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Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Miles, Australia
posts: 22
Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

I am going on an Antarctic Cruise with Heritage Expeditions From Bluff, NZ in Jan 2014. I was wondering what clothing and other items to pack as we are visiting a lot of subantarctic islands such as Macquarie along the way as well as the Ross Ice Shelf. These islands will have vegetation on them, not just ice, so there will be quite a variation in temperature over the duration of the 29 day cruise. Has anyone been on a similar cruise? How many of each item of clothing did you need to pack? Any hints ofr suggestions please.

37 replies to this topic
Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,300
reviews: 27
31. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

I think if anyone saw a fellow passenger holding up an ipad to take a photo they would gently toss them overboard !

If you want "so so" quality "happy snaps" - then yep a phone is fine. But if you accidently take the primo shot of a lifetime of a whale breaching next to a seal diving over an iceberg covered in penguins - well you will kick yourself that the only shot you have isnt decent enough pixels to blow it up onto a canvas!!!

I cant cope with the weight of huge DSLR lenses so I still with mega zoom bridge cameras. Past 2 trips was the Canon SX20 - next trip will be the SX50. I also take a waterproof Pentax WG1 GPS camera for the zodiacs and I take a shot per day first thing each morning so I can later plot my entire course on google maps.

Also take the iphone for quick silly happy snaps. It has a waterproof case so it can also be pulled out on the zodiacs.

Computer - I take my trusty old eeepc netbook and download all photos to both it and a separate external hardrive each night.

And yep as Anon said - security on the ships - its an open door keyless policy. I figure most people have $5000 computers and $50,000 worth of camera equipment so they are hardly going to stroll in and take my netbook!

And I have never heard of a theft on board personally. think about it - where could a thief run ??

Miles, Australia
posts: 22
32. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

I love it!! Yes where could a thief take anything on board a ship in the middle of nowhere!

I have ended up buying a Sony cybershot DSC HX50V mainly because it had a 30X optical zoom. It's not waterproof so should I get a small waterproof camera for shots in the zodiac or possibly a waterproof case for this one?

Sea sickness - how has everyone been in this area on the trips from NZ? I know this is a personal thing but have heard of terrible rough seas in the Drake Passage on trips from South America but wasn't sure of the likelihood of rough weather on this cruise. I have been told about some sea sickness patches from NZ that you place behind your ear against the skin. I was told they are very good. Does anyone know the name and where to get them in NZ?

Queenstown
posts: 92
reviews: 1
33. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Hi

They are called Scopoderm, and used widely by passengers leaving from NZ. However, I would urge caution with them. They can have nasty side effects if not used correctly. I have used them successfully on the 'big sea' days, but have also felt the not so nice effects of dry mouth and eyes, crazy dreams, and I have seen a person hallucinate on them. Some people take simple sea legs and get through with those fine, others sea bands and ginger (although I doubt these latter two do much in a good Southern Ocean swell!).

You can be guaranteed some 'big sea' days in the Southern Ocean for sure. I used this is time to hunker down in my bunk, reflect on an amazing landings, and regroup, check out and edit my photos, and stay low until the seas subsided or we reach our next island/landing. It is not often in this day and age you get to lie still and slow down, so it is a time you can enjoy - I struggle with this, so I took some good movies on my laptop, and a few good books, they will have sue good ones onboard I am sure!!

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,300
reviews: 27
34. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Definitely research (and discuss with your own doctor) before trying the patches. There are some extremely good reasons why they are banned in Aus. The voyage before my Nov 2010 one was delayed for all passengers when the ship had to turn back to Ushuaia to offload a passenger who suffered dreadful psychosis reactions and self harmed and injured others. On my own two trips I witness passengers who suffered very bad eye problems included blown irises (a bizarre look!).

Most stick with over the counter stuff like phenergan or polaramine, and the ginger. Current science is that salt and sugar together work a treat (something to do with blood pressure) so on my 2nd trip they provided bowls of pretzels drizzeled with dark choc for the unwell passengers.

I dont suffer from it at all (just blessed) so at sea days for me were lovely - nice empty areas of the ship to just sit and stare out at the sea and photograph the big waves crashing over the bow etc.

Michigan
posts: 890
reviews: 17
35. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

All part of the price for reaching a worthwhile place.

I know many people who swear by meclizine. I try to get by without taking anything. Trouble is, by the time one starts feeling queasy it's usually too late to do much about it. My wife is thinking about using patches or wristbands. Not sure what is meant by "simple sea legs". I'll have to look them up.

Staring out at the sea seems to be the best way to pass the time. Looking at a computer screen or reading would likely make matters worse for me. For some reason, seeing water sloshing in a sink or shower is often a trigger for me.

I read a blog (thanks for the links) where the writer said her ship's stabilizers were retracted upon reaching the peninsula, resulting in quite a bit of rolling. Is that true for all vessels, or just done in a specific area?

Back to cameras, I'm planning on taking my Canon SX40 "superzoom". It performed well in the Arctic and has also delivered good results when not on vacation/holiday adventures. The one area where it sometimes comes up short is its autofocus. I have tried different modes, all of which are capable of producing blurry images. I will also take our little waterproof Fuji for shooting from the Zodiacs.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth
posts: 8,300
reviews: 27
36. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

Chipshot I took the Canon SX20 on the last 2 trips and it "only" took 10,000 awesome framable shots per trip :) Its a great performer.

Am upgrading to the SX50 in the next few months unless the 60 comes out soon - in time for my next trip as the burst mode has been way improved for birds in flight shots.

Bendigo, Australia
posts: 6
37. Re: Antarctic Cruise from NZ in 2014

You will get some rough weather on the trip from NZ - it is a long way and not known as the roaring fouties, furious fifths and something sixties (can't remember that one, but it is bad!) for no reason!. Luckily its then the silent seventies and it really was - going through the ice was dead calm and wonderful. If you haven't already get on the Heritage website and download last seasons trip reports (they are found in the upcoming trips information pages under trip reports) and have a read and up the un-comfort level by a notch or 2. I was on the January trip and we were blessed with only 3 or 4 rough days, but it was enough!

I took over the counter meds that the doc had recommended (pretty sure it was Avomine - not sure on the spelling) which unfortunately didn't really work and was sick on the first big sea day. Went to see the doctor and he opened a draw in the clinic and said which one do you want to try next! He had everything to try, patches, wrist bands and several different types of tablets and I tried Scopomine (not sure on the name again!) which isn't available in Australia and it worked for me. Bottom line is don't stress too much - take what your doc recommends and if it doesn't work see the doc on board and try out his pharmacy. Our one was happy for me to take a couple of days supply and then come back to try something else if that didn't work. Price was obviously more than at home, but I only paid for the pills I took and returned the leftovers.

When I'd read people saying they stayed in their cabins when it was rough I was skeptical thinking would be better off up sitting up and watching the world go by, but turned out that even sitting up made my stomach churn, but lying down it was fine. Did brave the stairs up to the bridge one morning when the waves were breaking over it, just for the video and the experience. The power behind the ocean really makes you appreciate what the early explorers in their wooden sailing boats must have faced.

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