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Donna_In_India

Drake Passage Crossing

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We are going to Antarctica at the end of March with our 11 yrs old daughter on a 100 passengers ice breaker. I was wondering about the Drake Passage crossing. Although we've never gotten seasick we'll bring appropriate meds just in case. I know that no one can predict how it's going to be but can you give me any tips about surviving if it's rough. I'm more nervous about huge waves and severe rocking than I am about getting seasick!

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31 minutes ago, Donna_In_India said:

We are going to Antarctica at the end of March with our 11 yrs old daughter on a 100 passengers ice breaker. I was wondering about the Drake Passage crossing. Although we've never gotten seasick we'll bring appropriate meds just in case. I know that no one can predict how it's going to be but can you give me any tips about surviving if it's rough. I'm more nervous about huge waves and severe rocking than I am about getting seasick!

You can never tell how rough the Drake crossing will be.  We were in Antarctica in February, 2018. On the way down we had the "Drake Lake".  It was very calm.  On the way back we had the "Drake Shake". There were huge waves and lots of rocking. We were on the Silversea Cloud and the chairs in the restaurants are chained to the floor for a reason.  There were many people who got seasick. I get seasick so I have the prescription patch and never got seasick at all.  Are you prone to seasickness?  Bring appropriate meds and you will be fine. Enjoy your cruise! Antarctica is amazing!

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I was just there on the MS Ushuaia in Dec 2019. There were 80 passengers and 30 crew.  The Drake was rough on the passage to Antarctica and smooth on the way back.  This was also a very small ship without stabilizers.  We had a cabin on the lowest floor with twin beds.  I thought it was very rough, the staff thought it was not so bad, so I hate to see what bad it (we had no storms or rain, snow, wind).

There were no hugh waves, but still a lot of rocking.  Being in bed felt like being in a rocking baby cradle.  We slid from side to side, so glad for twin beds.  Going over, that lasted about 20-24 hours. Normally I don't get seasick as long as I take one Bonine daily.  Unless seas are very rough.

I took Bonine twice a day, probably a double dose.  At one point I also took Zofran (prescription only).  I was ok as long as I laid flat in bed and just waited it out.  If I tried to stand and walk I was dizzy and sick.  So I just drank some Coke and ate some crackers in bed and listened to music on my phone.

My husband on the other hand only took Bonine and felt pretty good.  He went to all meals.

Many of the men on the trip were also quite sick.  Big strong men felled by the current.

Some people who used the patch were sick, others were not. One man I talked to used the patch and took Zofran and said he was fine.

Our cabin steward was very kind, but said he has never been sick.

 I loved this trip.  I would go again if not so expensive and crossing the Drake.  One of our best trips ever.

 

 

Penguins on ice2.jpg

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1 minute ago, Carol From California said:

You can never tell how rough the Drake crossing will be.  We were in Antarctica in February, 2018. On the way down we had the "Drake Lake".  It was very calm.  On the way back we had the "Drake Shake". There were huge waves and lots of rocking. We were on the Silversea Cloud and the chairs in the restaurants are chained to the floor for a reason.  There were many people who got seasick. I get seasick so I have the prescription patch and never got seasick at all.  Are you prone to seasickness?  Bring appropriate meds and you will be fine. Enjoy your cruise! Antarctica is amazing!

 

No, none of us are prone to seasickness. I'm more worried about feeling like we're going to end up in the water! 😁

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Just now, Donna_In_India said:

 

No, none of us are prone to seasickness. I'm more worried about feeling like we're going to end up in the water! 😁

I would not worry about that. 

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1 minute ago, bornfreenowexpensive said:

I was just there on the MS Ushuaia in Dec 2019. There were 80 passengers and 30 crew.  The Drake was rough on the passage to Antarctica and smooth on the way back.  This was also a very small ship without stabilizers.  We had a cabin on the lowest floor with twin beds.  I thought it was very rough, the staff thought it was not so bad, so I hate to see what bad it (we had no storms or rain, snow, wind).

There were no hugh waves, but still a lot of rocking.  Being in bed felt like being in a rocking baby cradle.  We slid from side to side, so glad for twin beds.  Going over, that lasted about 20-24 hours. Normally I don't get seasick as long as I take one Bonine daily.  Unless seas are very rough.

I took Bonine twice a day, probably a double dose.  At one point I also took Zofran (prescription only).  I was ok as long as I laid flat in bed and just waited it out.  If I tried to stand and walk I was dizzy and sick.  So I just drank some Coke and ate some crackers in bed and listened to music on my phone.

My husband on the other hand only took Bonine and felt pretty good.  He went to all meals.

Many of the men on the trip were also quite sick.  Big strong men felled by the current.

Some people who used the patch were sick, others were not. One man I talked to used the patch and took Zofran and said he was fine.

Our cabin steward was very kind, but said he has never been sick.

 I loved this trip.  I would go again if not so expensive and crossing the Drake.  One of our best trips ever.

