Poseidon Expeditions - your polar cruise operator

Sea Kayaking

Imagine yourself floating amid icebergs, paddling pristine bays and exploring some of the most beautiful places on Earth at your own pace! Get close-up views of wildlife and immerse yourself fully into the breathtaking polar world from the comfort of your sturdy sea kayak. We guarantee that this will be one of the highlights on your polar expedition, but booking in advance is crucial. We keep our kayak groups small and it’s an all-time favorite for real expeditioners, so spots fill up very quickly. Depending on weather conditions you'll experience various guided sea kayaking adventures at the most scenic locations of your cruise, and we’ll provide all the equipment!

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Reasons to go sea kayaking 

  • Explore the most pristine places on Earth in a small group of like-minded kayakers

  • Enjoy the best opportunities for wildlife viewing

  • Stay active during your cruise

  • Feel the solitude and remoteness of the White Continent while paddling at your own pace

Sea kayaking details

Be ready to kayak!

Our kayaking instructors are very active and eager to get out whenever weather and sea conditions permit. After all, you want to make the most of it. Be prepared to be flexible and venture out whenever your instructors schedule a sea kayaking adventure so you don’t miss out on the experience of a lifetime.

All equipment provided.

We’ll take the burden off you to pack any extra gear and provide you with everything you need for your kayaking experience. All paddling gear (paddling suit, spray skirt, personal floating device/life jacket, booties and neoprene pogies) is included. We use only state-of-the art kayaks that are durable and extremely stable.

Average fitness level required.

You don’t have to be a world-class kayaker to join our group, but we’ll expect basic kayaking and paddling experience prior to your trip. Need to brush up on your skills? Just schedule a lesson or two before you leave for the Arctic or Antarctica to get back on track! You also have to be able to swim and to climb into your kayak. A good indicator for your fitness level is that you should be able to lift yourself by your own strength out of a swimming pool without using a ladder.

Safety first.

Our qualified instructors will ensure safety during the kayaking and help you board and de-board your kayak. You’ll also get a full briefing prior to your first outing and we’ll always have a safety boat close to our paddlers – just in case.

Reasons to go sea kayaking

Don’t fear the sea.

Sure, you’ve heard of the wild Drake Passage (we’ll be crossing it aboard our expedition ship, the Sea Spirit) and harsh conditions of the Southern Ocean surrounding the White Continent – but don’t worry! We’ll deploy our kayakers in protected bays where waters are calm. While you may encounter wind, moderate waves and swell, we won’t let you paddle in dangerous conditions! Water temperatures are usually around 0°C (32°F) and your dry suit and spray skirt will protect you from getting too wet.

Sometimes you’ll have to make a choice…

You’ll paddle while non-kayaking expeditioners engage in other activities such as shore landings and Zodiac cruising. Sometimes you’ll rejoin the group half-way through your daily adventures, but sometimes you’ll have to choose either to kayak or join the main group.

And finally...enjoy!

The opportunity to go kayaking is very exclusive, you’ll spend time in a small group of fellow paddlers and expeditioners that love adventures – just like yourself! You’ll get an experience that many others don’t, such as a close-up view of curious penguins jumping in and out of the water, a stunning maze of iceberg formations or simply a crystal clear ocean surface to glide through while taking the pictures of a lifetime.

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What will I see while kayaking?

Get ready for the best views of remote bays, pristine beaches, mesmerizing icebergs, mountain ranges and, of course, wildlife! It’s not unheard of that while you’re paddle along a calm shore a penguin will dart out of the water to land right next to you on an ice floe! Your kayaking instructor will always be there to guide and instruct you on how to stay safe and ensure compliance with all IAATO guidelines on wildlife viewing.

What are the conditions like?

We won’t let you kayak the Drake Passage – that’s for sure. But once we reach the Antarctic Peninsula and placid bays of South Georgia Island, we’ll deploy our kayaks whenever weather conditions permit. Most of the times you’ll find yourself gliding on mirror-like water surfaces with penguins, seals and even whales swimming close by. Crystal-clear waters will allow you to spot them right from the kayak! Other days you may encounter minor challenges like moderate waves and a swell, but our kayak instructors will ensure that you’ll have a good and safe time out on the water.

