Zodiac Cruising in Antarctica
When you’re on an expedition cruise with us to Antarctica, you will be immersed in this spectacular landscape in many different ways. First, as we venture through the waterways on our comfortable and ice-strengthened ship you’ll be able to witness Antarctica’s stunning beauty from the decks and windows. Secondly, when we decide to drop anchor and journey to shore via Zodiac boat, and thirdly once we are on shore and able to stroll the shorelines and beaches, often hiking up where possible to get a better vantage point.
Let’s rewind to your second opportunity for an excursion – the Zodiac cruise. For those of you that don’t know, a Zodiac is a large, heavy-duty inflatable boat. They are extremely safe and specially designed for this type of expedition excursion. Zodiacs contain separate air compartments ensuring buoyancy even if the boat is damaged. These boats have thick, flat bottoms that allow us to land right up on the beach – whether it’s sandy, rocky or icy.
Though Zodiacs are the primary mode of transferring you to shore, they are also the main vessel for an excursion unto itself – the Zodiac Cruise. Most days (weather permitting) you will find yourself on one of these cruises venturing out onto the icy seas in the hopes of encountering wildlife likes penguins, seals and whales. You’ll be able to get closer to ice formations and icebergs, and they allow us to navigate into rarely seen bays and small coves. With our knowledgeable expedition guides, you’ll always have a professional on board to ask questions and point out interesting sites and detailed information on the landscape and the wildlife.
A couple of tips:
- When heading out on a Zodiac Cruise be sure to layer up! The weather can be finicky and change in an instant.
- Be sure to bring sunglasses or goggles to protect your eyes from the snow, wind and rain.
- Pack everything into one bag. You’ll don’t want to have loose items or several items to contend with in a small space where things can fall overboard.
- Always accept the helping hand of a crew member. The best way to ensure a steady grip is to use a ‘sailors grip’ i.e; grip each other by the wrist (this is much sturdier than grabbing someone’s hand).
- Keep your camera around your neck at all times and be sure to have a lens wipe handy for splashes and droplets that might fall on your lens.
- Be sure to use the restroom before you leave the ship. No one wants to be the person who has to cut a cruise short for everyone because they need a bathroom break.
- ALWAYS wear your life vest
- Always listen to the instructions from our staff
- Enjoy the fresh air on your face and keep a lookout for wildlife!
IAATO Guidelines require that we do not approach wildlife and keep our distance, but wildlife is often curious about us and will come closer to inspect us and sometimes even put on a show!