Antarctica Off The Beaten Track Expedition

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12-16 ice swimmers will attempt the IISA Ice KM Swim in the Antarctica Off The Beaten Track Expedition in November 2018
From the bow of the M/V Akademik Ioffe in Antarctica
Team Leader Ram Barkai is a veteran extreme cold water swimmer who swam in Antarctica in 2008 with his Guinness World Record Swim and in 2014 at -1°C with his South African team. He has initiated and overseen many Ice Swimming events and adventures including 9 Ice Miles and many more 1 km Ice Swims and longer cold water swims. He swam in the Arctic Ocean, Antarctica, Cape Horn, Magellan Strait, Beagle Channel, Northern Iceland, Scotland, Ireland, Bering Strait and in Siberia mid-winter in -33°C air temp. He has been featured in various Discovery Channel, History Channel, CNN, Al Jazeera and other documentaries
Team Leader Ram Barkai swimming in Antarctica
Dr. Sean Gottschalk serves as the Expedition Doctor and Specialist Emergency Physician. He has extensive experience in extreme swimming expeditions including including Lewis Pugh's Mount Everest high-altitude swim, the IISA South Africa Lesotho Mountains ice swim, the Madswimmer high-altitude swim in Chile. He specializes in Trauma, Hypothermia and recovery.

Antarctica Off The Beaten Track Expedition (or the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim) is a 13-day expedition in Antarctica that includes the IISA Ice KM Swim Event, an ice kilometer ocean swim organized by the International Ice Swimming Association in Antarctica. Team leaders will scout and decide upon the exact location for the inaugural Antarctic ICE KM Swim (Antarctic Ice Swim) where each swimmer will be accompanied by a Zodiac with expedition and medical staff while being filmed and timed by IISA officials. Spectators can observe from the ship, Zodiacs, kayaks, or from shore.

The IISA ICE KM Swim requires passing a medical test and will have 3-4 heats of 4 swimmers each with a cut-off time of 25 minutes. The safety and swim logistics will be provided by the team leaders, ship's crew, and physicians.

Antarctica Off The Beaten Track Expedition

Between 7-19 November 2018, Ram Barkai and Dr. Sean Gottschalk will lead an expedition of ice swimmers from Ushuaia, Argentina on the ice-strengthened MV Akademik loffe to the northern coastline of Antarctica Peninsula.

The 1 km IISA Ice KM Swim Event held in the waters off the Antarctic mainland will be limited to 12-16 experienced ice swimmers. In addition to the swimming portion of the expedition, participants will camp out on the icy polar landscape, go sea kayaking, taken a ski tour, head off zodiac cruising, and travel on dryland via walking, hiking or snowshoeing during 7 days of dryland activities.

Participants will enjoy close-up encounters with penguins, seals and whales, be able to enjoy Antarctica's majestic mountains and ice, listen to lectures from onboard lecturers and specialists among fewer than 100 passengers.

Team Leaders


Day 1 in Ushuaia, Argentina Set off and sail through the Beagle Channel.

Days 2-3 in the Drake Passage Listen to presentations by polar experts and educational professionals on Antarctic wildlife and history, first aid and snow safety. Cross the Antarctic Convergence while seeing icebergs and whales.

Days 4-10 in the Antarctic Peninsula Explore Neko Harbour, Wilhelmina Bay, Petermann Island via Zodiacs to observe wildlife and go snowshoeing, sea kayaking and ski touring and participate or observe the Antarctic Ice Swim. Team leaders will scout and decide upon the exact location for the inaugural Antarctic ICE KM Swim where each swimmer will be accompanied by a Zodiac with expedition and medical staff while being filmed and timed by IISA officials. Spectators can observe from the ship, Zodiacs, kayaks, or from shore.

Days 11-12 in the Drake Passage After participating in additional adventure options including overnight kayaking and camping, travel back across the Antarctic Convergence and the Drake Passage before rounding Cape Horn and sailing up the Beagle Channel.

Day 13: Ushuaia, Argentina. Scheduled to arrive in the early morning to begin the travel back home.


Prices per individual range from US$7,750 (twin or triple accommodations with share facilities) to US$10,950 (twin accommodations with private facilities) to US$15,250 (Ocean Suite). Deposits required by October 31st 2017. After this date, prices increase by US$1,000.

The package includes voyage and accommodation on board, all meals, snacks, coffee and tea throughout the voyage aboard the ship, use of onboard expedition rubber boots and wet weather gear, shore excursions and activities throughout the voyage by Zodiac and guided hikes/walks, expert supervision and guidance for all adventure option activities, such as kayaking, skiing or the Antarctic Ice Swim, educational presentations and leadership by experienced expedition guides, naturalist staff, and hospitality staff, access to on-board multimedia room and download stations, an emergency-trained English-speaking physician, and all miscellaneous service taxes and port charges.


Reservations prior to 31 October 2017 require a 10% deposit. On or after 31 October, a deposit of 20% is due. Reservations within 120 days of departure require full payment. Balances are due 120 days prior to departure.

Reservations can be made via Rakstavägen 2, 135 67 Tyresö Sweden; telephone: +46 76 212 8858 or or Swim-related questions should be directed to Ram Barkai, International Ice Swimming Association, at telephone: +27 (82) 656-8909 or or

Expedition Vessel

The expedition vessel is the M/V Akademik Ioffe that was designed for polar research. The Akademik Ioffe is modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened. The public spaces onboard the ship are suitable for small group sessions to briefings for all passengers. It has a bar, a lounge where movies and documentaries are shown, a library, a large dining room, a presentation room, gift shop, fitness room, massage room, sauna and pool.

Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim

Heading through the Southern Ocean en route to Antarctica to the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim

33-year-old Samantha Whelpton of South Africa successfully competes in the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim held on 23 November 2018 in Port Lockroy along the Antarctic Peninsula together with 41-year-old Alexander Brylin of Russia, 55-year-old Yunfeng Wang of China, 44-year-old Leszek Naziemiec of Poland, 52-year-old Paolo Chiarino of Italy, 54-year-old Andrey Agarkov of Russia, and 51-year-old Sergio Salomone of Argentina.
45-year-old Clinton Le Sueur of South Africa, 37-year-old Diego López Dominguez of Spain, 42-year-old Wyatt Song of Australia, 42-year-old Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria, 25-year-old Victoria Mori of Argentina, 46-year-old Madswimmer founder Jean Craven of South Africa, and the 61-year-old International Ice Swimming Association founder Ram Barkai of South Africa completed the Antarctica Ice Kilometer Swim in Mikkelsen Bay in the Southern Ocean along the Antarctic Peninsula on 25 November 2018.

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