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Cruising the Drake Passage in January


10july86
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We will be on a Quark ship in January.  What is your experience in crossing the Drake Passage in January?  My TA told me that Dec and Jan are the calm times to cross.  I'm nervous but will be prepared.

 

TIA.

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No one can categorically say that Dec and Jan are the calm times.  Polar region weather can turn on a dime. On one crossing in January we had exceptionally rough seas returning across the Drake; on another crossing heading south in January we had a fairly calm experience.

 

You don’t say which Quark vessel.  We were just on Quark’s Ultramarine in the Arctic in very heavy seas, and the ship handled it very well.

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18 hours ago, 10july86 said:

We’re on the World Explorer.   This is our first time with Quark. I hope you were happy with them. 

We’ve been traveling with them since 2007 … Antarctic, Greenland, North Pole, and most recently Canadian High Arctic.  We like that although the ships have become more luxurious over the years, the focus is still on the expedition.

 

we’ve not been on World Explorer, but from what I saw in photos, it looks like a very nice vessel to be on,

 

have a great time.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I just took a Silversea "Antarctica Bridge" trip where we flew over the Drake directly into King George Island, and I am soooo happy we did that.  The seas we would have had to go through, both over and back were waves up to 6 meters.   

 

This was in February, near the end of the "summer" there, so there can still be high seas all year round.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just returned home from my World Explorer Crossing the Circle trip. I’ll be posting a trip report shortly but wanted to comment on the Shake. Going south, crew called it “moderate seas” but the notorious puke bags were out in force and the housekeeping staff was on high stand-by with multiple wet “caution” signs up indicating past incidents. A lot of people were not out and about. Going north almost 2 weeks later we had a much more intense experience - Beaufort scale 6/7 with frequent 7 meter waves (crashing over the open bow on deck 5 and higher) with most open deck areas closed except for the partially protected smokers area on deck 7 port side, right behind the observation deck. At least 1/3 passengers seemed to be skipping meals in the dining room. Dramamine was a popular topic.

 

lovely ship, btw

Edited by ColdCruise
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  • 2 months later...

We crossed I. January a few years back.

The way down was rough.

I remember laying in bed, and thinking that, yes, I now understand the stories I have heard about people being strapped into their beds, back in the day. A couple of times I felt I would fall out.

there was a bowl of fruit on our coffee table that repeatedly fell off, till we stopped picking it up.

we had taken meds though, and we weren’t sick.

Next morning, things were relatively smooth.

on the return trip, there were no issues at all.

The Drake is unpredictable. Which makes it an adventure, and I’m glad we did it

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  • 3 weeks later...

We crossed the Drake in January.  Going down, perfectly fine.  Coming back was ROUGH.  Like, the weather map between Antarctica and Ushuaia was basically just completely dark purple - as bad as it gets.  Plates fell off tables in restaurants, saw a couple of older passengers fall down, at times you felt like you were walking at a 30 degree angle just moving around the ship. 

 

That said - I am prone to extreme seasickness, and depsite all the bucking, I made it through without any nausea at all - thanks to Meclizine.  No pill keeps seasickness at bay for me anywhere near as good as Meclizine.  It's a must have for me on every cruise.  So if that's your worry re: Drake, consider just stocking up on some Meclizine.  It's super cheap and available on Amazon.

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  • 2 months later...

We crossed the Drake in January and had rough crossing both ways.  In fact after we left Ushuaia they closed the port and several ships could not leave for 2 days.  We took Stugeron for motion sickness and never got sick.  One of the dining rooms was completely tossed.  Dishes, glasses, etc. everywhere.  Had to close that dining room for  half a day.

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  • 5 months later...

 I am considering the Fly the Drake cruise with Lindblad.  They have 2 hour flights over the Drake Passage, then board the vessel in Antarctica for 5 or 6 days, and fly back.  If the winds are bad at the Drake Passage, would that not make flying even worse than the ship for turbulence? 

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14 hours ago, Suzanne123 said:

 I am considering the Fly the Drake cruise with Lindblad.  They have 2 hour flights over the Drake Passage, then board the vessel in Antarctica for 5 or 6 days, and fly back.  If the winds are bad at the Drake Passage, would that not make flying even worse than the ship for turbulence? 

Either way you could have delays.  On our cruise we left Ushuaia 4 hours early to dodge a storm and returned a day early for the same reason.  2 other ships in Ushuaia were delayed leaving 2 days due to weather.  So pick your poison.  We had 10 - 12 meter seas going and coming and it wasn't too bad. We had met with an expedition guide on a Med cruise who was there to talk up the Venture before she was launched and were advised to get a specific motion sickness medication, Stugeron.  It worked great. Not available in the USA but you can get it thru an online Canadian pharmacy.  Takes a few weeks to get it so plan on that. We tried it at home before we left to make sure we had no ill side effects and had none.

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