Geo and not another cruise line. We like the smaller Orion ship, and we are in our early 70s and feel more comfortable with Nat Geo.

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Does anyone know if the Drake is rougher in certain months? We are considering a 23-day Nat Geo excursion (our first to Antarctica), but haven't decided whether or not to do it November or February, which are the only two choices.

 

Not even the Captain of a vessel would be willing to put his money on making any kind of prediction like that. It can change by the hour.

 

At the end of the day its a passage of water with a mind of its own. Its your visa for getting to Antarctica. Don't make decisions about your itinerary solely about those few days on the sea.

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Thanks, Tutles06. Of course, you are right. We are doing our main research on which would be the better month for our needs and expectations specifically -- early November or mid-February for the 24 day trip to Antarctica, Falkland Islands and South Georgia. My husband and I are amateur photography buffs (he does stills, I shoot video), and love spectacular scenery AND wildlife (have done many trips to Africa). We are trying to decide if November is better because it's more pristine, even if a little colder, or February is better because of penguin chick activity. We're not so much interested in whales. Any suggestions? Or are we simply overthinking this? Ideally, we wish Nat Geo offered the extended trip in December or January, but apparently they only do the shorter version of their trip (just Antarctica) in those months. We're pretty set on doing Nat Geo and not another cruise line. We like the smaller Orion ship, and we are in our early 70s and feel more comfortable with Nat Geo.

 

I just had to smile a bit at your asking as to whether or not you may be "overthinking" the trip. I debated over various types of Antarctic trips - not only relative to the different companies but also whether to sail or fly over the Drake, etc. for probably the past 10 years or more. I got to the point where I realized that if I simply kept doing more and more research and holding those 'should I or shouldn't I' internal debates with myself, it became obvious that it could go on forever and I might possibly never wind up embarking on a trip that even gets close to Antarctica. I finally decided to just do it and went with the easiest, most uncomplicated trip I could find although it was certainly not as extensive and many people would say as authentic an experience as is available. It worked for me. As many people told me...no matter how you decide to go...just be sure you go! Best of luck to you. I'm sure you'll find the trip that works best for you!

 

I might add to plan on doing BOTH stills and video. I always do both. For this trip especially, you'll be glad you have some video as well. The scenery is spectacular. You'll find that whatever trip you go on, there will be LOTS of people with very good photographic equipment . This is not your average trip where most people are taking shots with their iPhones (although I saw a good number of people doing that). Enjoy!!

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I might add to plan on doing BOTH stills and video. I always do both. For this trip especially, you'll be glad you have some video as well. The scenery is spectacular. You'll find that whatever trip you go on, there will be LOTS of people with very good photographic equipment . This is not your average trip where most people are taking shots with their iPhones (although I saw a good number of people doing that). Enjoy!!

 

I have actually won awards for my Antarctica photos taken on my iphone !

 

There will be countless people taking photos with their phones, tablets, point and shoots, DSLRs, and professional $12,000 Canons with metre long lenses. No one judges how each person chooses to capture their memories.

 

But agree 100% re video. Its my videos that I re watch constantly. The sound of the wind and the chitter chatter of the penguins - cannot be felt in a photo.

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Thanks for the video suggestions from the previous posters. I rarely have used the video function of my camera. I think I need to try practicing using this function in preparation for my trip.

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Definitely re video. On my first polar trip I had to keep reminding myself to use it and I am glad I did because I have some incredible memorable moments captured - like standing along on a huge area of ice an an Emperor tobogganing right up close to me and standing up and singing right in front of me. Its 7 years since that moment and I still rewatch that video!

 

I also personally found when out on whale watching zodiacs - I got far more by videoing the whales coming right up to the zodiac etc - than I did by trying to photograph the all elusive tail !

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PP,

 

Do you take your video with the iPhone? I considered that when one of my video cams finally stopped working (was still using Hi-8 until just a few years ago!), but then having experimented with taking video on the iPhone, I just didn't care for it as much. So then I bought a new Sony cam and really like it. It was (and still is) a bit of a steep learning curve relative to transferring all the digital files into Mac iMovie and then deciding how to manage all of them. I also tend to take lots of video on a trip. Our 'drive-by' was no exception, having created a 90-minute iMovie project from the South America / Antarctica trip. The old days were definitely easier - connect the camera to the VCR, stick in a tape, and merely copy the recorded 8mm tape to VHS!

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Cool Cruiser -- I am curious as to what model Sony cam that you settled on. Is it a dedicated video camera? I am trying to decide whether or not to get a really good DSLR camera that also shoots video, or a dedicated video camcorder (which seem to be a dying breed). How do you like your Sony?

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Cool Cruiser -- I am curious as to what model Sony cam that you settled on. Is it a dedicated video camera? I am trying to decide whether or not to get a really good DSLR camera that also shoots video, or a dedicated video camcorder (which seem to be a dying breed). How do you like your Sony?

 

Hi Safarigal,

 

My Sony is a dedicated video camera, model HDR-PJ540. It's a great camera - very compact. No viewfinder (I still miss that at times) so you have to use the LCD screen that opens up on the side, which works fine although depending on how the light hits the screen it's really hard to see what you're filming. In situations like that is when a viewfinder really works well and is definitely missed. My model also has a projector feature so that you can project the footage right onto a wall. It works really well. It can also take still shots, which is a nice feature. Video and audio quality are both really good also. I highly recommend the Sony if you think that's what you might be looking for. I know there is a newer model out since mine is already 2 years old.

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I don't think seasickness tendency is black-or-white. I have found that I get motion sickness or don't, in various circumstances. The worst was when I mixed candy and beer, while out on a 39' sloop, with a distant storm raising a nice swell. The standard pills are cheap and my wife and I will be prepared when we cross the Drake Passage.

 

Since photography has mixed in on this thread, I have been considering one of the nicer Sony point-shoot cameras. Is there any benefit to a faster lens (f/1.4 or f1.8)? A lot of nice pictures from the Antarctic seem to have overcast sky combined with ice and snow. It doesn't seem like such conditions would call for a fast lens. Does the wildlife justify a fast shutter (and therefore a fast lens)?

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Does the wildlife justify a fast shutter (and therefore a fast lens)?

It depends on what you're hoping to shoot. If you want good pictures of petrels and albatross from the ship, then speed is fairly essential. It also helps if you want to shoot whales, since they surface for such brief moments. But all of the Antarctic wildlife is streamlined for the air or the water. On land they're all pretty lethargic, so it's easy to get a million great shots of penguins and seals with a pretty slow camera.

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