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Landing on Antarctica


babs135
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So, this morning an email dropped into my inbox with an advert for Antarctica and the Falkland Islands in March 2023, I was going to delete it but 'for a laugh' read out the details, including the price, to DH who, much to my absolute amazement, took interest.  The dates don't fit so unfortunately we couldn't do it even if we tried but I do have one question which I'm sure someone will be able to answer.

 

How do you get from the ship to the land?   Is it in those what look like small inflatable boats, zodiacs?  Much as I love cruising I'm frightened of water and can't swim and I really don't know if I could cope in one of these boats.  Plus, I read somewhere that they can be very bouncy and as I have a bad back and DH has suffered so badly with sciatic pain that he has had to have an implant in his back, so I would be concerned that this could be detrimental especially for him.

 

Would value any advice and maybe, just maybe, we could find a date that fits.  I've looked at the 'sail-by' cruises, but to actually set foot on land would be amazing. 

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As I put on a previous post, this TV program shows this particular cruise. And yes you do land on those zodiacs.  We are booked for Jan 2022.

 

Quest TV in the UK  broadcast a documentary in the Mighty Cruise Ship series on the Roald Amundsen antarctic cruise, presumably filmed about a year ago.  This shows the trip from Punta Arenas to Antarctica and the Falklands.

 

Available on the Discovery Plus web site free of charge in the UK

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We did an Antarctic cruise on Hurtigruten's MS Fram.  We had a great time, and would do it again.

 

If you want to go ashore in Antartica, you have to use the "rigid inflatables".  You sit on benches in the boat.  The ride can be quite smooth and a little choppy.  You are wearing life preservers.  When we went ashore on Deception Island, the sea was dead calm.  The ride to shore is short, usually 5 to 10 minutes.  

 

Our trip included stops in the Falklands and South Georgia Island.The trip to and from South America can be rough.  On our southbound leg we had a smooth sail.  On our trip north the seas were a little rough, but not bad.

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8 hours ago, AlanCruise said:

As I put on a previous post, this TV program shows this particular cruise. And yes you do land on those zodiacs.  We are booked for Jan 2022.

 

Quest TV in the UK  broadcast a documentary in the Mighty Cruise Ship series on the Roald Amundsen antarctic cruise, presumably filmed about a year ago.  This shows the trip from Punta Arenas to Antarctica and the Falklands.

 

Available on the Discovery Plus web site free of charge in the UK

I've downloaded and watched the programme.  For me the jury is still out but DH is still keen.  Plenty of time to make a decision !!

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12 hours ago, babs135 said:

I'm frightened of water and can't swim and I really don't know if I could cope in one of these boats. 

I think your fear is the big obstacle and I'm not being critical. We sailed Hurtigruten's Midnatsol to Antarctica and I adored it. The crew do a great job of getting you in and out of the zodiac-equivalents (actually a different brand is/was all). Ours wasn't rough at all but I'm betting they wouldn't go out if conditions were really at all dicey. The guys who drive the rigs are fantastic. They obviously can see bubbles from the whales and we stop seems like within 'spitting distance.' They also keep the engine idling just to make doubly sure that the whales know we're there.

 

Now back to the fear issue 🙂 Do you live somewhere where you could get some very basic swimming lessons. Not to save yourself 🙂 but maybe to neutralize the fear. And you could explain your situation and they could seat you in a more comfy-cozy spot 🙂  It was a trip we'll never forget and, for us anyway, a sail-by wouldn't have done it for us.

 

Some pix

 

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15 hours ago, clo said:

Now back to the fear issue 🙂 Do you live somewhere where you could get some very basic swimming lessons. Not to save yourself 🙂 but maybe to neutralize the fear. And you could explain your situation and they could seat you in a more comfy-cozy spot 🙂  It was a trip we'll never forget and, for us anyway, a sail-by wouldn't have done it for us.

If you only knew how many lessons I've had over the years!  It's like a brick wall; even hypnosis didn't help.  My fear outweighs my desire.  It's a shame really as I do feel that I've missed out.  I don't know why my fear is so deep rooted, I certainly don't remember anything traumatic although my late mum once told me that as a baby I'd loved having a bath but then I'd been admitted to hospital and when I came out I used to scream at bath-time so perhaps that's when something happened, but we're talking 70+ years ago!!  

If we do book (and it won't be until things are back to a more normal state) then I'll just have to give myself a severe talking to (so long as nobody is around🤣)  and just go for it.

Your photos are fab.  Do you have a fancy camera?

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2 hours ago, babs135 said:

Do you have a fancy camera?

Not at all. Just your basic point and shoot. A number of years old.

 

And maybe your doctor could give you something for anxiety that's not strong. It's so wonderful. Best of luck.

