It’s been her dream for many years and now it will finally come true. We are following Sue Crowe as she is getting ready to dive in Antarctica. Sue is an experienced diver who has explored the waters of the most exotic destinations around the globe. But where do you start if you want to go diving in Antarctica? Sue explains how she chose her diving expedition cruise with Waterproof and started preparations.
Sue Crowe: “Ok this was it. I pressed ‘enter’ and the deposit disappeared off the screen. I sat for a moment, hardly believing it was actually happening. After all the years of wishing and wanting, and reading, and hoping, it was finally my turn. Everyone has different wishes – we all have a very long bucket list but there’s usually a biggie at the top. The ONE. I had always wanted to dive in Antarctica and see the icebergs from below the surface, and now it was actually going to happen!
You can get lots of advice about diving or visiting Antarctica, just find someone you trust who has been. I spoke to many different people and, luckily I did know quite a few people in the industry. Having said that, my own personal considerations were as follows:
Polar Diving: I wanted to go diving in Antarctica. This immediately cut out a lot of options. Many vessels don’t offer the possibility to go diving and, as I discovered, these ships were often quite big ( i.e.more passengers on board).
Small ship: More of an expedition-type feel. I didn’t want to go on a traditional cruise, I was looking for a more intimate experience with like-minded people. So the bigger, more luxurious ships, did not appeal to me.
Experience: I wanted real experience from my guides, with some longevity under their belts. I needed to know they understood the pitfalls and could find the best places to dive. Ultimately I chose Waterproof Expeditions to book my expedition. I’ve known Waterproof Expeditions founders Marlynda Elstgeest (CEO) and Göran Ehlmé (co-founder of Waterproof Diving International, Sweden) for a few years. Both are experienced divers with a passion for the polar regions. They’ve been organising Polar Diving since the 1990’s and were the pioneers of Polar Snorkelling in 2006. As a small boutique company, they have tons of experience which was exactly what I was looking for. I went directly to them to ask advice on the best options for me.
Personal attention: Smaller groups = more attention. I prefer travelling with small groups wherever possible. In this way, experienced expedition staff and crew can provide their customers (me) with greater flexibility and more possibilities for a truly unique expedition. Especially important because I would be traveling by myself. I looked at the mix on each ship, spoke to the girls at Waterproof, and chose the one I felt would work best for what I wanted out of this expedition.
Conservation & Sustainability: Extremely important to me. Waterproof Expeditions is a voting Member of IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators), a member organisation founded in 1991 to advocate, promote and practice safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to Antarctica. Big tick! I want to travel with people who are invested in looking after the environment.
Feedback / Reviews: Most important too, I’d had great reviews and firsthand feedback on their trips. I also wear and love Waterproof wet and dry suits .. so ultimately, they were pretty hard to pass by.
Every trip will be different, but as an independent traveller, like-minded travel and diving companions is what I wanted. Consequently, I chose a more ‘expedition-style’ vessel called ‘Ortelius‘, not the biggest, not the smallest, not the most luxurious or the prettiest but fit for the purpose of my trip. The voyage will depart from Ushuaia, sail along the Antarctic Peninsula and go further south untill we cross the Polar Circle. The ship will anchor at different sites daily, where we’ll get the opportunity to dive in the iceberg-heavy waters.
At 57, I’m definitely proof that you’re never too old for new adventures! But, I need time, help and preparation. Where exactly to start? Turns out, for someone who’s wanted to do this for a long time I’m surprisingly short on actual, factual logistical detail! So, what does one need to dive in Antarctica:
- Good advice
- Time to prepare
- Proper equipment
- Time to practice & feel comfortable in the required equipment
- Time to complete the paperwork
- Time to pack
- Time to mentally enjoy the journey, knowing I’ve done alI I can to be ready
In my next blog I will go in to details about my diving preparations and gear choice.”