Explore mysterious underwater worlds in Antarctica, the Arctic and beyond.
Aurora Expeditions has been operating scuba diving holidays in the polar regions for more than 20 years. In fact, we were the first expedition cruise operators in the world to offer this ultimate polar adventure!
Regardless of the destination, our focus is to encounter remarkable wildlife and witness spectacular marine ecosystems. The select group of daring adventurers who choose this unique activity program will have unbeatable experiences and stories to share and cherish.
Whether you choose to dive in the freezing waters of Antarctica or the Arctic, in underwater worlds full of grounded icebergs and rare creatures, the experience is guaranteed to stir your soul. In temperate and tropical destinations we visit, you can explore remarkable kelp forests and swim among dugong, sea turtles and whale sharks. Marvel at brightly coloured coral, uncover historic shipwrecks or perhaps even swim between two continents – the opportunities for adventure are endless.
You can rest assured that you and your small group of divers will be in safe hands with an experienced Divemaster, who will keep a close eye on the group from a Zodiac and help you maximise your experience scuba diving in some of the wildest places on Earth.
‘Getting out amongst it’ is our philosophy, and that is exactly what we do. Weather permitting, you will dive while other expeditioners are doing their activities – kayaking, snorkelling, or exploring ashore. Our experienced dive guides are skilled at finding the best opportunities to dive, while taking into account the ever-changing weather and sea ice conditions. We aim to offer you the best quality dive experience while maintaining the highest safety standards.
Antarctic and Arctic diving reveals a world of ice, where you will see glaciers, gigantic icebergs and a unique blend of marine, making for a very special experience. With numerous diving opportunities along your voyage, no two days will be alike – a truly inspiring and unforgettable experience awaits.
We try to get you off the ship to dive up to two times per day (except for sea days). However, we are always at the mercy of the weather and changes to the voyage itinerary to take advantage of unique opportunities like wildlife sightings. Embracing the unexpected is part of the excitement of expedition-style travel!
Top reasons to choose a Scuba Diving holiday
We limit our diving groups to a maximum of 6 divers in cold water destinations and 8 divers in warm water destinations. While you are in the water, your guide will be on board the Zodiac keeping a close eye on the group, ready to provide assistance and to give you advice and tips on how to maximise your experience on each of your dives.
You should be 14 or older to participate in our scuba diving program. Please note the minimum age required to complete most Junior Advanced Open Water Diver courses is 12. Drysuit Diver specialty courses require a minimum age of 10.
Aside from days at sea, we plan to dive up to twice per day. However, there are certain factors that are out of our control, including weather conditions and availability of anchorages. Voyage itineraries are only a guideline and safety is always the priority.
Weather can be hard to predict and can vary from day to day. Because of this, we often need to adjust our ‘itineraries’ to take advantage of favourable weather and ice conditions. Our flexible approach means we can alter the itinerary to incorporate wildlife sightings and other one-of-a-kind opportunities. Embracing the unexpected is part of the excitement of expedition-style travel. A flexible approach and a sense of humour will make the voyage more enjoyable for you and your fellow expeditioners.
Exclusive Zodiac cruising will be offered if the conditions for diving are not suitable.
English is the main language used for our dive operation. For safety reasons, you must be proficient in English in order to participate in our scuba diving activity.
In the polar regions, you will encounter marine life seemingly from another planet, such as the giant isopods and salps. Take your time to explore and enjoy an environment few divers have ever experienced. Observe kelp walls, sea snails, spider crabs, sea butterflies, jellyfish, squid, sea squirts, squat lobsters, starfish, krill anemones, peacock worms and countless fish species. In Antarctica you may have the opportunity to dive with penguins, whales and seals, which race fearlessly by, graceful in a way that’s not possible above the surface.
Get lost in kelp forests in temperate regions, or swim with sonorous whales. In tropical regions, marvel at colourful coral gardens frequented by damselfish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, porcupine fish, goatfish, goby and octopus. Delight in swimming with playful dolphins and curious seals as you make your way through the spectacular underwater ecosystems. Keep a lookout for bull and nurse sharks, manta rays, sea turtles, and the occasional humpback whale.
No. Each diving place is for one person only.
While diving is generally an equipment intensive activity, diving in polar regions requires an extensive amount of additional equipment because of the cold weather and water. On board we have two compressors, steel cylinders and lead weights. The cylinders we provide are steel 12.2 litres by Faber, with dual outlet valve, yoke and DIN compatible filled to 220 bar. Lead weights are available in 0.5, 1, 3 and 4 kilograms (1, 2, 6.6 and 9 pounds).
All divers must bring their own personal equipment. This will depend on where you are diving and a detailed list will be shared with you when you express interest in adding this activity to your voyage. We also have a limited number of hire equipment available onboard.
In polar regions, where the ocean water can be as cold as -1˚C/30˚F, a drysuit is the only thing that will keep you dry during a dive. The type of dry suit you use is not important so long as it fits you correctly and you are proficient in using it.
Insulating undergarments will trap air against your body to keep you warm. The colder the water, the more (or thicker) layers of undergarments you will need. We recommend wearing two or three layers, depending on your drysuit. The first layer should be a type of material that helps wick any moisture away from the body, while the second and third layers should be should thicker insulating material, such as fleece, synthetic pile or thinsulate. The one-piece jumpsuit style is the most common and comfortable configuration of dive wear and is available in a variety of thickness depending on your drysuit and the water temperature.
The right accessories will also help you have a more comfortable experience. We recommend a 5-10mm neoprene hood with face and neck seal, regular 5-7mm neoprene semi-dry gloves or mitts, and three-finger mitts over five-finger gloves.
Finally, it is important to bring a warm hat and gloves to wear before and after each dive, and a wind and waterproof spray jacket to keep the cold wind off your drysuit.
Aurora Expeditions is proud to have some of the world’s best dive masters on our staff, so you can rest assured that you are in safe hands. Our guides have dived all over the world and in some of the most remote and challenging locations. Our team of experienced Divemasters has over 20 years’ polar diving experience. YourDivemaster will ensure that you adhere to Standard Safety Diving Practices at all times, provide you with detailed briefings and share best practice procedures to ensure a safe diving experience.