Most Inspirational Moment
The landscapes and wildlife. The scenery is breathtaking, from the continent itself to the many islands and icebergs floating away from the land mass and glaciers. I have never seen anywhere quite so remote and in many ways barren, yet at the same time rich in life and activity. And you will never get over the amazing shapes of the ice along with the vivid blues you see in the glaciers and icebergs. Quite sensational. The penguins are of course the stars, but the frequency of whale sightings and fluking along with seals and many type of birds including the mighty albatross just make the experience even more rewarding.
Thoughts on Group Leader
The tour leader is in effect an Expedition Leader fronting a large team of professional from a range of countries. Ours was wonderful. An enormous personality and with the best sense of humour coupled with safety and huge amounts of professional integrity. The people in the expedition team were sensational. They come from a mix of backgrounds, however all have skills in subjects ranging from glaciology to water sports instructor, polar researcher to the armed forces, historian to nature and much more. Not only do you get the chance to attend lectures and learn from them on a really diverse range of topics, but they also accompany the trips off the ship and interact with you during meals and drinks as well as on time when you are cruising. They have both professionally and also personally empowering stories to tell and they really enhanced my trip in a way I did not think possible.
Advice for Potential Travellers
If you want to do any of the activities then book them up as soon as you make your reservation. Spaces are limited and I was unable to camp on the ice or take part in kayaking. Don't worry about being cold. Its not actually as cold as you imagine and the ship is fantastically warm and homely. The jacket and boots they supply you with are excellent. Concentrate on buying good quality thermals in layers along wit6h waterproof trousers and gloves and a warm fleece or wool hat. Edit your photos as you go along and always be ready to shoot stuff. The onboard team will help you with this as they have photographers ready to help with your trip.
I was in the first group of paddleboarders believed to have ever paddleboarded south of the Antractic Circle. Not only had I never done it before, but we got to claim a world first. Finally don't delay going any longer. It may not be a cheap trip, however it is so amazing and experience that you will not regret the time and expense in going.