 

 

Penguins on ice2.jpg

 

We're going on the Ushuaia! Thanks for the info. I'm hoping I can get something for my daughter in addition to the patch just in case. Sounds like your trip wasn't so bad as far as the waves. The thought of huge waves is making me really nervous. I'm hoping my daughter doesn't freak out too.

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The doctor on board had other pills she gave out.  I forget what they are called, they don't sell them in the US.   Here is my review on trip advisor from our trip.

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12337-k13090523-Just_back_from_Photo_Expedition_to_Antartica_Dec_2_to_Dec_13-Antarctic_Adventures.html

 

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g1-i12337-k13145846-Considering_Traveling_on_MV_Ushuaia_Need_Cabin_Advice-Antarctic_Adventures.html

 

Edited by bornfreenowexpensive

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On 1/25/2020 at 5:38 PM, Donna_In_India said:

We're going on the Ushuaia!

Might be worth noting that the Ushuaia is not an ice breaker, so the ship has a normal hull shape. So if you were concerned about the behavior of ice-breaker hulls in open water, there’s no need to worry.

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1 hour ago, kaisatsu said:

Might be worth noting that the Ushuaia is not an ice breaker, so the ship has a normal hull shape. So if you were concerned about the behavior of ice-breaker hulls in open water, there’s no need to worry.

 

I don't think that makes a difference to me. I'm concerned about the waves. 

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4 hours ago, Donna_In_India said:

 

I don't think that makes a difference to me. I'm concerned about the waves. 

 

The reason the difference is mentioned is because icebreakers have a rounded hull so they bob on the sea like a champagne cork and rock around much more. 

 

You are going on an ice strengthened ship with a normal ship hull shape and are completely stable in any seas. 

 

What on earth is worrying you about the waves ? You are not going to be out on the bow with them splashing over you. Outer decks are closed in bad weather. You will be indoors. Even in good weather it is not compulsory for you do be out on the decks if you don't want to be. Your choice. 

 

You are being a tad irrational. Once you understand that you can settle down and have an incredible holiday. Approx 50,000 make this journey every season. Waves or not. 

 

Me personally - I love the rough seas. Bigger the better. It makes it part of the experience. 

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Aside from seasickness, the only significant risk is that things could be damaged if they fall off a desk, etc. Some ships put down non-slip mesh on hard surfaces, but it's not enough when it gets particularly rocky. Better to move things to the floor and secure anything fragile.

 

I can understand how big waves can be a bit scary, but remember that these ships have done this trip over and over without incident, even in extreme conditions. And by far most crossings are relatively mild, but we don't hear much about them, because they don't make for interesting stories! Of my Drake crossings, the only one I tend to talk about was the one when it was a crystal calm "Drake Lake"! The others were choppy, but not worth talking about, since I've experienced worse elsewhere.

Edited by kaisatsu

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Agree with kaisatsu.  We had a calm ride south thru the Drake and a rough one heading north.  But one day along the peninsula, while the ship was sailing slowly to our next stop, we got hit with a big wave out of nowhere that knocked many of our things off of surfaces, and broke more than half the wineglasses and other delicates in the kitchen. 

 

Wine was served in mugs the rest of the cruise, and we made sure all our stuff was in drawers or jammed into place on top of surfaces

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9 hours ago, PerfectlyPerth said:

 

The reason the difference is mentioned is because icebreakers have a rounded hull so they bob on the sea like a champagne cork and rock around much more. 

 

You are going on an ice strengthened ship with a normal ship hull shape and are completely stable in any seas. 

 

What on earth is worrying you about the waves ? You are not going to be out on the bow with them splashing over you. Outer decks are closed in bad weather. You will be indoors. Even in good weather it is not compulsory for you do be out on the decks if you don't want to be. Your choice. 

 

You are being a tad irrational. Once you understand that you can settle down and have an incredible holiday. Approx 50,000 make this journey every season. Waves or not. 

 

Me personally - I love the rough seas. Bigger the better. It makes it part of the experience. 

 

Thanks for your judgemental response. I'm traveling with an 11 yrs old. I always like to be prepared.

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On 1/28/2020 at 1:45 AM, Donna_In_India said:

 

Thanks for your judgemental response. I'm traveling with an 11 yrs old. I always like to be prepared.

 

I wasn't being judgemental. I was trying to allay your irrational fears so you can focus on what will be a brilliant trip. I have done 116 days over 4 Expeditions down there. I want every person to have the time of the life. 

 

And a child absorbs the emotions of a parent so you risk making your kid paranoid about it all. 

Instead - look for the adventurer of it all. You are going where the great adventurers went - only you are doing it in a nice comfy perfectly stable safe vessel. Not many 11 year olds can come home and say they did that - not to mention bragging about how big the waves were!! 

 

No one gets washed over board because everyone follows the instructions of the Captain and the Expedition Leader. 

 

 

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People won't fall overboard but you could get injured during a storm if you are unsteady and fall due to a sudden move of the ship (in the stairs for instance). So it's important to remember that when the ship moves you always use one of your arm for your safety (hold on to something at all times). If you are not steady on your feet, the safest location is usually lying down on your bed and waiting for the storm to pass (it always does).

