White wilderness of the White Continent Antarctica
November to March is the ideal season to visit Antarctica and photograph the frozen paradise with plenty of daylight, icebergs and penguins taking to water. A trip to the White Continent is taking the route to the end of the world making the one who has wanderlust feel on the top of the world.
Take the once-in-a-lifetime Antarctic Circle Crossing expedition and engage in whale watching as Humpback, Minke and Southern Right whales arrive to feed on the abundance of zooplankton making the seemingly strenuous journey thrilling.
Antarctica is reminiscent of Ice Age with sights of Iceberg sunset in Antarctica, humpback whales and Adelie penguins jumping between the ice floes.
A must visit are penguin rookeries. A must do activity is to scout for humpback and minke whales and search for the leopard seals.
The White Continent is replete with experiences that will give you bragging rights for the lifetime though serious adventure comes at a price. Kayaking and Camping are must do activities as paddling through ice chunks and floats and spending the night with camp fire and s’mores and marshmallows is nevertheless nothing short of legendary in the mortal life. The Polar plunge into the chilly minus 1.8 degree Antarctic waters is an activity not recommended for the fainthearted.
A visit to the White Continent is a surreal experience and you might have to pinch yourself to realize it is real as being privy to the sheer magnitude of the nature’s inspiring creations is a truly humbling experience and that’s what makes the trip to Antarctica totally worth it.
Don’t miss zipping around the Cierva Cove in a zodiac around ginormous icebergs. Lemaire Channel is popularly nicknamed the ‘Kodak Gap’ for its scenery and species.
Deception island is an active volcano with black ash beaches and thermal springs. It has a bit of an eerie Ghost Town looks and vibe to it with cabins and rust color boilers used to extract whale oil and abandoned shanty town.
Mikkelsen Harbor has the perfect backdrop for your camera for picture postcard shots. Penguins are a huge draw here along with seals like most landing sites. This is also the harbor where the first woman set foot in Antarctica in the year 1935.
Port Lockroy is a popular site known as a British base with a souvenir shop, museum and the southernmost post office in the world with all proceeds donated to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.
The easiest way to explore Antarctica is to arrive at Buenos Aires, Argentina. Hop onto another 3.5 hour flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world and board your expedition cruise to the last great uninhibited and uninhabited land on earth from the port.
Over a two day 1,000 km journey your cruise will take you through the infamous Drake Passage where the Atlantic, Pacific and southern oceans converge. This is one of the roughest sea passages in the world with 30-feet high waves in the tempestuous choppy waters. You are within the touching distance of the gigantic land mass of ice once you observe albatrosses circling the deck of the cruise.
Choosing the right cruise can put you into a dilemma. A large cruise liner is definitely not the preferred option as the Antarctic Treaty limits the number of people that can disembark onto land at a given point of time to about a 100. A small cruise liner on the other hand is also able to maneuver its way easily through ice and also allows for simpler logistics during landing.
There may be opportunities for camping, kayaking, diving, climbing, skiing, photography, ‘polar plunge’ et al and others depending on your trip on the seventh continent. You can usually get at least one visit to a working scientific station.
The Antarctic summer lasts from November to March and is usually the ideal time to visit as the temperatures keep around the zero degree Celsius mark although carrying layers is the wisest option in addition to inner thermals and woolen, a fleece jacket and a down feather jacket with a couple of pairs of waterproof ski pants to suffice and survive crisp polar temperatures. A parka is offered by the cruise line for you to keep in addition to boots that you can rent.
Some of the must carry items are a high SPF sunblock, shades and camera with a waterproof case as you are likely to spend time outdoors for a fair span to capture the most exotic wildlife and flawless and virgin landscapes against the wintry and glacial nature.
It’s an oxymoron to say that there’s more ice than it’s possible to imagine in the White Continent but as rhetorical as it sounds Antarctica offers an experience that helps one bitten by the travel bug truly upgrade from being a traveler to an explorer as a visit to Antarctica is like no other.
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