BaseCamp Antarctica: An Adventurer’s Voyage
If you are looking for a non-conventional way to visit the Antarctic Peninsula, full of adventure activities and unique experiences, Basecamp Antarctica could be a good choice for you. From a night camping on the ice surrounded by penguins, to strapping on crampons and climbing a snowy peak, to kayaking next a group of sleeping humpback whales, these trips offer you a connection with Antarctica in all its splendor.
BaseCamp, true to its name, is a voyage where the ship sets up a BaseCamp each day by dropping anchor at different bays and fjords to carry out a variety of land and water-based activities. Most BaseCamp trips offer kayaking, camping, mountaineering, snowshoeing and photography courses, all included in the price of the voyage.
On most other Antarctica trips, each of these activities would have an extra cost, ranging from $100 – 1,000 USD per option. During BaseCamp, all passengers have the possibility to participate in each activity at least once during the trip, weather permitting. These activities do not require previous experience, but they do require you to have good mobility and health. All the gear you will need to participate is provided onboard: kayaks, dry suits, crampons, sleeping bags & tents. The only exception is mountaineering boots, which are required should you wish to take part in the advanced mountaineering excursion.
In order for everyone to be able to participate in each activity, the operator does a sort of “lottery” during the first days of the voyage when the ship is crossing the Drake Passage. Each passenger signs up for their desired activities and chooses on which day they will do them. In this way, each passenger already knows their “plan” for the five or six days in Antarctica.
It’s important to keep in mind that, due to weather, sometimes activities have to be cancelled or delayed. The operator tries to make sure everyone gets to go out, but sometimes the weather prevents a night on the ice, or a day of kayaking.
Mountaineering is the only activity that is divided by prior experience, with two or three different groups. To participate in the advanced group, prior experience with an ice ax and hiking with crampons are required. Technical gear such as a gore-tex jacket is a plus as well. Nevertheless, if you don’t have the experience or gear, you can still participate in one of the other groups, which will be less intense but equally spectacular.
A Few Tips…
The operator provides a sleeping bag, a waterproof cover, and a sleeping pad. The night can be very cold, so its important to wear a warm hat and thermal base layers to maintain body temparture. A headlamp and extra camera batteries are important if you are planning to take photos during the night.
A small dry bag can be an important to protect your camera while kayaking. GoPros are a great option during this activity, as they are hands free. Waterproof gloves can also be a good idea.
If you are planning to join the advanced group, rigid mountaineering boots that are compatible with crampons are a must-bring from home. A gore-tex jacket and a medium size backpack can also be a good additions to your suitcase.