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Antarctica-How did you protect camera on Zodiac excursions?

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I am preparing for my upcoming Antarctica cruise (Lindblad - December 2012) and need guidance for protecting camera equipment while taking part in excursions on the zodiacs. I plan to take a Canon Rebel T2i with 18-270mm lens and a compact Sony Cybershot.
Is a protective waterproof camera cover necessary? If yes, please provide type/brand used or any other useful tips for protecting the equipment. Did anyone experience their camera "freezing up" on the zodiacs due to the temperatures?

Also, did you carry a backpack/camera bag with you on the Zodiac or just had the camera hanging from the strap around your neck. I have a Billingham 107 Bag that can be converted into a backpack (harness can be purchased seperately)--just wandering if this is a necessary expense.

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