Polar Kayaking

There is no better means of exploring the rocky shores, scattered icebergs and glaciers of the polar wilderness, than by gently moving through the icy waters in a kayak. Such tranquil exploration, in tune with the surrounding nature invites a close approach to bird-laden headlands or a busy penguin colony. With only the noise of your own paddle lapping the water you can glide past sleeping seals on the ice flow and perhaps marvel at tail flukes on the horizon.

Aqua-Firma Director, Ralph Pannell kayaking in Spitsbergen

These are some of the most extreme locations on the planet and kayaking in Antarctica or the Arctic offers a totally unique experience that is undoubtably a once in a lifetime opportunity for most.  Kayaking in polar waters is not for novices, but nor do you need to be a professional. A good basic kayak experience is required and physical fitness is important. Basic skills should include normal handling of a kayak in moderate weather and sea conditions. If you have any questions about the required skills please contact us.
All activities are under the leadership of two highly qualified instructors with a zodiac safety boat in constant communication.


In the Arctic, kayaking generally takes place in protected fjords and along coastal areas, therefore the waves and swell are light.

In Antarctica you will be kayaking in areas surrounded by sea ice, which provide shelter and maintain calm sea conditions.

Pre departure Preparation

Whatever experience you may have, it is wise to brush up on you kayak skills before you depart. We will assume you are familiar with getting in and out of the kayaks safely and that you are comfortable with making an emergency exit in the water and have the correct Equipment and Clothing with you, as listed here.

Kayaking in Antarctica - Troels Jacobsen

Trip Reviews
"One big highlight was Paradise Harbour. We paddled again as the conditions were perfect. Our whole group were lost for words. There was silence as we paddled around the harbour. We heard parts of the glacier breaking and saw parts fall into the sea. Then we herd the unmistakable sound of a blowhole! It was incredible, there were two humpbacks really close to us. They were resting with their dorsal fins out of the water and then went for a little swim. On the paddle back to the boat we saw two more humpbacks. One of them was enormous and swam right under our kayak!!! It was a phenomenal experience. The scenery and the animals - just breathtaking!"

Gabi & David Dubuis, Antarctic Peninsula & Weddell Sea

Please contact us for details about polar voyages in which we can incorporate sea kayaking into your polar voyage.

  • Kayaking in Baffin Island, Canadian High Arctic
  • Kayaking in Spitsbergen
  • Leopard Seal watching a kayaker in Antarctica
  • Aqua-Firma Director, Ralph Pannell kayaking in Spitsbergen
  • Walrus watching a kayaker in Spitsbergen - Ralph Pannell
  • Aqua-Firma Director, Ralph Pannell kayaking in Spitsbergen
  • Kayaking in Antarctica

Equipment & Clothing - Polar Kayaking

Frequently Asked Questions - Polar Kayaking

  • Kayaking in Antarctica
  • Kayaking with penguins in Antarctica - Daisy Gilardini
  • Kayaking in Spitsbergen
  • Kayaking & Photography in Spitsbergen
  • Kayaking with Guillemots in Spitsbergen - Ralph Pannell
  • Kayaking in Antarctica


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