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On 1/31/2021 at 1:56 AM, babs135 said:

So, this morning an email dropped into my inbox with an advert for Antarctica and the Falkland Islands in March 2023, I was going to delete it but 'for a laugh' read out the details, including the price, to DH who, much to my absolute amazement, took interest.  The dates don't fit so unfortunately we couldn't do it even if we tried but I do have one question which I'm sure someone will be able to answer.

 

How do you get from the ship to the land?   Is it in those what look like small inflatable boats, zodiacs?  Much as I love cruising I'm frightened of water and can't swim and I really don't know if I could cope in one of these boats.  Plus, I read somewhere that they can be very bouncy and as I have a bad back and DH has suffered so badly with sciatic pain that he has had to have an implant in his back, so I would be concerned that this could be detrimental especially for him.

 

Would value any advice and maybe, just maybe, we could find a date that fits.  I've looked at the 'sail-by' cruises, but to actually set foot on land would be amazing. 

 

Zodiacs do bounce a bit but they are completely safe.  On our trip, one lady was not holding on tight enough so she fell out of the boat.  We pulled her back and all was OK.  The life preserver was one of those self inflating things.  It inflated and she floated.  If the wind is too great, they will cancel the zodiac trip. On one of our planned landings. there was a 100 knots (115 mph) so the excursion was cancelled.  

 

DON

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12 hours ago, donaldsc said:

 

Zodiacs do bounce a bit but they are completely safe.  On our trip, one lady was not holding on tight enough so she fell out of the boat.  We pulled her back and all was OK.  The life preserver was one of those self inflating things.  It inflated and she floated.  If the wind is too great, they will cancel the zodiac trip. On one of our planned landings. there was a 100 knots (115 mph) so the excursion was cancelled.  

 

DON

 

I should have added that on our  trip. there was a lady who needed sticks to walk.  They got her in and out of the zodiac w/o problems even on the 1 or 2 rocky landings that  we had..  She did not wander too far from the landing site but she definitely enjoyed herself.

 

DON

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I've done two Antartic sailings. There were days when they specifically said if you have mobility issues, you should reconsider the landing. There are times when the surf is rougher and you are using your knee to get on and then have to pull your other leg and your self UP, often with a friendly push on the tush to help. You are doing wet landings for every landing.

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On 2/5/2021 at 7:52 AM, donaldsc said:

 

Zodiacs do bounce a bit but they are completely safe.  On our trip, one lady was not holding on tight enough so she fell out of the boat.  We pulled her back and all was OK.  The life preserver was one of those self inflating things.  It inflated and she floated.  If the wind is too great, they will cancel the zodiac trip. On one of our planned landings. there was a 100 knots (115 mph) so the excursion was cancelled.  

 

DON

 

Ha ha Don, I was wondering about the safety aspect.  I am not sure that  your story is reassuring !!  

 

So here is a different way of looking at it - if you are fearful of the boats, is it a deal breaker when it comes to going on this sort of cruise??  Can you experience nature from the ship?

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2 hours ago, ollienbertsmum said:

 

Ha ha Don, I was wondering about the safety aspect.  I am not sure that  your story is reassuring !!  

 

So here is a different way of looking at it - if you are fearful of the boats, is it a deal breaker when it comes to going on this sort of cruise??  Can you experience nature from the ship?

 

I meant it to be reassuring.  She fell out.  She floated.  She got back in.  She went back to the ship to get into dry clothing.  She got back into the next available zodiac and went back on land.  Her camera was even dry as she had it in a dry bag.  What more can you ask.  Getting wet did not bother her.

 

In answer to your question about deal breakers, I would say that not getting onto the zodiacs and staying on the ship is a complete deal breaker.  The whole point of an adventure cruise to Antarctica is to be among the birds and mammals on shore and to experience the sights, sounds and smell (especially the smells) of the large masses of animals.  You are paying a lot more money for that experience as opposed to a drive-by visit.  Being 1 foot from a whole bunch of penquins, right next to a nesting albatross or sitting on the ground and having a weiner elephant seal nuzzle up to you is an experience that you won't get by sitting on the ship  and watching through binoculars.

 

Just my opinion but I have been on 2 Antarctica trips - one to Antarctica itself and one to the Falklands and to South Georgia Island.  

 

DON

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/31/2021 at 9:56 AM, babs135 said:

So, this morning an email dropped into my inbox with an advert for Antarctica and the Falkland Islands in March 2023, I was going to delete it but 'for a laugh' read out the details, including the price, to DH who, much to my absolute amazement, took interest.  The dates don't fit so unfortunately we couldn't do it even if we tried but I do have one question which I'm sure someone will be able to answer.