Sea Kayaking is available on selected voyages of Sea Spirit to Antarctica and the Arctic. This is a limited-availability optional activity that has certain joining and membership requirements. Please see our How to Join and FAQ pages for more information.

How much does it cost to kayak in the polar regions?

Kayaking in Antarctica

Price for kayaking on our Antarctic cruises:
$795 - A$1075 - £610 - €760 on Antarctic Peninsula voyages
$895 - A$1210 - £690 - €855 on South Georgia and Falkland Islands voyages

Antarctica is a paddlers’ paradise. All Sea Kayaking participants will have the opportunity to paddle through tranquil waters filled with glittering icebergs and porpoising penguins while surrounded by magnificent glaciers and mountains.

Take a look below at our list of upcoming Antarctica voyages to discover when we offer this amazing adventure opportunity! Please contact our office for availability.

Destination Dates Days Activities Special offers Rates from
Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica
Antarctic Wildlife Adventure
02 Nov - 18 Nov 2024 17 Sea Kayaking Photography SPECIAL GUEST: RICK SAMMON
US$ 14 795
per person
Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica
Antarctic Wildlife Adventure
17 Nov - 07 Dec 2024 21 Sea Kayaking Photography
US$ 16 995
per person
Antarctic Peninsula
Realm of Penguins & Icebergs
06 Dec - 17 Dec 2024 12 Sea Kayaking Camping Photography
Sold out
Antarctic Peninsula
Christmas in Antarctica
16 Dec - 27 Dec 2024 12 Sea Kayaking Camping Photography
US$ 10 095
per person
Antarctic Peninsula
New Year in Antarctica
26 Dec - 06 Jan 2025 12 Sea Kayaking Camping Photography
US$ 10 595
per person
Falklands, South Georgia & Antarctica
Antarctic Wildlife Adventure
05 Jan - 25 Jan 2025 21 Sea Kayaking Photography
US$ 19 495
per person
Antarctic Circle
Crossing 66º South Latitude
24 Jan - 07 Feb 2025 15 Sea Kayaking Camping Photography
US$ 12 795
per person

Kayaking in the Arctic

Price for Arctic cruises 2019 & 2020:
$655 - A$885 - £505- €625

Sea Kayaking is typically offered on voyages that include High Arctic destinations such as Greenland, Svalbard (Spitsbergen), Franz Josef Land, or a combination of these thrilling places. Experience calving glaciers in Svalbard, cathedral-like icebergs in Greenland, or labyrinthine expanses of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean, all from our sturdy and stealthy sea kayaks. Join us for an unscripted kayaking adventure as we explore rugged coastlines and remote waters that very few people have ever paddled.

Take a look below at our list of upcoming Arctic voyages to discover when we offer this amazing adventure opportunity! Please contact our office for availability.

Destination Dates Days Activities Special offers Rates from
Svalbard & Polar Ice Edge
Best of Svalbard
05 Jul - 16 Jul 2024 12 Sea Kayaking Photography
US$ 9 195
per person
Svalbard Circumnavigation and Kvitøya
In-Depth Exploration in the Land of the Polar Bear
15 Jul - 28 Jul 2024 14 Sea Kayaking Photography
US$ 10 695
per person
Svalbard & NE Greenland National Park
Icebergs, Fjords, Polar bears and Arctic wildlife
08 Aug - 21 Aug 2024 14 Sea Kayaking Photography 25% OFF LAST-MINUTE DEAL SPECIAL GUEST: KARI HERBERT
US$ 10 395
US$ 7 796
per person
Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland
Arctic Odyssey
20 Aug - 02 Sep 2024 14 Sea Kayaking Photography
Sold out
East Greenland
Arctic Sights and Northern Lights
01 Sep - 11 Sep 2024 11 Sea Kayaking Photography LAST-MINUTE DEAL 25% OFF
US$ 7 095
US$ 5 321
per person
East Greenland
Arctic Sights and Northern Lights
10 Sep - 20 Sep 2024 11 Sea Kayaking Photography
US$ 7 095
per person
Best of British Isles
Best of British Isles
06 May - 18 May 2025 13 Photography Sea Kayaking SUPER EARLY BIRD SAVINGS UP TO 20% OFF*
US$ 6 195
US$ 5 266
per person
Destination Dates Days Activities Special offers Rates from
Nothing found.

