"We had dinner as normal on the ship, then after dinner we were taken out in zodiacs to where we were going to be camping.
"The group was just over 20 people, so a nice small group, which was great.
"They [G Adventures] only do the camping excursion once during the trip; they do it when they have the best opportunity in terms of the weather.
"These sorts of trips are very hands-on, so you set up all your gear yourself, but the camping guide we had was absolutely brilliant in terms of helping everyone and making sure everyone was comfortable, because you obviously are a bit out of your comfort zone.
"The guides take turns to stay up and keep an eye on the camp, so if the weather changes or anything happens they can wake everyone up and get them back to the ship.
"When you've got leopard seals that could come up at any point, it's good to know someone is keeping an eye on things!
"If you want to just get into your tent and sleep, you can do that, but a few of us decided to do a hike up to the top of the ridge near our campsite. You don't really get sunrise and sunset at the time of year we were there but you get a sort of twilight period.
"I then went to sleep for a while, woke up at 3am and spent a couple of hours just hanging out with the penguins. It was just me, until about 5am when other people started waking up.
"I saw this one penguin making its way across to the colony and I thought, 'I'm just going to lie here and see what happens.' The penguin came right up and looked at me as if to say, 'What on earth are you doing?' and after about five minutes he decided I was all right and carried on.
"I got some amazing photos, which I unfortunately didn't get to bring home with me because I lost my camera on the last day of the trip, but you can't take the memories away."
Value for money
Troy paid $89 for his night on the ice and says it was "well and truly worth the money".
"They could actually charge more for it," he says.
"We saw it as a chance to spend an extra 12 hours on the ice for 90 bucks - why wouldn't you do it?
"When you open your tent and there's a couple of penguins standing there, money can't buy that experience.
"The guys on the ship who didn't do it said they wished they had."
WHO Troy Conley from Sydney's north shore, on his seventh cruise.
WHAT Camping on the ice.
THE SHIP Troy, who is a travel agent but travelled at his own expense, cruised on G Adventures' MS Expedition (gadventures.com).
Have you done an interesting shore excursion? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
As told to Jane E. Fraser