It is crucial to visit Antarctica in the southern spring and summer seasons, on board a yacht specifically designed for exploring this inhospitable yet incomparable destination. Ice and weather, rather than times and dates, determine ideal travel conditions, but as a guide November to December is the late spring and early summer period. From mid‐December to January the midnight sun of summer sets in and the penguin chicks begin to hatch. Seal pups can be seen as you cruise past the Falklands and South Georgia, and the receding ice means that deeper exploration of the continent is possible. Whale sightings are more common in late summer, February to March, when the chicks are also fledging and ice recedes even further. However, by the end of March, temperatures are cooling and the winter freeze is beginning to set in.
One of the least discovered places on earth, Antarctica is a breathtakingly beautiful – a real adventure for clients that want to do and see things that are inspiringly extreme. Follow the great adventurers of the 20th century, make your own film and write your own journal. At this time of the year the tenders, jet skies and kayaks can be launched on mini expeditions around the icebergs. Cruise through the brush ice, cut off the engine and float in silence with the only sounds coming from the ice cracking, a sheet shearing off a glacier, the call of whales or the clicking of inquisitive seals.
The Ilulissat fjord produces 20 billion tons of icebergs per year. A UNESCO world heritage site, this is the most active glacier in the world. There are no roads and few conventions about anything. The Innuit people are gentle, kind and fascinated by outsiders. Nuuk, the capital, is a collection of brightly-coloured houses set into the rocks at the base of sheer mountains. Visit Qasigassit Bay and then cruise up to Nanortalik – polar bear town is the best translation of the name. Break through the Arctic Circle and take the tenders inshore for a walk. Ask for a picnic and have lunch on the tundra. Toast your spirit of adventure with a glass of snowmelt – a unique taste.
Sail into Vancouver, one of the most picturesque cities, explore Denali National Park, the largest protected eco system in the world, cruise past the legendary Mendenhall glacier to Juneau keeping alert for whale watching. Take to the tenders or kayak up the Yukon and at all times be ready to meet the locals: moose, sea lions, bears and orcas.