Other-worldly ICE FORMATIONS & sharp, crisp, impossibly VIVID COLORS mark each region. Surprising, colorful soft CORALS under the surface & more. MARINE LIFE that you could ever have guessed, from tiny KRILL to giant ISOPODS ... In the ANTARCTIC : gentoo, chinstrap, king & emperor PENGUINS, fur seals & LEOPARD SEALS. humpback, minke, orcas & fin WHALES. In the ARCTIC : reindeer, POLAR BEARS & arctic foxes roam the land & the sea holds W ALRUS, harp seals, bearded seals & BELUGA WHALES.
VIEW SPINE-TINGLING SPECTACLES
The scenery encountered while you're on board your home ship or in a zodiac or kayak is simply breathtaking. Mountains and snow and ice ... everywhere. Birds and birds and birds ... everywhere.
And, when the sun shines, the colors are nearly blinding. The variations of blue, green and white stagger the imagination.
The pristine landscapes ... the craggy, snow-covered mountains ... the calving glaciers & immense ice flows ... the desolate tundra .... the presence of polar bears, walruses and reindeer in the north ... the penguins, seals & whales in the south .... the sparseness of residents & visitors .... all lead to an atmosphere of exploration & discovery.
REVEL IN ICE DIVING OR SNORKELING
Ice diving is for experienced divers. In fact, you'll be required to have a cold-water certificate and a minimum of 20 dry suit dives to qualify for diving in the Polar regions.
For those of you who have that experience, you're ready for some of the most exhilarating diving imaginable. Many of the itineraries plan 1 - 2 dives per day, but it's utterly dependant on the region you're visiting. Not all areas lend themselves to that number of dives. And then ... there's the weather.
Diving will be done in the safest of conditions and inclement weather can change the day's activities in the snap of a finger. These trips are true adventures and an adventurous spirit will ensure that you get the most out of them.
When you're not in the water, there is so much to see and do that 24 hours per day is barely enough.
OUR PREFERRED OPERATORS
Waterproof Expeditions: Waterproof Cruises & Expeditions was founded in 2008 by Marlynda Elstgeest (CEO) and Göran Ehlmé (co-founder of Waterproof Diving International in Sweden). Both experienced divers with a passion for cruises and expeditions to the polar regions. If you are not a diver at all or do not have ice diving certification, you can still witness the fascinating underwater world of the Polar Oceans. Waterproof Expeditions exclusively offers polar snorkeling for everyone. Polar snorkelers are provided with specially designed Waterproof© Snorkel-Dry suits. The dive & snorkel operations on board are managed by the Waterproof Expedition team, polar dive experts who have experienced many extreme situations in the field and who are trained to search out the best opportunities for diving, taking into account the unpredictable weather and ice conditions. Waterproof maintains the highest level of safety in combination with quality diving.
Oceanwide Expeditions: In June 1997, a group of 24 scuba divers from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and the United States joined together for a special expedition: Ice Diving in the Arctic waters of Spitsbergen. This successful exploration voyage was followed by an additional Arctic voyage in June 1998 and a new challenge in November of the same year: the very first commercial Antarctic diving expedition to the Falklands and the Antarctic. Today, Antarctica cruises as well as cruises to the Arctic are what Oceanwide Expeditions is specialized in. Besides these Antarctic and Arctic destinations, they voyage to several remote North and mid-Atlantic islands.
FOR YOUR POLAR ADVENTURE .... A PLETHORA OF CHOICES
You'll also see various Antarctic fish, shrubby horse-tails, jelly-fish, sea-hedgehogs, starfish and krill. The extent of life here astonishes the newcomer.
The dive sites will vary. You'll find shallow ice diving and diving along a wall - you'll dive from a beach or from the zodiac. The maximum depth is around 20 meters / 60 feet. You'll want to take your time to explore an environment few divers have ever experienced.
The dive operators we work with bring you more than 15 years of experiences in Polar diving and all trips are organized by polar dive experts who have experienced many extreme situations in the field.
As you might imagine, these voyages are not for beginners. You'll need to have your Open Water Advanced certificate and must be familiar with cold water diving and dry suit diving with at least 20 dives on your log before venturing into Arctic or Antarctic waters. Don't hesitate to ask us for more information if you're looking for certification opportunities.
A spacious dining area- lounge features a central fireplace stove and 24 hour buffet with snacks and drinks. The shared washroom facility has on-demand hot water in both sinks & showers. This camp may be set up on land or directly on ice depending on location & time of year.
You find yourself facing kelp walls, surrounded by shrimps & crabs & lobsters, star fish, jellyfish, sea hedgehogs & starfish, sea-snails & sea butterflies, winged-snails & sea-angels, a variety of Arctic fish, plus peacock worms, sea squirts, feather stars and anemones, shrubby horse-tails, brittle stars ... and what's least expected ... a range of lovely soft corals.
Diving is performed with safety ropes according to PADI Ice Diving standards using experienced instructors and dive guides, and includes 2 dives per day and diver transport to diving sites by snowmobile.
A mobile diving camp is set up on diving sites. Wooden cabins on sledges provide shelter for changing, for drying of equipment and include a common room module for lunch and socializing. A heated wooden shelter is placed just over the ice-hole (maina) for those who prefer a heated space between dives.
Dog-sledding is also part of the program and the frosting on the cake is the possibility that you may get to see the Northern Lights. Never guaranteed, but when it happens this phenomenon just adds a little thrill.
All in all, this is certainly an adventure for the brave of heart! Waterproof Expeditions offers diving adventures here most every year.
The Arctic Lodge used for accommodation is a well-established comfortable guest house on the shore of the frozen sea. Exquisite Russian food, traditional and international beverages and the Russian banya (steam bath, opended daily) complete a unique experience. The accommodation consist of traditional Russian wooden cottages with central heating and electricity. There is a lounge in one of the guesthouses with Satellite telephone and wireless internet access (at costs).
In addition to the orcas and humpbacks, the congregation often includes pilot whales, minke whales, harbor porpoises and white- beaked dolphins.
The light is superb for photography and above the water line, you'll see white-tailed eagles, moose, spectacular scenery and probably a display of the Northern lights.
Waterproof Expeditions is offering swimming and snorkeling and photography expeditions which will put you into the thick of this phenomenon and with the newly rebuilt liveaboard yacht MV 'Malmö', have the flexibility to follow the herring and the Orca's deep in the fjords and deliver great chances of success.
During the darker hours you will enjoy the warm and cozy comfort of the expedition yacht while expert guides entertain you with presentations on wildlife and cinematography. Excellent food is served with a fine selection of wines and beers.
At 14 million square kilometres (5.4 million square miles), Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent ... nearly twice the size of Australia. It's the coldest, driest & windiest continent & has the highest average elevation. Considered a desert, it has a maximum annual precipitation of 200 mm (8 inches). The Arctic refers to a polar region consisting of the Arctic Ocean & parts of Alaska, Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia & Sweden. It is, overall, a vast ocean with a seasonally variable ice cover surrounded by treeless permafrost.