Reasons to Visit
As the austral sun warms Antarctica, 100 million birds fly south to feed and often breed, 35 main species will be your constant companions as you cross the Drake Passage. Pelagic birds such as the albatross, fulmar, petrel and shearwater are perhaps the most spectacular, with coastal species such as cormorant, skua, tern and sheathbills busy along the shores. The shortage of ice-free nesting land means the birds nest together in huge colonies, with almost unlimited food a few flaps away in the sea.
Antarctica’s ice comprises 70% of the world’s fresh water, a dense coat of white up to four kilometres thick. Don’t fill up your camera on the first iceberg you see: changing hues with countless shades of blue, icebergs can be stunningly beautiful. Every visitor soon becomes something of an expert in identifying different iceberg types, from low-lying ‘growlers’ that hover about the ship’s waterline to flat-topped tabular icebergs freshly broken from pack ice. Only a tenth of any iceberg can be seen above the water.
The super-chilled waters of the southern seas are rich in nutrients and it’s not for nothing the earliest explorers were whalers: the sub-Antarctic region sees the whales at their most prolific and relaxed. Orca, blue, humpback, minke, southern right and sperm whales are amongst those thronging the region from January to March (although many arrive early), blowing, breaching and mating in chilly waters of unbelievable clarity.
Enjoy spotting the penguins swim alongside your ship, dive off icebergs into the sea and fiercely guard their nests from intruders. Antarctica will give you the opportunity to walk amongst vast colonies and in January and February, enjoy watching the new chicks explore their homes.
When the penguins aren't calling to each other, enjoy the chance to listen to total silence, broken only by the occasional groan or crack of an iceberg or glacier.
Really! Take a dip in the waters of Deception Island, warmed by the volcanic crater that surrounds them and feel the cold on your face contrast with the warm on your body.
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Polar Expedition Cruising
Lemaire Channel, Antarctica
We want to share with you the experience of a typical day on an expedition cruise in the Arctic or Antarctic. This is based on our own experience and that of our clients and aims to give you an idea of what a quintessential day during a polar expedition cruise will be like.
A tailor made trip to Antarctica is an astonishing experience and a journey of this magnitude needs to be perfectly planned. This is where Audley comes in, our specialists can guide you through the myriad of options, helping you to book your perfect Antarctica cruise and give you sound advice based on their own first-hand knowledge.
The awe-inspiring polar regions of the Arctic and Antarctic, are amongst the most beautiful and captivating in the world. Irrespective of which region you choose, visiting one of the world’s ultimate travel frontiers should prove to be a truly unforgettable and enriching experience.
The Polar regions are two of the most inhospitable places on Earth. It is perhaps this, or the long-standing intrigue of the North and South Poles, that have drawn adventurers to explore them for hundreds of years. Many of their feats of endurance and heroic leadership still resonate today.
Graceful but comical, curious and sociable, penguins are irresistibly endearing. Use our guide to see the different types you might encounter.
Antarctica, the great white continent, has had an incredible allure on travellers for centuries. Nowadays you do not have to be as intrepid as those explorers of the past, as a number of comfortable ships can take you there on a cruise to see the amazing landscapes and animals.
Two of the original polar expedition vessels, the loffe and Vavilov are the workhorses of the polar expedition boat world.
The M/S Expedition was a new boat to Antarctic waters in 2009. Having been completely refurbished this is one of the most comfortable boats around. Originally built in Denmark in 1972 the boat is fully ice strengthened and perfectly suited to the seas of the southern ocean.
The M/V Plancius provides expedition cruises of the highest quality in Antarctica and the Arctic.
23 hours (Ushuaia, Argentina, via Buenos Aires)
GMT -3 hours
The best time to travel.
A good time to travel, but there may be some factors to be aware of.
Travel is possible, but this is not the best time of year.
Travel is not recommended.
Snow or ski season.
Read first-hand tips and advice from our travel specialists.
Start planning your tailor-made holiday to Antarctica by contacting one of our specialists...
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Further reading:When to GoHighlightsItinerary IdeasAntarctic expedition boatsPlaces to ExploreThings to DoAbout AntarcticaCountry Guides
Other countries in The Polar Regions:The Arctic
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