If you enjoy sea kayaking, then don’t miss your chance to join our Kayaking adventure on one of our incredible Arctic or Antarctica voyages. Please read on to discover how you can secure your spot on this extraordinary journey!

Sea Kayaking is offered to adult kayakers who are ready to put their skills to the test in an extreme environment. Members must be in good health, have appropriate physical fitness, have previous kayaking experience, and be in command of the English language. More information about membership requirements can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Space in Sea Kayaking is limited to 8 kayakers per voyage in the Arctic and 16 kayakers per voyage in Antarctica. Kayaking is booked on a first-come, first-served basis. To secure your spot we recommend that you sign up at the time of booking your voyage. Please contact us to learn if there is availability in Sea Kayaking on the voyage of your choice. If there are no more places available for your voyage, you can opt to join a Waiting List.

Tips for Kayaking

To make the most of your kayaking outings, make sure you dress appropriately! While we’ll provide a dry suit, we’ll need you to dress in basic warm layers below. Thermal underwear is always a good idea (merino wool or synthetic materials, no cotton), add a warm second-layer made of wool or fleece to it and don’t forget your thick (e.g., wool) socks, gloves, mittens, hat and sunglasses. If you want to bring your camera, opt for a dry bag to keep it safe from damage.

Provided gear

  • We’ll provide our kayakers with the following sea kayak gear:

  • Durable, state-of-the-art sea kayaks (single or double)

  • Paddles and pogies (rubber mittens to wear over your gloves while paddling)

  • Dry suit and spray-skirt

  • PDF (personal flotation device)

  • Neoprene booties

  • 10 liter dry bag

  • Water bottle (provided to all passengers and will be in your room upon boarding)

Other recommended gear/clothing

What we strongly recommend you bring to complement your kayaking experience: Thermal underwear (merino wool, wool or synthetic, no cotton)

  • Sweater and pants (fleece or wool)

  • 2 pairs of socks: thin socks and thick wool socks on top

  • Gloves to wear under your pogies

  • Warm hat (and optional balaclava)

  • Sunglasses & sunscreen

Complete rules and detailed information about Sea Kayaking can be viewed and downloaded here:

Sea Kayaking Booking Packet

We look forward to welcoming you!

Sea Kayaking is the option offered on selected Sea Spirit voyages with Poseidon Expeditions. Participants have the opportunity to experience the thrill and tranquility of kayaking in the polar regions as part of a guided paddling group. Sea Kayaking is a genuine small-group experience and a memorable adventure in a unique and stunning wilderness setting.

Totally amazing. Words are insufficient to describe it. The Arctic and Antarctica offer some of the most interesting, demanding and rewarding sea kayaking opportunities on the planet. If you enjoy kayaking, then sea kayaking in the polar regions is an experience not to be missed. However, contrary to what some people say, it is not “the only way to experience the polar regions”. Whatever way you choose to experience these incredible places, it will be totally amazing.

Sea Kayaking is designed for recreational sea kayakers who are ready to challenge themselves in an extreme environment under the supervision of our professional sea kayak guides. With adequate preparation, just about anyone possessing a reasonable level of fitness and coordination, a positive and flexible attitude, and a passion for real adventure will find value in the program.

Sea Kayaking is limited to 8 participants per voyage in the Arctic and 16 participants in Antarctica.

Space in the program is limited, so to secure your spot we recommend that you sign up at the time of booking your voyage. The option can be added after booking your voyage, but there is the chance it will already be sold out by then.

Safety is our top priority. We have a comprehensive Risk Management Strategy that exceeds industry standards. An important component of this strategy is our policy requiring that kayakers meet certain fitness, health, experience, age and language requirements. However, we would be remiss not to mention that the polar regions are some of the most remote and inhospitable environments on Earth, and that sea kayaking is an inherently risky activity.

