Adventures in Flying To Antarctica – Part 2

Continuing from Part 1 where I attempted to fly to Antarctica with Quark Expeditions. Once my trip was canceled, I rebooked my flights back home and continued to look for other cruises and flights leaving for Antarctica within the next few days. I had done so much planning for this trip, including buying a bunch of warm layers, ski goggles, and much more. I had packed, weighed, repacked, and was mentally all set to go to my 7th continent.

A Sign of Hope

There it was! An email from Quark Expeditions saying there was 1 spot open on the trip leaving in 2 days. It was the same Fly-Cruise 8-day itinerary I was originally scheduled for. I decided to give it another shot.

So I stayed at my hotel for the next 48 hours, completing my assignments and cancelling all my scheduled meetings and trips.

Quark Expeditions Itinerary before flying to Antartica
Quark Expeditions Itinerary

Early Departure

The next day I got an email at midnight from the Quark Expedition coordinators saying that we would be departing earlier than scheduled on our flight to KGI. Instead of having an orientation, dinner and night’s sleep in Punta Arenas, passengers will head straight to the airport.

People who were scheduled to arrive later in the evening were summoned to arrive by 4pm.

Sure enough, a new set of passengers (who I had yet to meet) gathered in the lobby with their luggage and we rushed to the airport. Unlike the previous trip, friendships had not been forged yet and people were still jet lagged coming in from different countries.

Boarding Antarctic Airways from Punta Arenas, Chile i order to fly to antarctica
Boarding Antarctic Airways from Punta Arenas, Chile

Off We Go!

Though there were 40 mph winds in Punta Arenas when we took off, everything went smoothly this time around. There were no delays or hesitations. The flight was smooth and the landing uneventful.

Cold and windy at King George Island, Antarctica
Cold and windy at King George Island, Antarctica

Landing at King George Island

Arriving at KGI was surreal. There was ice, snow, black rocks, and barren fields. At 10pm, it was still daylight but the wind was strong and cold, numbing me instantly. It was hard to make the 1km walk from the airplane to the zodiacs, and then another short trip to the ship. At this moment, I felt lonely. I didn’t know anyone and was missing my husband.

Warm welcome on Ocean Adventurer
Warm welcome on Ocean Adventurer

Arriving on Ocean Adventurer

Our ship looked warm and inviting. The crew was gathered in the lobby to welcome us with refreshments and friendly smiles. The passengers arrived on 2 flights and a number of zodiacs.

Premium cabin on the Ocean Adventurer
Premium cabin on the Ocean Adventurer

Once we settled in with cups of soups and teas, we got a brief orientation and ship drill, before we retired into our cabins for our first night in after our adventures of flying to Antarctica.

Champagne and a personal card for my roommate and me after flying to antarctica
Champagne and a personal card for my roommate and me

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Sucheta Rawal

Sucheta is an award winning food and travel writer, who has traveled to over 90 countries across 7 continents. She is also the founder and editor of 'Go Eat Give' and author of 'Beato Goes To' series of children's books on travel.