We had our trepidations about crossing the Drake Passage. They are the roughest seas in the world and 20,000 sailors have lost their lives exploring these waters. In the 21st century things are much better for passengers cruising to Antarctica. Our ship, the Sea Spirit has state of the art stabilizers and Captain Peter has been sailing these seas for over a decade.

We were in good hands and along with our healthy dose of Dramamine, we were ready to take on the mighty waves.

The rocking was fierce and the chairs and tables are bolted to the floor, but while the boat was tossed around in the mighty Drake, we found the experience to be pleasant and almost fun.

Staggering through the hallways being hurled from side to side caused a chuckle or two as we met other passengers along our route.

It was 11:00 pm when we hit the Drake with full force and we went to bed just in time before the really big waves hit. As we lay down to sleep we heard a few yelps and hollers from cabins around us as the ship rocked from side to side.

I don’t know how we slept through the worst of it.  But we did. We heard stories of people being tossed out of their beds, unsecured items flying through the air and many a passenger huddled by their toilets praying to the porcelain Gods.

I awoke with sore arms wondering why on earth my hands felt cramped and realized that I must have been clutching the bed all night long subconsciously keeping myself from rolling to floor.

We made it through the worst of the Drake and lived to tell the tale.

Now Antarctica waits. We’ll be sea kayaking among the ice burgs, camping on the continent and witnessing the cute and cuddly Gentoo and Chin Strap Penguins.

Our Antarctica adventure is brought to you by Quark Expeditions

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Leave a comment


  1. Andrea

    This is the biggest concern for me regarding going to Antarctica. I get nervous on the Manly ferry on rough waters so I’m not sure how I’d manage the Drake Passage!

  2. John

    This sounds like an incredibly adventurous boat ride. I love sea motion and plane turbulence – they make the journies that much more exciting.

  3. Gary Arndt

    The first step I took of the first morning we were at sea, I stepped on and broke my glasses. They had flown off the table at night and onto the floor.

  4. Nora - The Professional Hobo

    Awesome! With my own recent history with sailing the high seas (and not fairing so well on the seasickness front), I’m envious! I wonder how I would fare now that (I think) I have my “sea legs”…hmmmm….maybe I’ll test that theory….some day! :-)
    Enjoy Antartica, and stay warm (if you can)!

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Maria. I think I was without knowing it. I woke up with sore arms. The way home was worse, our Drake passage crossing got the best of me on the way back unfortunately. More to come.

  5. Ali

    When I did this with my friend a few years ago, we jokingly came up with a rating system for rocking of the ship. Like if something rolled around on the table, it was a 5 but if it rolled off the table it was a 7, that kind of thing. It helped to be able to laugh in the middle of the turbulent Drake Passage. I’m glad you made it through ok!

    1. debndave Post author

      That’s a great and accurate rating system. It was crazy on our way home, we had some terrible weather. There was a point when I stood up from lunch and was launched into the air. Everything was falling off the tables. Plates of food, glasses, menus. Nothing stayed on and there were only a handful of people even capable of eating. Most were down with sea sickness…but that is another story yet to come from our second Drake passage crossing. The return trip.

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  8. jenny

    HI debndave,

    We are planning to book our trip to the Antarctic soon and will be going early February. The Drakes Passage sounds wild!!! Was the fibnal outcome worth the pain and would you recommend the tour you did? Thanks, Jenny

    1. debndave Post author

      Hi Jenny, crossing the Drake is definitely worth it. And having a tough crossing is a badge of honour that you “almost” look forward too. Until it happens that is:). I would definitely recommend Quark Expeditions. They are a leader in Antarctica Expeditions and their staff is top notch. They’re filled with information as Polar Experts and Marine Biologists. It was fascinating.

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