I have just finished watching the first in the Channel 5 series Ice Patrol which follows the crew of HMS Endurance who work in conjunction with British Antarctic Survey covering all the regions around the peninsula & it gave me a hankering to re-visit the great white continent.

I was lucky enough to spend 13 days down there a few years back on a converted Russian research vessel.

The real highlight of my voyage was the opportunity to kayak, with curious penguins porpoising next to me, a Minke whale swimming right under my kayak in crystal clear water and a close encounter with a leopard seal. In a kayak you become you own mini ice breaker as you nose your way between the floating chunks of brash ice, chinking & clinking as you go, the minerals fizzing against the hull, utter peace & tranquillity broken only by the noise of the icebergs cracking & calving then realigning themselves with a big splosh.

We stopped at many research station both current & now abandoned, saw penguins by the million and had whales around us almost 24/7. The whales were mainly Humpbacks although we saw seven different species in all, some breaching and thrashing, some just cruising along next to us scrapping barnacles off their skins on our hull. From the bridge, you were eye to eye with the entourage of petrels, pintados & albatross that accompanied the boat.

If you fancy this kind of adventure then give me a call – we can arrange voyages from 5 – 35 days in small vessels of various degrees of luxury, which allow you to get up close & personal to this awe-inspiring destination.

Thanks for reading

Sue Grimwood, Russian Arctic

Author: Sue Grimwood