Antarctica – Another World Entirely
Antarctica – a true icy wilderness where the normal rules don’t apply, and where us mere mortals are just not meant to be.
Come on, you never listen to the rules, right?
A visit to Antarctica is one of those once in a lifetime excursions that requires planning, serious clothing thought, and quite a bit of saving. Yes, despite the fact there is nothing in the way of shopping, entertainment, or mass tourism in this part of the world, it remains one of the most expensive places to visit.
Because it’s so special, and special things are worth paying for.
No towns, no villages, no malls, no nightclubs – just pure solitude, blinding ice and sights like you will see nowhere else on earth. Accessible only from November to March, which is basically the Antarctic summer season, although it certainly won’t feel like summer, most visitors to Antarctica do so by cruise ship, either the large variety. or smaller with a few guided shore visits permissible. If you do choose the large cruiseliner, be warned that any liner that carries over 500 passengers is not allowed to let anyone ashore, so if you want to do something truly awesome, and set foot on Antarctic land, or ice, then a smaller ship is probably the way to go.
If you’re wanting to do a spot of wildlife photography, then November is the best time to go, as this is when the penguins come ashore in their masses, with February when you’re likely to be deafened by the colonies on the ice. For whales, that truly amazing Antarctic sight, then February into early March is the time to go, when you may even spot a few furry seals. Whenever you visit, the iceberg will be a common sight, and almost sparkling like a diamond, this is something that will steal your oxygen and leave you open mouthed.
This is probably the expression you will wear for much of your Antarctic expedition, one of true awe.
You are at the mercy of the elements, and hoping that Mother Nature is in a good mood for the duration of your trip, so be sure to pack wisely, and think warm thoughts. Ensure you travel with a reputable company, and one that has IAATP membership to keep environmentally safe.
Anyone who is going on a private expedition needs to ensure they hire a guide – this is one part of the world that you don’t mess with, and the Antarctic will always win out in the end. To do this, you can fly over from a few different points, usually Argentina, and set up a base camp with the help of your guide. However, this isn’t the norm, and a cruise ship will be sufficient for most visitors.
There are several ‘jumping off points’, which is basically where you leave the normal world and enter this icy other world, and the most popular is Argentina or Chile. You may also get to visit the Falkland Islands as well as the Antarctic Peninsula, so check your itinerary carefully. Your cruise may include the Drake Passage, which can be rough, so bear this in mind if you’re particularly sea sick. This is a famous stretch of water between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula, but once you’re through, you will find it pretty smooth from that point. You can also visit from Hobart in Australia and New Zealand’s South Island, so you could make this a twin-centre break to remember.
For a truly once in a life time holiday, there really is nowhere else like this on earth.