How we got married by a penguin in Antarctica

We discovered ourselves on a brilliant sunny Tuesday morning in a Zodiac boat, being delayed by three humpback whales on our approach to say our vows.

I’ll be trustworthy; this was not my concept. We had booked a marriage ceremony ceremony in Bristol adopted by dinner with associates. I don’t have anyplace close to sufficient creativeness to consider one thing as epic as getting married in Antarctica. But Alex, our pal, arrange a journey of a lifetime heading south, actually far south, to get married. Thanks Alex!

We set sail for Antarctica from a small scruffy city in southern Argentina referred to as Ushuaia. The most southerly port city in the world. From there it’s a two day sail to the Antarctic peninsular. This sail can both be tough as Poseidon’s fury or calm as a mill pond. We had it someplace in between, and the vessel we sailed on, the Hebridean Sky had cutting-edge stabilisers, which meant we had a fairly easy crossing regardless of some velocity bumps alongside the way in which.


Arriving into Antarctica, particularly if the solar is shining, is like arriving nowhere else on the planet. It’s like diamonds, and ice cream, and your finest ever Alpine vacation. Breathtaking. Our captain turned the Hebridean Sky to Starboard and we headed immediately for the Neumayer channel, a slender stretch of water with mountains reaching straight up a thousand meters from the icy seawater.

As we sailed additional south via the channel we ticked off a bunch of firsts, our first humpback, our first Fin whale, our first penguins, our first sea ice, our first iceberg. The record was as thrilling because the air was chilly.

Kayaking through ice in the Antartica
Kayaking via brash ice

We had opted to kayak, and should you ever determine to go to Antarctica and a kayaking possibility is on the market to you, take it. Pulling paddles via glassy water nonetheless water speckled with brash ice, humpbacks blowing simply yards away, and water so clear you may see flying penguins darting under you, is a reminiscence that you’ll regale at dinner events for years to come back.

The silence that kayaks supply over the motorised zodiac boats, and the liberty to decelerate and breath in the frigid air, is definitely worth the effort. The Kayaking instructors had been glorious, stuffed with data, guaranteeing our paddle complimented the vivid recollections we had been making, and expertly answering any questions we had, while guaranteeing we had been secure, even when a humpback cruised proper beneath us.

Ultimately we would find yourself utilizing our kayaks as our marriage ceremony chariots, with a massive JUST MARRIED poster taped to the facet of it.

Our marriage ceremony day was superior. Most peoples’ is, however ours, actually, actually was superior. The Hebridean Sky is a vessel operated by an American firm referred to as Polar Latitudes who fuse luxurious and journey completely.

So, our marriage ceremony day began with a breakfast match for kings and queens. After breakfast, we wandered again to our suite and became our heat garments prepared for the day forward. I slipped on a shirt and bow tie underneath my jacket, and Tara a fairly white jumper.

Next on the agenda, a citizen science undertaking, the place we took water samples which measured some chemical substances launched by Krill, the objective to find a but undiscovered reality about how humpbacks discover their meals. Fascinating stuff.

The Kayaks after all awaited, and a paddle out into the nice and cozy sunshine, yielded humpback sightings so shut that our teacher instructed us to raft up, every kayak holding onto the subsequent, we fashioned a massive floor space because the humpback cruised actually ft from us. This was no unintended encounter, the humpback swam round us for a good 5 minutes, as curious of us as we had been of it. Spectacular.

We had been ready for the proper climate and the most effective location, so the precise date of our marriage ceremony had solely been chosen that morning. Hopping out of the Kayak into the Zodiac boats, Tara and I, with our information, headed in direction of Recess Cove, a location chosen by Polar Latitudes for our marriage. It was excellent.

With a number of friends, and a couple of guides watching on, our celebrant wandered in direction of us. She was dressed in…a penguin costume! This was a shock for us, and I can perceive how the extra earnest of individuals would possibly discover the one that is about to marry you dressing up in a penguin costume as a bit area of interest, however we laughed our heads off, what enjoyable we had.

The stress of remembering vows and never dropping rings in the snow evaporated and all that was left had been a number of brief easy phrases that may information Tara and I via the remainder of our lives.

Fact File

We travelled onboard the Hebridean Sky, a vessel operated by an American firm Polar Latitudes, famend throughout the business as being one of many best possible for fusing exploratory voyages with a contact of luxurious. We booked our journey with Swoop Antarctica, primarily based in Bristol UK, who will be capable to assist organise your voyage south and should you fancy it, a marriage ceremony there too.

Ensuring your marriage is legally recognised: To guarantee your Antarctic marriage is legally recognised, you will have to register with the British Antarctic Survey, to get a marriage licence. Do so a number of months earlier than you set sail. And speak to Swoop about which vessel operator will likely be finest that will help you make your big day the easiest day ever.

You can observe John and Tara travels on their YouTube channel 

See their pictures on Instagram @vanlifenewbys

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