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Exploring Antarctica

A trip of a lifetime

Antarctica considered by many as one of the last pristine regions on the Earth, and the most inhospitable. It offers the adventurous traveler the world's most magnificent wilderness, abundant concentrations of wildlife, icebergs sculpted by the sea, oceans covered by pack ice, mountains, vast snow covered plains, mammoth glaciers, and other breathtaking scenery.

The southern ocean surrounding Antarctica has a profusion of wildlife that thrives in its nutrient-rich waters. In the icy cold sea are blue, humpback, minke, southern right, and sei whales. Seabirds are also in abundance, from albatross to shearwaters, petrels, skuas, and gulls. Several species of true and fur seals live there, sea lions, and tens of thousands of penguins await you.

Antarctic iceberg

Stored in the ancient polar icecap are ice cores that hold answers to the world's past and possible future climate. The Antarctic continent has been bombarded by meteorites some from the Moon and even Mars. These hold secrets from our universe. For example inside one of the Martian meteorites, scientists have discovered evidence suggesting that life may once have flourished on Mars.

But this is not a vacation for the faint of heart. You will join expeditions landing in Zodiacs on uninhabited frozen beaches. You will cruise amid ice floes and icebergs. From your tiny rubber boat you will quietly watch the antics of penguins, whales, seals, and birds. Some days you will take short hikes, on a snow covered world, that will give you a unique and priceless feeling of discovery.

A penguin carrying its love rock

Some tours offer informative lectures and briefings on the geology, history of Antarctic exploration, marine mammals, ornithology, and other topics. Educators often have vast experience with the polar regions and are able to introduce many aspects of science during lectures, field outings, and informal discussions.

Antarctica is not easy to get too. A route from San Francisco might include Florida, Buenos Aires in Argentina. All will depart from Ushuaia at the southernmost tip of South America. From here the only means of transportation is by ship. My tour joined the M/V Ushuaia a very yare vessel. It was to be my home while I sailed to, around, and back from the Antarctic.

In my next article we will leave the known world behind us.

Exploring Antarctica, leaving the known world

Exploring Antarctica, is truly a trip of a lifetime.

For more info:

Antarctica Southern Ocean
Blue wale Humpback wale
Minke wale Southern right wale
Sei whale Albatross
Shearwaters Petrels
Skuas Gulls
True seal Fur seal
Sea lions Penguins
Ice cores Martian meteorites
Zodiacs Ice floes
Icebergs M/V Ushuaia
Drake Passage A video trip plan

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