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I was there in February with my late wife. In the time we were there we had all 4 seasons. One day blowing snow, another warm enough to use the hot tubs.
Suggestion: go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy a pair of cement boots. You will need these for walking through the penguin poop. The lower picture is the boot washing station.
Retired Jan 2009 Have not looked back.
WR 2% SI 2SS & 2 Pensions
I went in late January. Weather was great. One rainy/sleety day but otherwise fine to be outdoors every day.
Regarding bringing boots, I bought the suggested rubber boots, and then found out that my ship had dozens of pairs left behind by other passengers. Worth asking before you buy a pair.
One other key point. The size of your ship matters. There are rules about how many passengers can be ashore at a time. On a large ship, you will have to wait your turn. On my small ship they could land every passenger (35-40) at the same time.
We used Aurora Expeditions out of Ushuaia, and were very happy with our choice. Expert biology/wildlife guides, but not too expensive because they kept the food and cabins basic.
I went during the end of January, and it was mostly not too cold. On deck at night, I'm glad to have had head, ear, and hand coverings. But most of the other times, it wasn't such a big deal to cover everything.
The picture of fellow passengers on deck was during the crossing of the Drake.
The picture taken on an aft deck of the Marco Polo was about 10pm, near Port Lockeroy. I don't think we lingered out there a real long time, but it was not brutal, or my Dad would have gone for his big red coat, lol!
On the extreme end, the least bundled up was the day my BIL and I went swimming at Deception Island. My Dad drew the line there, and didn't get in the water.
I went early January. That year had a lot of ice so a couple of routes were not open and we had to detour out to sea. But the weather was great (for Antarctica). Hovered just above freezing, no storms, and little precipitation.
Regarding the cruise line, be aware that there are treaty limits about how many people can go ashore at a time, so the larger the ship, the less time you have among the penguins. On the other hand, if you tend to get seasick, larger ships give you a smoother trip across the Drake Passage. Also, for a smoother trip and to save money, book a room on a lower deck. You can go upstairs for the view, and with the long days you will be happy that your cabin only has a small porthole that is easily covered so you can get some sleep.
Best time in my view is January. Reason being the breeding cycle of the penguins, and you are in the heart of the summer.
If you go, go on a small ship with at most 100 passengers (preferably a bit less). Reason being that because of conservation treaties at most 100 people at the same time are allowed on a landing site.
There are a handful operators that have these ships. Usually they are ex-science expedition ships retrofitted for tourism. Most go from Ushuaia, some from New Zealand. Most operators have the same formula: knowledgeable scientifically schooled staff, a few logistics people running the team and a low cost technical crew (including captain) to operate the ship itself.
Every trip is different, and heavily weather dependent. Don't be afraid of fitness requirements, I've seen 80 year olds and people with one leg doing fine boarding and unboarding a Zodiac.
Go at least 10 days, drake's passage is a two day crossing and mostly unruly ocean. 14 days would be nice to see the peninsula and most wildlife.
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