Sea Kayaking in the Polar Regions

Sea Kayaking Shows Another Side Of Expedition Cruising

Bumping through the ice, gliding across a glassy bay, with the mountains and glaciers reflected in the water, are unique experiences shared by just a small group of guests on each voyage who sign up for the sea kayaking program.

sea kayaking

One Ocean Expeditions highly experienced kayak guides have a combined role of safety and interpretation – they will guide and introduce you to a slower-paced experience in the Polar Regions. Kayak excursions will be offered in conjunction with the Zodiac excursions whenever weather conditions permit, with an average of six or seven kayak adventures planned over the duration of the voyage.

Our potential sea kayaking excursions include paddling to various bays and islands, focusing on wildlife sites such as seal or walrus haul-outs, penguin rookeries, bird colonies, historic sites and places of scenic interest.

Your personal comfort and safety are our priorities. The paddling gear that we have chosen is designed to support this statement. During your excursion, you will be wearing a Gore-Tex dry-suit, with rubber wrist gaskets, and adjustable neoprene neck and integrated Gore-Tex socks to keep your feet dry. A sea kayaking-specific lifejacket (PFD) will be provided and neoprene ‘pogies’ (paddling mitts) and neoprene booties will also be provided.

Getting geared up for kayaking.
Getting geared up for kayaking. Image by Reed Hoffmann

Paddling accessories also include an adjustable touring paddle, spray skirt and a 20-liter dry bag, which can either be placed on the deck or in their cockpit, allowing waterproof storage for personal items (camera, sunglasses, sunscreen, a bottle of water) and easy access while paddling.

Our fleet of kayaks consists of single and double polyethylene sea kayaks, all with foot paddles connected to a rudder to make steering simple. The kayaks have been chosen for their combination of seaworthiness and stability with the aim of keeping you dry, comfortable and allowing a comfortable platform for photography, while still permitting you to cover a few miles each excursion.

This may be the only time in your life that you paddle a kayak in a polar environment. In order to ensure that you are able to participate and get the most out of this program, we strongly recommend that you have prior experience in a sea kayak or have taken an introductory sea kayaking course.

Find out more about the program and watch the video below:

Have a look at Alesha and Jarryd’s (NOMADasaurus) 360-degree video about sea kayaking in Antarctica.

Meet your sea kayak guides:

sea kayakingLiz Gifford
Liz is a skilled and experienced sea kayak guide and environmental educator. She worked as a kayak ranger for the US Forest Service in the glacially carved fjords of Alaska. Liz has been guiding sea kayaking excursions for One Ocean Expeditions’ guests since 2011, including leading the overnight Antarctica sea kayaking program. Liz holds a Masters degree in teaching and brings over ten years of experience as an environmental educator, which she shares with guests on kayaking excursions. Liz is an American Canoe Association Certified Kayak Instructor and she finds great enjoyment in making paddlers of all abilities feel confident in the icy waters!

Mark Scriver
Kayak guide in the polar regions.Mark has spent two decades instructing and guiding canoe, kayak and hiking trips in the Canadian Arctic, Greenland and Antarctica. Mark successfully led the Canadian whitewater freestyle team for several years in the 1990s and won the World Championships in open canoe in 1997. He has been leading kayaking trips for One Ocean Expeditions for the last five years and played an essential part in designing OOE’s overnight sea kayaking program. Since 2011, Mark has travelled more than 20 times to Antarctica and skillfully explores the remote bays and inlets surrounding the peninsula.