- TikTokers are sharing videos of what it’s like to travel through Drake Passage.
- Considered one of the roughest waterways in the world, waves can reach 40 feet in height.
- Videos show crashing waves, broken dishes, bags of vomit and people sliding across the deck.
TikTokers are sharing harrowing images of one of the most remote places on the planet, Drake Passage, turning it into something of a summer camp for viral expeditioners and voyeurs.
Connecting the southwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean to the far southeastern Pacific, Drake Passage is one of the roughest and notoriously treacherous waterways on earth, as currents move unimpeded across the land masses in a “endless surge of raw energy.” It is also considered the “gate” to Antarctica and a rite of passage for some 75,000 travelers a year hoping to reach the coldest continent.
The general wisdom is that travelers will face a calm day, known as Drake Lake, or the echoing waves the size of a building of “the roughest sea in the world“known as Drake’s Milkshake.
In videos of the experience (many uploaded from late November to early December), passengers recorded themselves gliding across the deck holding a glass of wine aloftwalking in a unnatural tilt through the hallseither “hold on to your dear life” to stay upright at breakfast. Many videos are set to the instrumental tune of “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic.
As passengers sip from wine glasses at tables covered in elegant white tablecloths, the ship sinks severely, lights flickerY the sunset disappears as a wall of water rushes up. Chairs slide across the room, icy blue waves crash against balcony doorsand, from what appears to be the point of view of the ship’s kitchen staff, plates tip over and crash to the floor, and trays of food slide out of the fridge. (Waves in the passage can reach a height of 40 feet).
The creators discuss measures taken to prevent or respond to motion sickness when the ship is rocking: vomit bags lining the walls, close-ups of the anti-nausea medication Dramamineand descriptions of fatigue and illness.
The images show rough waters and tables bolted to the ground, and the posters describe the “bitterly icycold they feel as the ship sails to the least populated continent in the world.
Much of the most popular content on Drake Passage has been produced by relatively few passengers on the cruise (you can see someone filming one of the most popular TikToks at the bottom of another of the most popular TikToks, while fellow travelers watch and laugh) — are reaching millions of views each.
With the dizzying breathlessness of adventure, a double sense of wonder and anticipation, the videos have the feel of an intrepid summer camp experience we trespassers have stumbled upon by proxy, together.
“I need to know why the algorithm decided we all need to watch Antarctica/drake passage content non-stop,” a TikToker commented.
“I was 48 hours old when I first heard about this Drake Passage. Now it’s all I see.” commented another.
“Antarctica TikTokhas made it possible for millions of people to peek into one of the most remote places on the planet.
Antarctica TikToks, across the rugged pass, show penguins jumping out of the water Y swimming in the direction of the ship as sleet falls rapidly, majestic ice shelves rise from the choppy water like heavy low clouds scatter sunlight over the water. Early in the morning, the the water is as still as glass. According to a poster, travel vlogger Natasha Alden (@theworldpursuit), a ten-day trip to the region ranges from $7,000 to $12,000.
But ultimately, watching the adventure from the comfortable distance of TikTok is as close as some Arctic-Tok viewers want to get.
“My panic attack would have a panic attack”, wrote a user.
“I would start looking for the violin group on the deck”, wrote another.
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