Sea kayaking in Antarctica is very safe if you follow all the rules and guidelines of our instructors. Prior to your first outing, our instructors will give you a comprehensive briefing to ensure everyone is ready to go. You’ll get all the necessary equipment to have a safe and enjoyable adventure. We provide you with state-of-the-art gear and durable kayaks and advise you how to appropriately dress for the experience. And just in case, we’ll always have a Zodiac boat following our kayaking club if any of our paddlers need assistance.

Sea kayaking is a physical activity that requires strength and stamina. Therefore, Sea Kayaking participants are expected to be reasonably fit. As a general rule, anyone who engages regularly in physical outdoor activities, such as hiking and paddling, will meet the requirement. As a practical test, make sure you have the strength and agility to lunge yourself out of a pool without the use of a ladder. You must also be able to swim.

Good health is necessary for your safety and enjoyment in Sea Kayaking. If you have any of the medical conditions or problems listed in our “Medical Information Form”, please get a statement from your doctor indicating that you are able safely to engage in sea kayaking activities. For more information, please see the Sea Kayaking Terms and Conditions, available on our How to Join page.

You do not need to be a professional kayaker to join our Sea kayaking in Antarctica, but we do require that you are physically fit enough to climb in and out of your kayak and that you have some prior experience with paddling and kayaking. After all, you’re joining a group and we need to ensure that you can keep up with the others.

All participants are expected to come with at least some relevant kayaking experience. By “relevant” we do not necessarily mean experience kayaking on the sea. Rather we simply mean experience in a sea kayak, even if it was in fresh water. A “sea kayak” is a sit-inside kayak where you wear a spray skirt to prevent water from entering your cockpit - as opposed to a “sit-on-top” kayak or canoe. You do not necessarily need to have experience on coastal waters or in rough conditions. We simply expect you to be familiar and confident with paddling a sea kayak. If you feel safe and confident in a sea kayak, and you genuinely enjoy paddling for its own sake, then you are ready for Sea Kayak Club. Even still, it cannot hurt to get more experience. The more skill and experience you have, the more you will get out of your adventure with us.

We recommend, regardless of your previous experience, that you refresh and improve your skills by taking sea kayaking lessons appropriate to your level. Practice basic paddle strokes and make sure you can perform an emergency “wet exit” if the need arises. Learning self-rescue techniques will boost your confidence, but we do not require you to have these skills. You do not need to know how to perform a roll.

If you have no kayaking experience at the time of your booking, you will need to acquire some before you join us. If you are reasonably fit and in good health, then you should be able to meet the experience requirement quickly. The quickest and most effective way to gain experience and skills is to take sea kayaking lessons. Be sure to learn basic paddle strokes and how to perform an emergency “wet exit”. The more experience you get, the more you will enjoy your time with us.

Sea Kayaking is conducted in English only. For the safety and enjoyment of the entire group, it is required that all participants be able to understand and respond to kayaking instructions in English.

Sea Kayaking participants must be at least 16 years old at the time of their voyage. Children who are under age 18 at the time of their voyage are allowed to participate in Sea Kayaking only if they are accompanied and supervised at all times during kayaking activities by a parent or representative as per Poseidon Expeditions’ Child Policy.

The number of kayaking opportunities on your voyage will depend on the itinerary, as well as weather and ice conditions. Your expedition leader and kayak guides will determine which excursions are appropriate for kayaking based on observed and expected conditions, site suitability and other factors. A reasonable expectation would be around three to five opportunities during your voyage, but there are no guarantees.

Paddling times and distances vary between voyages and between excursions. On any given kayaking session you will be on the water for between one and three hours and you may paddle as many as six nautical miles (10 kilometers). Our purpose will not be to paddle a marathon, but the more we paddle the more we will see and experience. Your kayak guides will discuss anticipated times and distances prior to each paddling excursion. However, your kayak adventures may end up being unscripted and spontaneous, depending on ice, weather and wildlife.