 

How do you get from the ship to the land?   Is it in those what look like small inflatable boats, zodiacs?  Much as I love cruising I'm frightened of water and can't swim and I really don't know if I could cope in one of these boats.  Plus, I read somewhere that they can be very bouncy and as I have a bad back and DH has suffered so badly with sciatic pain that he has had to have an implant in his back, so I would be concerned that this could be detrimental especially for him.

 

Would value any advice and maybe, just maybe, we could find a date that fits.  I've looked at the 'sail-by' cruises, but to actually set foot on land would be amazing. 

My DW and I were on the filmed expedition. It was the last uninterrupted one before COVID lockdown. The following excursion was kept offshore for a few days before being allowed to dock and disembark the passengers.

 

At the time we were around 60yo, not particularly fit and I'm a very poor swimmer (don't like being out of my depth or getting my face under water). The first time in the Polarcirkel (not Zodiac but similar) inflatables was to head out to Cape Horn. There was a very heavy swell, the inflatable was going up and down very significantly and we had to stand and wait for the precise moment when the side of the boat was level with the boarding platform. DW initially was terrified and refused to board. Eventually she was persuaded to do so, and after that "baptism of fire" realised if she could get on and off in those conditions she could do so any time on the trip, which proved to be the case, and didn't have any more problems with the inflatables.

 

The crew on the inflatables were great in holding on and helping us to board and to leave. I often climbed on and off (at times in heavy seas) with two large cameras and lenses, backpack, and sometimes with a video gimbal and microphone rig too! There were passengers who were older  and/or even less fit than us. Some had disabilities/mobility problems, but the crew coped magnificently with all of us regardless and nobody fell in.

 

I also suffer from back problems, sometimes worse than at others, and had been apprehensive. However, you lean against the soft side of the inflatable, with a rope along it to hang on to. The soft side cushions the worst of the movement.

 

We loved it all so much that despite it being a once in a lifetime trip for a special birthday we are now in the process of booking to go back in 2023.

 

happy to answer any questions.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was a little apprehensive of the Polarcirkel transfers. In both a ‘how the heck will I get in/out of them’ as well as a ‘will I fall in & will they be bumpy’ way. The first time we did it I was dreading it but once i was helped by the crew and had my bum on the side it was fine. After just a couple of times I began to enjoy it and the times we spent cruising in them are some of my fondest memories. Truly fantastic to be able to stop and watch a whale or just wonder at the scenery. 
 

Here are a couple of pics (hopefully!) .... 1 of the polarcirkels. And one penguin one.... because who doesn’t love penguins! 

CDB3DA5E-5182-4459-A1A3-1D9FC39774F4.jpeg

2EF1B24C-4039-4D52-B7B1-774F5A52245C.jpeg

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Posted (edited)

Jellifer,

 

Your landing photo made my upcoming trip (Jan) feel much more real for some reason. I’m going to be in one those things and stepping off onto ANTARCTICA in just a few months. Wow.

 

And love the penguin photo - looks professional!
 

Thanks for sharing.

Edited by karen11g
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1 hour ago, karen11g said:

Jellifer,

 

Your landing photo made my upcoming trip (Jan) feel much more real for some reason. I’m going to be in one those things and stepping off onto ANTARCTICA in just a few months. Wow.

 

And love the penguin photo - looks professional!
 

Thanks for sharing.

Which itinerary and ship will you be on in January 2022?

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Thank you for that info.

We are booked on Fridjof Nansen for Jan 2023 to Antarctica. 

We will be 63 and 64 years old then and looking forward to this "once in a lifetime" trip.

We have cruised to many places around the world over the years but this will be a first for us and from what we have heard from our son who was in Antarctica in 2018, that the scenery and wildlife are utterly amazing and nothing else comes close. 

We cant wait. 

 

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5 hours ago, ronpes said:

Thank you for that info.

We are booked on Fridjof Nansen for Jan 2023 to Antarctica. 

We will be 63 and 64 years old then and looking forward to this "once in a lifetime" trip.

We have cruised to many places around the world over the years but this will be a first for us and from what we have heard from our son who was in Antarctica in 2018, that the scenery and wildlife are utterly amazing and nothing else comes close. 

We cant wait. 

 

It is awesome! I know that most people do a "sail by" and that's fine for them but we felt like we would truly have missed something huge. Plus not only can you go ashore you have the zodiac 'excursions.' SO exciting. You're going to just love it.

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Thank y'all so much for this information and the great photos!  We are booked on the Fram for 11/26 - 12/22/2022.  Mike will be 73 and I will be 71 at sailing time.  Glad to know crew is so helpful with landings.  The "landings" sound similar to our experience in the Galapagos with the timing boarding and disembarking the zodiak-like boats.  

 

Mike and Linda - Wedowee, Alabama

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