The ship is safe. Just look after yourself, and indeed follow all the advice given on board.

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I just came back from an expedition cruise to Antarctica (plus Falkland Islands and South Georgia), so I can share my experience.

 

I got seasick from the 2-hr long zodiac ride in Antarctica. When I went back to my suite after the zodiac cruise, I threw up everything that I ate in the last two days.  Good thing that I was prepared in bringing along motion sickness wrist bands and patches (purchased from Amazon).  Since I put on both wrist bands and ear patches, I did not experience any more discomfort.

 

The ship Scenic Eclipse was as steady as a rock (as expected of its design), so I did not experience much motion discomfort throughout the cruise including Drake Passage.  The only time I felt some minor motion discomfort was during breakfast, because the buffet breakfast is located at the end of the ship.  In terms of rocking of the ship cruising through Drake Passage, I did not feel much except some minor rocking when I was in bed.

 

There were about 400 people on board (198 guests) on our ship.  With only 100 guests, your ship/yacht may be much smaller and thus may rock more than ours.  Hope that the meds, wrist bands, and ear patches would help you.

 

The Antarctica Cruise was one of my best trips.  It was definitely a wonderful and memorable experience.  I am sure that your daughter and you will enjoy yours just as well.

 

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On 1/31/2020 at 9:18 PM, dreamercruise said:

 

 

I got seasick from the 2-hr long zodiac ride in Antarctica. 

 

Wow! I had not even considered this as a possibility when deciding on what sort of trip I wanted to take down there. I assume that a high level of motion is somewhat unusual while out on a zodiac? I have no idea, having never been. 

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Our zodiac trips were pretty smooth.  Unfortunately, when seas are rough they don't usually send them out

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As an ex mariner who has been "Around the Horn" & in Drake Passage twice,  I would not even think of going to Antarctica on the mv Ushuaia or any other vessel of her type & age.

The vessel was built in USA for NOAA in 1968 & commisioned as "Researcher" in 1970.  Thats 50+ years ago.

The ship was an ice strengthened research vessel - NOT an icebreaker.

Similar in age to the Explorer that sank a few years ago.  That ship had the port side shell plating renewed at a previous dry docking put puntured the original plating on the starboard side - & sank.  They were very lucky the weather was calm & help was only a few hours away.  This is one reason the Polar Code was brought into being. The findings of the inquiry into the loss of Explorer is available on the web.

mv Ushuaia is registered under one of the worst Flags of comvenience - Comoros in East Africa & operated by Argentinians.

 

 

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We crossed the Drake Passage to Antarctica a decade ago and it was insanely rough - cabin drawers and doors banged all night despite magnets supposed to prevent that. 

 

The ship was pitching to starboard so much that walking inside our cabin was bruise-inducing but neither my husband or I had any seasickness at the time.  However, I became spectacularly ill with projectile vomiting and severe nausea and dizziness the next morning in much calmer seas.   
 

My cure for seasickness then and now is a couple of chewable ginger tablets (though I detest the taste of ginger in any form), then a half can of cold ginger ale before lying down on my stomach with my eye shade in our quiet, very dark cabin.   It usually takes me about 3 hours to recover.
 

Many people use ginger for seasickness.  Just be sure to speak with your doctor about its use before trying it.
 

 

 

 

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On 1/25/2020 at 10:58 AM, Donna_In_India said:

We are going to Antarctica at the end of March with our 11 yrs old daughter on a 100 passengers ice breaker. I was wondering about the Drake Passage crossing. Although we've never gotten seasick we'll bring appropriate meds just in case. I know that no one can predict how it's going to be but can you give me any tips about surviving if it's rough. I'm more nervous about huge waves and severe rocking than I am about getting seasick!

 

Hate to say it, but I would assume you're not going there at this point. What line are (were) you scheduled with? 

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On 3/1/2020 at 1:34 AM, SeaDog-46 said:

The ship was an ice strengthened research vessel - NOT an icebreaker.

You do realize that none of the Antarctic expedition ships these days are icebreakers, right?

None of the icebreakers have run tourist trips in the Antarctic for a few years.

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That was the post I quoted. I thought when you said you “would not even think of going to Antarctica on the mv Ushuaia or any other vessel of her type” that you were implying you wouldn’t travel on any ice-strengthened ship (rather than an icebreaker). I misread your meaning.

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We crossed the Drake Passage twice, to and from Antarctica, and then transited thru it a third time, on the same cruise.   We were aboard the Hurtigruten "Roald Amundsen", which is a less than year old, hybrid powered expedition ship.   At 20,000 or so GT, she is considerably larger than most Antarctic expedition ships, and still has a Polar Class 6, ice rating.  We did encounter a strong gale, with 60 knot winds, and 8+ meter swells, but she did a great job keeping us relatively comfortable.  There were occasional cases of sliding objects, and broken dishes, but overall, not so bad.   My wife and I are good sailor's, fortunately, and we did not need any seasickness remedies.

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