Liveaboard Diving in South Georgia
What to expect on a South Georgia Liveaboard.
South Georgia, along with the smaller Sandwich Islands, is located in the southern part of the Atlantic Ocean. The island group is a British overseas territory. It is also a remote destination that sees very few visitors. A luxury liveaboard to South Georgia lets you experience the wonders of one of the world’s undiscovered and unspoilt destinations whilst also enjoying varied activities such as polar diving, ice diving, wildlife watching, and diverse shore excursions.
Your diving experiences may well see you exploring sections of water that have never previously been dived by people! You’ll likely encounter an array of interesting creatures, big and small, including seals, sea worms, fish, isopods, and nudibranches, as well as underwater flora. The area has several sea caves too.
The bird life, including different species of penguins, provides plenty of wildlife to look at out of the water, and the splendid scenic views are sure to linger in your mind for a long after your South Georgia cruise has ended.
Tread the same paths that Ernest Shackleton once walked along, and see where the famous British explorer was buried. You will also have the chance to visit a whaling museum and abandoned settlements. There are so many adventures to enjoy on an Antarctica liveaboard around South Georgia!
South Georgia expedition cruises typically also include other Antarctic destinations. A major reason to take a liveaboard trip is that many places in this part of the world would be impossible to access otherwise. Itineraries are generally for 20 days; this duration of time is needed to get to the more remote parts of your trip. You will enjoy the comforts and safety of an ice-strengthened craft.
South Georgia Underwater
February and March are generally the best times to enjoy a diving adventure with a South Georgia liveaboard cruise. The expedition season runs from November to March. February is one of the warmest months. February and March both offer good chances of spotting whales in the wild.
Dive Sites & Areas of South Georgia
Dive holidays to South Georgia visit several exciting destinations. Elsehul Bay is home to a large seal colony. Other hotspots for seeing wildlife include Salisbury Plain, St. Andrew’s Bay, Cooper Bay, Right Whale Bay, and Gold Harbour. Drygalski Fjord is great for observing various fauna and admiring pretty landscapes. Prion Island is known for its many albatrosses. Explore the same lands as Ernest Shackleton with a hike at Fortuna Bay and Stromness Bay. Visit the Whaling History Museum, a disused whaling settlement, and Shackleton’s final resting place at Grytviken.
Tips For Divers & Polar Diving Considerations
South Georgia diving holidays are accompanied by experienced dive masters and there is a doctor onboard the vessel. It is important that divers are aware, however, of the unique risks associated with polar diving. There are no decompression chambers in Antarctica, and emergency assistance can be at least several hours’ away.
Only experienced, confident, and competent divers can join dives in South Georgia. You will need to have prior experience of cold-water diving, with a substantial number of diving expeditions under your belt.
When it comes to equipment, you will need to take a dry diving suit, complete with a hood, gloves, and boots, as well as appropriate thermal under garments. You will also need snorkelling gear, such as a mask, fins, and snorkel. Weights are available on the boat, but you will need to take your own weight belt. Other items of equipment that you should take on your South Georgia liveaboard adventure include a torch, a knife, a compass, and a gauge / watch / computer. Do note that if you do not have the required experience and / or equipment that you will not be permitted to join dives.
Ensure that you take clothing that is suitable for cold temperatures, keeping in mind too that the temperature can drop significantly at nighttimes; take clothing that can be worn in layers. A waterproof jacket, cap, and sunscreen are also recommended.
English is widely spoken in the area as well as by the crew on your liveaboard. The currency in South Georgia is the pound sterling. If you plan to spend time in Ushuaia at the start or end of your trip, you will also need to have some Argentinean pesos.
Getting to South Georgia in Antarctica
Diving holidays to South Georgia generally depart from Ushuaia in Argentina. The city is served by a small airport –Malvinas Argentinas Ushuaia International Airport (USH). Flights are available to (and from) Ushuaia from various parts of Argentina as well as several other locations across South and North America. Many travellers for convenience, however, fly into Buenos Aires, the nation’s capital, and catch a domestic flight to Ushuaia from Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE), also known as Ezeiza International Airport.