Sea kayaking is a great way to experience ice in the polar regions. On most of our polar voyages ice is encountered as a matter of course, especially in Antarctica. However, be aware that ice is not encountered in the Falkland Islands and only rarely around South Georgia Island. If you are interested in seeing large icebergs, then the Antarctic Peninsula, as well as Greenland, will likely have what you are looking for. Spitsbergen does not have many large icebergs but it is a place where you may see calving glaciers and sea ice.

Icebergs and glaciers are spellbinding natural features of incredible beauty. They can also be deceptively enormous and highly unstable. Despite their apparent serenity and repose, they present the most formidable hazard encountered by sea kayakers in the polar regions. Therefore, there will be strict limits on how close you are allowed to approach icebergs and glaciers. Staying safe around ice is a matter of careful judgment which will be the responsibility of your kayak guides. You will be required to stay with your paddling group and to obey all instructions given by your guides. All that being said, you do not have to be very close to these features to appreciate their immensity and otherworldly beauty. You will get plenty close enough.

One of the objectives of Sea Kayaking is to encounter unique polar wildlife in its natural habitat. Seeing a whale or other marine mammal from a kayak is an unforgettable experience. However, kayakers do not necessarily get closer to wildlife than do other cruise passengers. The chances of having a close encounter with a whale or seal are about the same whether you are in a kayak or in a Zodiac. Kayakers simply tend to have more intimate and personal experiences. Kayakers are required to follow IAATO / AECO guidelines concerning distances to wildlife. Under no circumstances will we approach a polar bear in the water.

You will be required to stay with your paddling group. Together we will have the freedom to explore a wide area and to take advantage of good kayaking locations and conditions that may exist away from the ship. We realize that solitude and quietude are important aspects of the paddling experience for many kayakers. When deemed safe and appropriate by your guides, you may be given leave to venture farther away from the group. In addition, on various other occasions, “quiet time” will be established so that everyone can appreciate the remarkable peace and quiet of the polar wilderness.

Sea kayaking is offered at the same time as other activities, such as Zodiac cruising and shore landings. Occasionally kayaking can be combined with these activities; other times you will have a choice to make. On excursions where it is offered, kayaking is optional to each participant individually. Your kayak guides will hold pre-excursion meetings to help you choose your activity, with the aim that over the course of the voyage you will achieve your preferred balance of shore landings, Zodiac cruises, and kayaking sessions.

Paddling conditions will vary. Calm conditions are likely to exist in some of the protected bays and fjords we visit. However, it is also possible to encounter strong winds and seas with moderate chop and swell. Water and air temperatures will both be around 0°C (32°F). Kayaking will not be initiated if conditions seem to pose an unacceptable risk, but in the polar regions there is always the possibility of rough weather developing suddenly and without warning while you are out on the water.

Participants use Prijon Excursion EVO double sea kayaks with rudder steering. These tough, stable kayaks are ideal for occasional rough conditions and paddling through brash ice.

Sea kayaking will give you a unique perspective from which to capture incredible photos of polar scenery and wildlife. You will be provided with a small waterproof dry bag so you can take your compact digital camera with you kayaking. Large SLR cameras are cumbersome to carry and difficult to keep dry inside a kayak, and are therefore not recommended for use while kayaking. If you have a small waterproof camera, consider bringing a pole attachment that allows you to operate your camera underwater while keeping your hands dry.

You will have many chances to take photos from your kayak, but please keep in mind that the best use of your camera will be to record the adventure and to capture magnificent moments as they come. There will be plenty of time to organize professional photo opportunities during your voyage while on the ship, on shore or on a Zodiac cruise.

Each part of the Antarctica season has something special to offer kayakers. The early summer months (November and December) see the most ice. The late summer months (January and February) are the best months to see whales. Inclement weather in March can make for less frequent kayaking, but the whale watching is at its prime. Seals and penguins can be encountered all season.

Sea kayaking in the Arctic is equally amazing all season long (May through September).

All passengers on Sea Spirit voyages to the Arctic and Antarctica must purchase travel medical insurance, which should include emergency evacuation and repatriation. We recommend coverage of at least USD 200,000. Passengers participating in Sea Kayaking must ensure that their policy does not exclude adventure activities like kayaking.

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