Notes From the Field: Antarctica

August 2017

A&K Private Client Manager, Patrick Clementson spent his 2017 new year celebrations in Antarctica. Since joining A&K, some of his favourite experiences have been sailing down the Nile aboard the Sun Boat IV in Egypt, sunrise over the ancient city of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, tasting the street food of Hoi An in Vietnam as well as watching the sun rise (and set) over the Taj Mahal in India. He has also travelled by train to Machu Picchu, sailed the MV Aria on the Amazon River in Peru, enjoyed the food, wine and tango of Buenos Aires and visited Iguassu Falls on both sides. 

Recently he has visited India visiting the holy city of Varanasi and spent a week in search of tigers in central India. He has escorted our Hosted Journey to Ethiopia, visited the parks of Northern Tanzania including over a week in the Serengeti and of course, travelled to Antarctica over the new year.

Upon his return from the white continent, we asked Pat about his journey.


This was your first time in Antarctica, what were you expecting?

Rough Seas, cold weather and amazing wildlife and scenery.

What was your first impression?

Pulling back the curtains on Christmas morning to see a huge colony of hundreds of thousands of penguins was something I’ll remember forever.  No words can even go close to describing South Georgia Island.

Obviously there’s a lot of interest in what’s happening in the Polar Regions from a climate science perspective. Was that top of mind during the trip?

Yes lectures offered by the expedition staff were fantastic and really highlighted the immediate change this fragile environment faces with climate change. Overfishing is another issue that was something I hadn’t thought much about and it was really interesting to learn that we need to ask where our fish is coming from.

What wowed you?

Everything. South Georgia especially but the Antarctic Peninsula is simply amazing.

What made you laugh?

The Penguins – In Africa you can always watch a troupe of baboons and in Antarctica it’s the penguins.  Their behaviour is hilarious and watching them steal rocks from each other was pure comedy and they have so much personality.

Was there something about Antarctica or the trip as a whole you were not expecting?

I completely underestimated South Georgia Island.  So many people I know who have been have said it was a highlight but to actually stand and see the sheer scale of the wildlife populations was out of this world.

Looking back, what is your lasting personal impression of the Antarctic?

A must do on everyone’s bucket list!  And go soon before it’s too late.

What were the top 5 highlights of the trip?

- Celebrating New Year’s Eve under the midnight sun as we cruised the Lemaire Channel. We all joked that from now on all NYE parties are going to be a let down

- Stepping onto the fast ice in Wilhelmina Bay on New Year’s Day – with the obligatory A&K Champagne Bar of course!

- Whales. So many Humpbacks plus Orcas, Minke, Pilot and Fin whales.  Eight different types to be exact!   

- Our Lone Emperor Penguin

- South Georgia – So much wildlife and incredible landscapes

Was there a person/people you met who transformed your experience?

Captain Garcia – his enthusiasm was infectious and we all looked forward to his many hilarious announcements!

Did you learn something special or interesting?

Absolutely, the A&K Expedition Team were all brilliant, engaging and had so many years of experience, It was a privilege for us to be in Antarctica with them and whilst they had all been to the destination so many times their passion and knowledge was evident and it was clear that this was so much more than just a job for all of them.

As our cruise included Christmas and the New Year it was a dedicated family departure and to have families on-board only added to the atmosphere. Quite a few of the adults were envious of the children’s programme – where else in the world can you drive a zodiac in Antarctic waters?

What advice would you give to a prospective traveller?

Don’t hesitate! You won’t be disappointed.

Did you have a special meal/tour/activity/sightseeing experience?

We were treated to so many special meals that we were completely spoilt.

Did you buy something special to bring home?

There wasn’t a lot of shopping on this trip but our postcards made it home all the way from the Falkland Islands.

For more information on A&K's Antarctica journeys, click here.

To download A&K's Luxury Polar Expidition Cruises brochure, click here.