There are many reasons why you should go on an Antarctic Expedition and here is just a few!
The Antarctic continent is revered among travelers. The ferocious nature of the landscape and its long history of exploration has immortalised the region forever. Being devoid of humans for thousands of years gives the land an ethereal feel that is hard to define. Rock blends into ice, ice blends into sea.
Thanks to the lack of infrastructure and indigenous populations, the wildlife of Antarctica thrives. Penguins, whales, and more sea birds than you can count dot the landscape.
These facts alone mean that Antarctica is now becoming a serious player in the . Now more than ever, tourists are coming to realise what an amazing adventure the White continent offers.
To give you a taster of what you can expect on your epic trip, I’ve written my best things about going to Antarctica.
Okay, this may not be everyone’s favourite, but I love whales! Seeing orca, minke, and humpback in one day was very special for me.
These beautiful creatures are completely curious and will come right up next to your zodiac to get a good look at you. Looking a minke whale in the eye is something I won’t forget any time soon.
If you’re very lucky, you may even spot the two largest animals on earth; the fin whale and the blue whale. These are rarely seen, but it didn’t stop me standing on deck with my binoculars looking for them every hour!
I was slightly dubious when people told me how amazing icebergs in Antarctica were. For me, they were just lumps of ice in the water. Boy was I wrong! These ‘lumps of ice’, as I called them, were dramatically large – I’m talking 3 times the size of the ship!
Some looked as though they had been carved for a modern exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum with towering arches and perfect swirls.
The best bit though was taking a kayak out and exploring one from all sides. Your ship rarely circles an iceberg from each side and getting up close to one was unforgettable.
Kayaking did cost extra, but I went out most days on the peninsula, which definitely made it worth the extra cash.
The Cute Penguins
Although I prefer whales, I have to admit that the penguins were super cute! They were also super friendly and had no qualms in waddling right up next to me. In fact, the only time I have witnessed behaviour like that before was in the Galapagos Islands. Chinstrap and adelie penguins were the most common and were very happy to pose for photos.
If you really love your penguins then I suggest taking a Weddell Sea cruise to see emperor penguins, or visiting South Georgia Island for the large colonies of king penguins. These itineraries cost a little more, but are definitely worth it if you can afford it.
The Polar Plunge
The Polar Plunge is legendary in Antarctica. It essentially does what it says on the tin. You change into your swimming gear (no wetsuits…!), get harnessed up and jump from your ship into the freezing waters below.
Sounds awful? Correct – it is awful. But it’s also incredibly memorable and a definite conversation starter around the dinner table. After all, how many people can say they’ve jumped into Antarctic waters?
I won’t lie to you – it feels like cold knives slicing into you when you hit the water. You can barely think as the guide reels you back into the boat. However, after a good coffee and a stiff drink, you suddenly feel pretty good about yourself!
The Pristine Landscape
As I mentioned in the intro, the landscape of Antarctica is incredibly alien. This is due largely to the lack of humans, but it’s also the landscape itself. Huge icebergs appear from the distance, seals watch you from floating blocks of ice, and whales blow their misty breath into the morning air.
Antarctica is really something you need to experience for yourself. It’s a land that will stay with you forever, branded into your memory. I can’t recommend it enough – my only regret is that I did not camp out on the ice. This was an extra activity offered during my cruise and the people who did it absolutely loved it!