Travel tips Drake Passage, Antarctica | Photo courtesy of Aah-Yeah, Flickr

Published on March 13th, 2014 | by Geckos Tales Team

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CROSSING THE DRAKE: RITE OF PASSAGE OR WATER TORTURE?

Read time: a bit over 1 minute

Drake Passage, Antarctica | Photo courtesy of Aah-Yeah, Flickr

While some people fly directly to King George Island and avoid the possibility of a Drake Passage chunder-fest (cheaters), most folk travel to Antarctica aboard a hardy vessel that leaves from the southern tip of South America, potentially exposing themselves to some good, old-fashioned water torture.

One thing about the Drake is that it’s unpredictable. It’s entirely possible to make the 2-3 day crossing in completely calm seas. If this happens to you, count yourself lucky and enjoy your sweet, blessed Dramamine-free days aboard SS Lucky Star. The conditions you get are wildly different on any day of the week –  depending on the weather you could end up cruising ‘Drake Lake’ with a gin and tonic in hand, or being rattled in the House of Pain.

So why is this part of the world known for frequently kicking up some of the roughest seas on earth? Well, this is best explained by Drake’s Theorem (something we just made up):

Gale force winds + 600 x the amount of water in the Amazon + Antarctic Circumpolar Current = One humdinger of a white knuckle ride

But despite all the fear-inducing yarns, tall tales of bravado, and people talking smack about the Drake, in most cases these days the worst things that happen on a Drake Crossing are spilled drinks, awkward lurches into a complete strangers at the breakfast buffet, an embarrassingly bad miss at the toilet bowl, and a day or two of missed eating opportunities – a remarkably small price to pay for an unforgettable travel date with the Ice Queen, Antarctica.

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About the Author

We run awesome trips around the world. But when we're not on the road, we're sitting here and writing loads of travel-related insights, tips, information and advice. Geckos Tales is your go-to source for whenever you need to find something out about pretty much anything.



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