Antarctica, Off The Beaten Track Expedition

Antarctica, Off The Beaten Track Expedition

Courtesy of International Ice Swimming Association, Antarctica.

The International Ice Swimming Association is hosting its inaugural event in the ultimate Down Under, the IISA Ice KM Swim in Antarctica.

For 13 days between November 7th-19th 2018, Ram Barkai and Dr. Sean Gottschalk will lead an expedition of adventurers and experienced ice swimmers from Ushuaia, Argentina on the ice-strengthened MV Akademik loffe to the northern coastline of Antarctica Peninsula.

Ice swimmers from around the world have already started to sign up in order to participate in the ICE KM Swim Event. The 1 km swim in the waters off the Antarctic mainland will be limited to 12-16 swimmers. In addition to the swimming portion of the expedition, participants will be able to camp out on the icy polar landscape, go sea kayaking, taken a ski tour, head off zodiac cruising, and travel on dryland via walking, hiking or snowshoeing during 7 days of dryland activities.

Participants will enjoy close-up encounters with penguins, seals and whales, be able to enjoy Antarctica’s majestic mountains and ice, listen to lectures from onboard lecturers and specialists among fewer than 100 passengers.

Barkai will serve as the Swimming Expedition Leader and Race Director with the assistance of Dr. Gottschalk who specializes in trauma, hypothermia and recovery as a specialist emergency physician. He has accompanied Lewis Pugh on his Mount Everest swim at 5,200 meters, ice swimmers in their Lesotho Mountain ice swim in South Africa, and Madswimmer in their high-altitude swim in Chile at 5,909 meters.

The Antarctica Off The Beaten Track Expedition itinerary includes the following:

Day 1 in Ushuaia, Argentina
Set off and sail through the Beagle Channel.

Days 2-3 in the Drake Passage
Listen to presentations by polar experts and educational professionals on Antarctic wildlife and history, first aid and snow safety. Cross the Antarctic Convergence while seeing icebergs and whales.

Days 4-10 in the Antarctic Peninsula
Explore Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay, Petermann Island via Zodiacs to observe wildlife and go snowshoeing, sea kayaking and ski touring. During this time, the team leaders will scout and decide upon the exact location for the inaugural Antarctic ICE KM Swim where each swimmer will be accompanied by a Zodiac with expedition and medical staff while being filmed and timed by International Ice Swimming Association officials. Spectators can observe from the ship, Zodiacs, kayaks, or from shore.

The IISA ICE KM Swim requires passing a medical test and will have 3-4 heats of 4 swimmers each with a cut-off time of 25 minutes. The safety and swim logistics will be provided by the team leaders, ship’s crew, and physicians.

Days 11-12 in the Drake Passage
After participating in additional adventure options including overnight kayaking and camping, travel back across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn and sailing up the Beagle Channel.

Day 13 in Ushuaia, Argentina
Scheduled to arrive in the early morning to begin the travel back home.

Prices per individual range from US$7,750 (twin or triple accommodations with share facilities) to US$10,950 (twin accommodations with private facilities) to US$15,250 (Ocean Suite). Deposits required by October 31st 2017. After this date, prices increase by US$1,000.

The package includes voyage and accommodation on board, all meals, snacks, coffee and tea throughout the voyage aboard the ship, use of onboard expedition rubber boots and wet weather gear, shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac and guided hikes/walks, expert supervision and guidance for all adventure option activities, such as kayaking, skiing or the Antarctic Ice Swim, educational presentations and leadership by experienced expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff, access to on-board multimedia room and download stations, an emergency-trained English-speaking physician, and all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges.

Reservations prior to October 31st 2017 require a 10% deposit. On or after October 31st, a deposit of 20% is due. Reservations within 120 days of departure require full payment. Balances are due 120 days prior to departure.

The expedition vessel is the M/V Akademik Ioffe that was designed for polar research. The Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. The public spaces onboard the ship are suitable for small group sessions to briefings for all passengers. It has a bar, a lounge where movies and documentaries are shown, a library, a large dining room, a presentation room, gift shop, fitness room, massage room, sauna and pool.

Reservations can be made via Rakstavägen 2, 135 67 Tyresö Sweden; telephone: +46 76 212 8858 or or Swim-related questions should be directed to Ram Barkai, International Ice Swimming Association, at telephone: +27 (82) 656-8909 or or

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Steven Munatones