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Drake Passage

Perhaps one of the most infamous water channels in the world, the Drake is an important rite of passage (pun intended) for many visitors to Antarctica. The Passage is named after the famous explorer Sir Francis Drake who accidentally discovered the body of water in the 16th century. The Drake lies between the southern tip of South America and the South Shetland Islands and connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, carrying an immense volume of water, which in part has made this a traditionally treacherous body of water.

Due to the unimpeded waters and its position on the globe, rough seas and fierce storms are commonplace in the Passage. Seas with waves more than 30 feet high are not uncommon and because of these waters, many passengers report extreme nausea during their trip to Antarctica. The rough seas are also why many people elect to fly directly to Antarctica on a fly-cruise, thereby skipping the rolling waves of the Passage.