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Antarctica Yacht Charter

Luxury Yacht Charter Destination

Considered one of the final frontiers, a yachting expedition to Antarctica and the South Pole climbs higher and higher each year on the bucket list of many intrepid yachtsmen and travellers. Thanks to the surge in popularity of ice-classed vessels and explorer yachts, this remote wonder at the bottom of the world is more accessible than ever before.

The five-month period from November to March is Antarctica’s summer season, offering over 20 hours of daylight, thus regarded as the best time to travel. In true expedition style, a cruising itinerary to Antarctica is dependent on the sea and pack ice conditions, but if you can afford some flexibility with your time, you will not be disappointed. Blanketed with ice, this unblemished landscape offers awe-inspiring scenery, dotted with icebergs and the possibility of spotting penguins, seals and orca whales.    

Most yacht expeditions to Antarctica commence in Maxwell Bay on King George Island, which is serviced by flights from Chile and Argentina. King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands and lies 120km off the coast of Antarctica in the Southern Ocean. From here, head along the Bransfield Strait to Deception Island, an active volcano with pockets of snow resting in its shadows. In there, you may visit the ruins of a whaling station, have a swim in the thermally heated waters of Pendulum Cove or watch the Chinstrap penguins.

Livingstone Island is likely to be your first destination. On the beach at the Hannah Point, elephant and fur seals bask in the sun with their cubs.

The Antarctic Sound is known as Iceberg Alley. Here, large tabular icebergs drift north from the Weddell Sea and sometimes the icebergs can be several miles in length, presenting a perfect photographic opportunity. In the right light, the form of smaller bergs can be seen both above and below the water’s surface, and even just the reflections are quite mesmerising.

Making your way further south, you will come to the Lemaire Channel and Paradise Harbour, where the yacht will pass beneath multi-coloured cliffs, with some turned emerald green due to moss, blue-green from copper deposits, as well as orange and yellow from the lichens. There is a colony of Gentoo penguins here and humpback whales are often sighted as well. If whale watching is high on your agenda, then visit Antarctica in February and March.

At Neko Harbour is where you can take your first steps onto the continent of Antarctica.  Take the yacht’s tender or kayaks to get up close to the imposing glaciers.

If sea-ice conditions and time permit, you can venture further south along the western side of the peninsula, towards the Antarctic Circle. If you are able to make your way through the pack ice and into the Crystal Sound, you can cross the Antarctic Circle at 66°33’S. Take a step back in time and visit the deserted British base on the nearby Detaille Island. The base has remained untouched since 1950s.

Antarctica remains one of the harshest environments known to human, and any trip to this continent bears an element of risk, but with proper due diligence, there is no reason that these dangers cannot be overcome. To ensure that every second of your expedition is as incredible as it should be, seek advice from the experts and your agent at Camper & Nicholsons.

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