The world‘s finest diving


Scientists are telling us that the Arctic & the Antarctic are doing a disappearing act before our eyes,  which should give all of us impetus to glimpse them while they are still intriguing, wild, challenging worlds which forge indelible memories for lucky visitors..  Perhaps, upon returning to the realities of everyday life, we can spread the word about why it’s so important to act responsibly to protect these fragile environments.

There are now more than 20 vessels that offer programs to the Antarctic Peninsula and several that go to the Arctic . . . but if you only venture to either destination once in a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are on the right vessel, with a small group and the best guides available.  Here at Dive Advice, we’ve been lucky to have long-term relationships with the operators we work with & I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I’m recommending only the best to you.

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To help you plan your trip, we’ve prepared a list of basic information you’ll want to know before you book.

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 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.

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 ALRUSharp seals, bearded seals & BELUGA WHALES.

For your polar adventure .... a plethora of choices

Antarctic ... Penguins, Seals, Humpbacks & Astonishing Sea Life

On top of the outrageous scenery above the water line, diving here allows you to revel in magnificent ice structures & to throw yourself into an ends-of-the-earth adventure …. affording a glimpse of a surprising variety of marine life, such as kelp walls, sea-snails, crabs, sea butterflies … and marine life seemingly from another planet, such as the giant isopods & salps. Seals race fearlessly past you while you’re swimming along & sunlight from above creates a stunning, ever-changing spectrum underwater colors. In addition, you may have the possibility to snorkel or dive with fur seals, leopard seals, humpback whales and penguins.

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.

Arctic - Canada's Baffin Island ... Land of Narwhals & Polar Bears

It’s a land of 24-hour sunlight. It’s a land of snow and ice. It’s a land where you can view the unicorn of the seas – the narwhal. It’s the land of bowhead whales and polar bears.  And, you will dive amongst the most incredible ice formations found anywhere on the planet.  Inspired by African mobile safari camps, the Premium Safari Camp brings elegance and comfort to the Arctic. The modern, specially designed yurt-style safari camp structures have double walls with insulation to provide a warm and inviting home away from home in one of the world’s most remote yet breathtaking places.

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.

Arctic - Spitsbergen ... Reindeer, Walruses, Belugas, Seals & Foxes

Diving is only one of the activities which wow participants on these trips.  Long before you hit the water you’ve definitely seen glaciers & icebergs. You’ve probably seen multitudes of reindeer, a Polar Bear or two, perhaps a colony of walruses, various whales (including belugas), a plenitude of sea birds, numerous bearded seals & harp seals, maybe even one of the elusive arctic foxes.  The surroundings are pure magic.   Then, you dive into the frigid, deep blue water, expecting very little life but Arctic diving provides a surprising experience for first-time polar divers.

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.

Arctic - White Sea ... Fantasy Ice Formations, Unexpected Marine Life, Belugas & Seals

With its wild, virtually uninhabited environment of virgin forests, icy lakes and vast stretches of tundra, the White Sea is a final frontier. As in Spitsbergen, the underwater life amazes the first-time diver. First of all, you’re confronted with fantastic underwater ice formations, caverns & fissures & cliffs.  Add in the soft corals, sea anemone beds, Gorgon’s head, brittle stars, hermit crabs, numerous starfish, mussel farms and seaweed forests, cod, wolffish, sea perch, butterfish and flounders …. plus Beluga whales and seals … and you’ll have a hard time believing your eyes.

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).

Norway - Winter Whales ... Orcas & Humpbacks

Norway’s appeal is difficult to find words for. Steep-sided fjords cut deeply and dramatically into the land.  The glaciers are massive and powerful.  And, the Northern Lights are magical.  But it’s the “banqueting whales” which draws our attention as divers and snorkellers. In recent years, a change has come to the waters off the coast here:  a spring spawn of herring and mackerel which has been drawing a throng of orcas and humpback whales.  Some say this is the largest in the world at this date and the peak occurs between November and the end of February.

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.

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