Antarctica Trip Preparation

In the space of one year I had been in to the Arctic circle by travelling North into Norway and Finland, I’d been on safari in the savannah grasslands of Kenya and Tanzania, and I’d finally seen some of North America by attending San Diego Comic Con International. Before the year was out I’d also be on my way back to South America at the start of an expedition to the final continent, Antarctica. This will have meant 5 continents in the space of around 11 months and having travelled as close as I’m ever likely to the opposite poles of the Earth.

The plan was to see as much as we could on the way to Antarctica and to make sure that we made landfall on the continent itself. It took some time to narrow down which company to go with but eventually we settled on an expedition with Audley Travel. We’d be away for three weeks starting just after Christmas and crossing into the New Year so it was going to require a fair bit of saving, but wouldn’t require much more planning beforehand due to the previous trips to Iceland and Norway.

Along the way we’d have a small amount of spare time in Argentina so planned ahead and looked at what we could do whilst there. It seemed like a reasonable idea to book a city tour ahead of time and to then decide more once we got there.

From Argentina we would board the m/v Plancius, an Oceanographic research vessel built for the Royal Dutch navy in 1976 (under the name HNLMS Tydeman, A906). It was later rebuilt as a 114 passenger vessel to be used by tourists, and which we would spend around 18 nights onboard. This would then take us to the Falklands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic peninsula. We’d be making landfall on the peninsula 102 years to the day since the Scott expedition reached the South Pole.

Antarctica is on average the coldest, driest and windiest continent, yet we’d be going in it’s summer though this is not to say it wouldn’t get cold there. Argentina on the other hand would likely be warm, though would have the chance of being wet so the packing had to take into account both of these and the fact that for internal flights we’d be charged for each kilo over their 15Kg limit.

In terms of equipment I’d be packing:

  • Canon EOS 5D mk2
  • Canon EOS 5D mk3
  • Canon 28-135mm lens
  • Sigma 150-500mm lens
  • iPad
  • Trip paperwork
  • Raspberry Pi + Card reader (for photo backups)
  • Lenspen, air blower, and cloth for cleaning equipment
  • Charger for iPhone and iPad
  • Earphones
  • USB Camera adapter for iPad
  • iPod Shuffle
  • Audio adapter for airplane
  • 5x 16Gb Compactflash cards, and 1x 8Gb (totalling 88Gb)
  • 3 x 32Gb SD card for backups
  • Camera batteries x 5
  • ND x8 Filter
  • Remote shutter release cable (connects to iPhone)

I had decided that it wouldn’t be necessary to take any macro lenses so would be leaving them behind with both of my Flash guns. In addition to the equipment would be the usual clothes, etc. that would be required for different environments. I’d also make sure my iPad was loaded up with a few eBooks ready for plenty of time for reading.

With everything planned it was then only a matter of waiting, counting down the days until Christmas and the start of the expedition.