The awe-inspiring polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctic are amongst the most beautiful and captivating in the world. These are places where you can see the clearest skies, the bluest seas, the most dazzling snow, the most radiant sunshine and, of course, the most amazing wildlife.
Mere words cannot fully capture Antarctica’s unique and spectacular beauty and abundant wildlife, so this is our collection of the images that best distil something of the magic of the ‘White Continent’. We hope the following pages will inspire you to make this ultimate journey yourself, as even the sharpest pictures cannot hope to match the stunning reality of a place that so few eyes have gazed upon, and that exceeds all expectations.
At the outset of the 20th century Europe’s greatest explorers, the intrepid Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen risked their lives to explore this area and reach the South Pole. Travelling in somewhat greater comfort than these early pioneers, Audley’s Antarctica specialists, and now many clients, have followed them southwards through this silently beautiful world of ice, thrilled by the sights and experiences. We are indebted to the photographers, particularly Steve Allen who took the majority of the photos, for capturing such inspiring images.
Beyond the tree-line at the earth’s northern extremity lies the Arctic. By turns serene, majestic, wild and ferocious, these chill lands and waters frame some of the world’s most hardy and enchanting flora and fauna, clinging to a precarious knife-edge of survival.
Icebound through the winter, in the summer the rocky tundra is carpeted with delicate wildflowers and supports a surprising abundance of wildlife. For 4,000 years successive generations have adapted to the harsh Arctic environment, developing distinctive cultures that left traces on the land, and in our language. Kayak, parka, husky, anorak, and igloo are words we adopted from early attempts to map the region, borrowed from the Arctic people in hazardous – and often tragic – voyages of exploration.
Much of the Arctic is also only accessible in the summer months of July and August, when the frozen seas melt briefly to reveal enormous, barren islands, some the size of small countries. Temperatures at this time average nine degrees Celsius but can reach as high as 18 degrees on sunny days. It is in these seasonally accessible areas that those with an adventurous spirit and an enquiring mind can experience unique expedition cruises that visit Inuit settlements, sites of European explorer history and a wonderful variety of wildlife, all set amongst fantastically remote scenery on a truly epic scale.
Use our map to find out more about the tailor-made polar cruises we offer.