It is strange to write about a continent where nobody permanently lives due to the regions harsh and hostile terrain and weather. With wind speeds of up to 220 mph and an ice layer 4.8kms deep which is deeper than many of the worlds great mountain ranges, this is a continent like no other on earth.
Antarctica is the worlds least visited and as such a relatively undiscovered continent. Yet it holds the key to all of our futures when we talk about global warming and climate change. Here researchers and scientists have uncovered the signs that our planet is crying out for help.
Thankfully the many expedition ships and cruises that pass through these icy waters work with authorities to ensure the minimum damage is done to the environment. They also educate visitors on eco tourism, sustainability and a wide range of measures aimed at ensuring this experience will be available for years to come.
Many expedition ships such as Silversea, Hurtigruten and Holland America offer amazing itineraries to this remote part of the world. Some also give you the opportunity at certain locations to get out on the water on Kayaks or on Zodiacs. This allows you to get up close to marine animals and also iceburgs that the larger ships cannot access.
There are many activities or trips you can do in Antarctica. One of the most popular is penguin watching with six species regularly seen on trips – Adelie, Gentoo, Rockhopper, Chinstrap, Macaroni, and the King of them all, the Emperor.
You can visit and get a true understanding of what happens at one of the many Antartica research stations where they study all manner of different subjects such as meteorology, ecology, seismology and physics.
A once in a lifetime opportunity may also present itself in that you can camp out under the stars either under a tent or simply in a sleeping bag on the ice looking at the stars.
Under water there are scuba opportunities and also if you need a quick burst of refreshment there are places you can take a brief plunge to clear the senses!
Top 7 Sights
The capital of Tierra del Fuego and the gateway to Antarctica. Located close to the beautiful Tierra del Fuego National Park there are opportunities for hiking and sightseeing. You can take a trip up the Beagle channel, discover the Vinciguerra Glacier or go dog sledding.
This volcanic island has a safe and natural harbour making it a popular stopping point en route to further adventures. It was also the home to the regions whaling industry in the early 20th century.
This strange natural phenomenon is an iron oxide tainted stream of salt water that flows from the Taylor glacier.
The Holy Trinity Church is a Russian Orthodox church on King George Island. The site is also close to Bellingshausen Station which is a Russian research station.
The Drake Passage
The stretch of sea from the tip of South America to the Antarctica peninsula has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous in the world. This is due to the considerable ocean currents flowing through the channel. However for the adventurous it is the only way to travel.
This is Antarctica’s tallest mountain at 4,897 metres. It can be climbed however it takes practice, training and and a skilled team to embark on this challenge.
The harbour of Port Lockroy is a scientific research base as well as a museum. There is also a post office where the tradition is you send a postcard home. Better than a text I reckon !