Antarctica's various regions are surprisingly diverse. The encircling Southern Ocean, with its rough-and-tumble sealing and whaling history, offers superb wildlife viewing, and the adventure of a magnificent sail. The Antarctic Peninsula, with its warm climate (for Antarctica!), combines super ice formations with the continent's most abundant seals, penguins, seabirds and whales.
Those rare few who make it to the Ross Sea side encounter well-preserved history, and experience dramatic land- and ice-scapes, such as the towering Ross Ice Shelf, the bizarre Dry Valleys and the steaming volcano, Mt Erebus. East Antarctica belongs to the vast, icy Polar Plateau. Its shores are rimmed with stations and seabirds, but the interior, including the Pole, is ice as far as your eyes can see.
South Georgia & Falkland Islands
Vast seasonal colonies of seals, penguins and seabirds cram the shores of these isolated, windswept islands. Some regulations are strict, or beaches are so packed you won’t even be able to land…content yourself with Zodiac-cruising alongside, as beachmaster seals defend their turf.
Imagine the early days of southern exploration as you visit museums in Ushuaia and Stanley, before heading to South Georgia’s only whaling station open to visitors: Grytviken, where Shackleton and Wild are buried. The Orkneys and South Shetlands harbor some of the region’s first bases.
Crossing of a Lifetime
Hold tight as you cross the roughest ocean in the world. When you reach relatively calmer waters you will cruise between islands first explored by hardy sailors aboard rough-hewn sealing ships.
Whales, Seals & Birds...Oh My!
Penguins chatter and breed, seals slip in and out of the sea, and seabirds gyre overhead. The Antarctic Peninsula region offers the very best of continental wildlife, and in abundance.
From Port Lockroy’s popular museum to the deserted shores of Snow Hill Island with Nordenskjöld’s hut, old science stations dot the Peninsula’s shores. Detaille and Stonington Islands’ bases are mid-20th-century time capsules.
Sailing Channels & Bays
This is your chance to really explore Antarctica. Glittering waterways weave between mountains, icebergs and glaciers. Some will go by Zodiac, others might opt for a kayak, but it’s the dramatic landscape and abundant wildlife that bring you to the heart of Antarctica.
From Cape Washington’s emperor penguin colony to the Adélies of Cape Royds and Cape Adare, you can’t go wrong if it’s continental penguins you’re after. It is a privilege to witness these birds, largely undisturbed, in the wild.
Those tragic and dramatic tales that exemplify human courage, skill, fortitude, triumph and failure are written on the Ross Sea’s shores. Shackleton, Amundsen and Scott all took their shots at the Pole from here, and before them Borchgrevink spent the first long, dark winter on the continent.
Extraordinary features begin at the towering, floating Ross Ice Shelf, continue on to volcanic Mt Erebus and hit land at the glaciers making their inexorable runs to the sea. They culminate in the exceptional Dry Valleys.
East Antarctica & the South Pole
Reaching the Pole
Truly, the accomplishment of a lifetime…a very lucky few get to experience standing at the absolute bottom of the world. Contemplate those who have come before you, and enjoy the marvel of knowing there is nowhere left to go…you are the furthest south possible.
East Antarctica is almost exclusively the province of scientists. Base camps dot the polar plateau at its highest points (Dome A, Dome C), Vostok and Pole, and ring its coastline. Cutting-edge experiments drill deep beneath the ice cap and reach out into deepest space.
This vast ice cap, thousands of meters thick, covers entire mountain ranges and subglacial lakes, now being explored for the first time. On its edges, oases of uncovered land offer shelter in an otherwise barren expanse.