Kayakers have many reasons for putting the Polar Regions at the top of their must-do list of paddling destinations. Foremost among them is the chance to paddle with iconic and charismatic polar wildlife. In this first of our “Notes from the Poseidon expedition team” series, we share with you our experiences guiding paddlers around polar wildlife on cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica.
What kind of polar animals are you likely to meet while kayaking?
Additionally, there is always the possibility of paddling with seals. In the Arctic, we mostly meet bearded seals. These large and peaceful creatures are often encountered at close range reposing on ice floes in sheltered bays and fjords. Harbor seals and ringed seals can be seen from a kayak as well. In Spitsbergen and in Franz Josef Land, kayakers might also encounter walrus. Particular care must be taken when paddling in the vicinity of these massive and occasionally aggressive animals. Around the Antarctic Peninsula, the most commonly encountered seals are Weddell seals and crabeater seals. Leopard seals are also present and often approach small craft with great curiosity and playfulness, giving lucky kayakers a memorable encounter. In South Georgia, it is normal to be paddling with energetic fur seals and enormous elephant seals all around.
What about kayaking with whales?
In the Arctic, we’ve had the privilege of leading
In Antarctica, we’ve kayaked with humpback whales and minke whales countless times. Kayakers should be advised that the later months of the season offer the best opportunities for paddling with playful humpback whales. Other whales can be encountered, too. For example, one of our kayak guides was once leading a group of paddlers through a maze of icebergs when a pod of Arnoux beaked whales suddenly surfaced near us!
Have you ever paddled with polar bears?
Though it might seem like a dream-come-true, it’s not safe to paddle around polar bears. In polar bear territory (virtually anywhere in the
Any final thoughts on safety and respect for polar wildlife?
Poseidon Expeditions offers kayaking as an optional activity on its Antarctica cruises and Arctic cruises aboard its deluxe expedition ship Sea Spirit. Spots are limited and sell out quickly, so act fast to book your polar kayaking adventure! The wildlife will be there. Will you?