A Quick Guide to Chartering A Yacht to Antarctica
Stark, icy Antarctica remains the last continent on many adventurer’s bucket list, but it is often dismissed as a place either far too difficult to reach or one that has too unforgiving a climate. This is a shame, as chartering a trip to Antarctica is not only easy, but it provides an extremely comfortable way to see one of the most incredible environments on Earth. Despite the seas around Antarctica only welcoming well-equipped scientific vessels and adventurous expeditions once upon a time, more and more luxury chartering vessels are being created to manage the occasionally difficult waters of Antarctica. In this article we examine what makes Antarctica such a unique place to charter, and give you some great advice to incentivise you to take the plunge!
The untouched continent
A yacht charter to Antarctica gives lucky adventurers the opportunity to experience something few others get to. With approximately 98% of its land mass covered by the continental ice shelf, the landscapes of Antarctica are utterly unique. With over 70 sub-glacial lakes under the surface and icebergs capable of towering over even superyachts, Antarctica is so much more than a frozen desert. The Antarctic weather is also misunderstood by would-be charterers – during the December to February summer cruising season, the temperature tends to sit around 0°C, with clear blue skies being the norm – far from the brutal cold many might estimate. Antarctica also liberally delivers in relation to wildlife. It’s here that you can witness a wide variety of whales, such as blue whales and humpback whales. It’s even possible to witness bands of orcas playfully swimming by your yacht! Leopard seals, gentoo penguins and a variety of unique, beautiful sea birds such as petrels are also abundant, ensuring any animal-lovers will be well satiated during their charter.
What charterers should expect on the journey to Antarctica
It is most common for charterers to take a two-hour flight from Punta Arenas in Chile to King George Island and begin their charter from here. Although it is possible to take a charter from Ushuaia to Antarctica, the flight to King George Island eliminates the need to travel across the notoriously difficult Drake Passage. From King George Island, the charter can take a variety of courses, each offering something wholly unique. On the journey to Antarctica’s mainland, it’s not uncommon to see imposing icebergs of all different colours floating north from the Weddell Sea and emperor penguins on teetering ice floes south of Snow Hill Island. There are also numerous opportunities to stop off on the way – Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands contains a volcano that most recently erupted in the 1960s and it’s certainly an island that has something for everyone, whether you decide to hike to the 570-metre summit peak or luxuriate in the warm waters heated by the island’s volcanic activity.
Just the tip of the iceberg
The journey to Antarctica covers countless more stellar sights and opportunities for adventure, so regardless of your interests related to the beautiful frozen tundras of Antarctica, you’re in for a treat. One of the great things about Antarctica is its proximity to Patagonia, home of some of the most incredible national parks in South America. So, once you’re all done in Antarctica you can keep the adventure going in places like Torres del Paine – you’re spoilt for choice!