It is the “end of the world”, a cold, hostile, windy, extreme, and desert continent, and yet the landscapes are dazzling with beauty! A diving trip on a cruise in Antarctica will make you feel the soul of an explorer as the discovery of this wilderness is magical and appears completely blank.
Antarctica is 58 times the size of the United Kingdom, and in winter this continent is surrounded by an icy expanse larger than it. So, it is so vast that in 2 weeks, you will only be able to explore a tiny part of it.
Antarctica is devoid of power lines, towns, or villages. When the engines are off, the only sounds you will hear will be those of nature: wildlife, water, and the occasional falling pieces of the iceberg, and there you can listen to the silence! With this fascinating polar atmosphere, such pure colors, and incredibly dense fauna, Antarctica is a veritable paradise for nature lovers. The emotion will be at its height when you observe the ballet of the thousands of penguins, the emblematic species of this frozen country.
A diving vacation in Antarctica will remain etched in your diving memory for a long time.
Diving cruise in Antarctica
The most agency offers cruises aboard comfortable boats with reinforced hulls. Safety is on maximum and they carry dives out depending on weather, which can be unpredictable. The diving expedition is open to about 16 divers, small groups allow more flexibility on the itinerary and dive sites. These diving cruises are also open to non-divers and the synergy between divers and non-divers takes place quickly, all having the same desire to discover this surprising nature.
Many snorkeling trips are also organized to swim with whales and leopards. The boat is equipped with a special heated container to store equipment and wetsuits.
Please note that it is important to be familiar with this extreme diving, to have at least 20 cold dives of experience, and to be comfortable with your equipment, to have a dry suit that is well adjusted to your body. Divers who are not comfortable enough will not be allowed to dive.
The seasons for diving in Antarctica
The best season for diving is the austral spring/summer from November to March. It is during this period that the water becomes loaded with plankton, which attracts several species of crustaceans (including small shrimps that move in tight schools). It is the staple food of birds, fish, seals, and whales.
In November and December
Crabeater seals are born in November, elephant seals aggressively monitor their harem, the first cetaceans arrive, penguins build their nests, and in December, the first penguin babies are born, and petrels and cormorants. There are still a few ice islands inhabited by seals. The days are longer; the light is beautiful, perfect for photographers.
In January and February, summer
These are the hottest months, around -1 ° C to + 7 ° C. The penguins are born, and the babies gradually leave their father’s petticoat; it is the father who brings up newborns. They become more and more independent and are placed in a crèche. The leopard seals are many, it is possible to observe the whales, the concentration of penguins is important.
In March, autumn
The days are shorter; the temperatures are always above 0 ° C. The nights are very cold, and the sunsets are sumptuous. The penguins are in their teens and are getting curious about visitors. There are more and more hunting leopard seals, the light is incredibly beautiful, and there are a lot of whales.
The fauna and flora of Antarctica
Many Antarctic land and sea species are endemic.
Half of the world’s seals live in Antarctica, there are no less than 17 species. Those most encountered are the Weddell seal, which lives mainly underwater, the Ross seal, which lives on the ice floes, or the crabeater seal, elephant seal, and leopard seal. Also meets several species of cetaceans such as humpback whales, orcas, or sperm whales.
There are many penguins, there are 18 kinds, 7 of which live in Antarctica: the Adelie penguin, the Gentoo penguin, the chinstrap penguin, the emperor penguin (the largest of all), the king penguin, the golden penguin (or macaroni penguin). They live in colonies on the pack ice, and it is very impressive to observe them.
The Emperors and the Adelie are the ones we see the most, they roam in the colony, all together to protect themselves from the cold.
Divers will discover the drop-offs of kelp, invertebrates, sea urchins, anemones, ice fish (their blood does not contain hemoglobin, but an antifreeze), crabs, starfish. Leopard seal, a penguin, or a whale. It will be such a great time!
Birds are also present in large numbers, such as the petrel, which is a very widespread species, albatrosses which can dive up to 3m or 4m and can span up to 3 meters, terns, or even skuas.
The flora is extremely poor and limited. There are lichens and mosses on pieces of stone or even algae, but that is it.