We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

The Drake Passage

Boston...
Destination Expert
for Walt Disney World, Orlando, Antarctic Adventures
Level Contributor
9,606 posts
181 reviews
Save Topic
The Drake Passage

I am looking to travel to Antarctica later this year and I wondered if anyone could give me an idea of how rough the Drake Passage can be. Is it constant pitching for 2 days or just some rough patches? Also would getting sea-sickness pills from the doctor be sufficient to deal with this? Thank you in advance!

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
Level Contributor
16,821 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: The Drake Passage

It is renowned for being one of two things - the Drake Shake (good and rocky) or the Drake Lake (boring and flat).

No one can predict which you will get as its all in the lap of Mother Nature.

If you already suffer from sea sickness then you should speak with your doctor about what works best for you and the general recommendation is you start taking it the morning before you board - don't wait until you are out there on the sea.

Depending on who you are travelling with you may have a doctor on board. Quark has doctors on all their ships and they were kept busy doling out fernergan injections left and right.

One thing the chef on my ship recommended and was busy feeding all the sick folk - chocolate covered pretzels and potato chips. She learned it in a cooking science medical study. Something about helping raise the bodies blood pressure assisting with the nausea.

As I don't suffer the malady I didn't test her theory but many of the others did and said she was right. It was exactly what they needed.

London, United...
Level Contributor
33,418 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: The Drake Passage

I wouldn't worry about it. It might be flat calm and you would have worried for nothing.

See your doc for sea-sickness advice and take something along in case you need it.

We are all different. I was on a boat hit by a hurricane-force storm, and, like about 20% of the passengers, , was fine. However, the weather is usually never the same for more than a few hours.

Toronto
Level Contributor
179 posts
85 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: The Drake Passage

Our crossing over was the Drake Lake and returning was considered moderately rough (8 meter seas). Before we left I looked at videos on You Tube so I would get an idea of what a rough crossing looked like. I don't suffer from seasickness but I didn't want to be scared....it really helped me. We had patches which we wore going and coming and back up Gravol. I was on a Quark ship and the doctor was busy on the return.....it was rough for about 18 hours during which time about half of people came to meals (although the turn out for the free happy hour was higher!). One thing to mention - for us the greater risk was of injury - when it's rough you have to be careful walking around. A few people took some spills, but no injuries. All worth it!!

Salisbury, United...
Level Contributor
10,152 posts
150 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: The Drake Passage

Also have a cabin as near to the middle of the ship and not high up. This is where there is less movement, that's what I was told by a ships purser.

West Midlands...
Level Contributor
120 posts
41 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: The Drake Passage

Smudge99 is right. If you're bothered about sea sickness then choose a cabin as low down and as near to the middle as you can. I always think its ironic that the most expensive cabins are usually higher up!

I went to Antarctica 2 years ago and took ginger tablets to counteract sea sickness. Ginger is well known to counteract nausea - pregnant women are sometimes advised to eat ginger biscuits! I didn't want to be dosed up with chemicals if I could avoid it, though I did also take some traditional remedies in case things got really bad. They didn't!

The reality is that the Southern Ocean has the roughest seas in the world - something to do with the convergence of three oceans I think. But as PerfectlyPert says, it can be as flat as a millpond. We had the Drake Lake version for most of our journey, which was oddly disappointing, though some people still managed to be seasick anyway. People vary hugely in their susceptibility. If you know that you are vulnerable, then definitely consult your doctor. But whatever happens, just keep in mind that it is all so, so worth it!

Boston...
Destination Expert
for Walt Disney World, Orlando, Antarctic Adventures
Level Contributor
9,606 posts
181 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: The Drake Passage

I guess I am lucky in that the cabin I am in is indeed in the lowest passenger deck and in the middle next to the mudroom for Zodiac landings. Just concerned as I have never actually been on a cruise, longest on a boat is probably 3 hours at a time on outside "touristy" boats (catamaran to the great barrier reef, fun boat in hawaii) so I was always in full view of the horizon which I heard helps. Never had seasickness, but I heard once you start feeling it its too late so I would rather just take the stuff and never feel it. Hopefully its not an issue and the only thing I have to worry about is not falling out of bed if it is that rough haha.

London, United...
Level Contributor
33,418 posts
76 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: The Drake Passage

Antarctica was my first cruise. I wasn't sick. I belive looking at the horizon helps.

Many people on the cruise had been on dozens of previous cruises and were sick.

The issue was this was an OCEAN. No land for the entire latitude! Many experienced cruisers had never been away from the coast, or had always sailed in sheltered seas.

Cava De' Tirreni...
Level Contributor
22 posts
63 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: The Drake Passage

There's a company that includes the flight from King George Island to Punta Arenas (Chile). In this way you only cross once the Drake Passage.

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Perth, Antarctic Adventures
Level Contributor
16,821 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: The Drake Passage

Several expedition teams now offer fly cruises - some are doing both ways do no Drake at all (total waste to me to miss experiencing it).

Quark/Peregrine have some fly cruises in their current schedule.

Annapolis, Maryland
Level Contributor
7 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: The Drake Passage

I went in early Feb. 2011 and got the "Drake Lake" experience. It was perfect. I tend not to get seasick but it's still hard being on a ship that's bucking.