7 Things to Know About Antarctica
Antarctica, the great white continent. It’s an intriguing and mysterious land of ice and snow. It’s a fabled place where explorers lost their lives attempting to claim it, where animals thrive in the hundreds of thousands despite the devastatingly cold temperatures, and only a relatively small number of scientists, academics, adventurers and tourists have set foot there.
You’ve decided you want to go there – or you’re thinking about it at least! Perhaps you saw a penguin video and want to see one up close. Maybe you’re an environmentalist and want to see the last wild place on earth while it remains pristine. Perhaps you’re a bird enthusiast and need to tick a few species off your list that can only be found here. Whatever the reason, you’re considering travel to Antarctica. But do you know much about it?
Let’s answer some simple questions that you might have about this spectacular place.
Flags help us keep a safe distance from animals
Where is Antarctica and How do I get there?
Antarctica is located at the southern end of the earth, some 4,000 miles south of Argentina. To get there you’ll have to fly into the capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires, then fly onward to the embarkation location (either Ushuaia or Puerto Madryn) at the bottom of South America. From there, the ship crosses the fabled Drake Passage, which takes approximately 48 hours.
Will I get Seasick?
This is always a possibility. It will depend on a number of factors including the weather. Sea sickness may or may not affect you depending on your hardiness and ability to find your sea legs. It’s always wise to come prepared with sea sickness medications. Our doctor and staff on board are well versed in dealing with sea sickness and can offer assistance and advice when needed. Once the ship stops rocking, the sea sickness stops. Even if you do feel the effects of seasickness it will not ruin your trip, as the waters in Peninsula are usually calm.
Will I be Cold?
To answer simply, yes. But not as cold as you might think. Since you’ll be traveling to Antarctica during what is summer, temperatures can range from as low as -30°F (-2 °C) to as warm as 60°F (nearly 15°C). If you find yourself there on a sunny day, you may be comfortable in just your base layers – though be sure to wear sunscreen and sunglasses. Alternately, you could be visiting when Mother Nature is feeling tempestuous, with blustering winds and freezing temperatures. Bring layers and be prepared for either case.
Will I Get Wet?
Well, let’s start by saying Antarctica is actually the driest place on earth. That being said, getting wet is always a possibility. You’re on an expedition after all! Depending on the temperature there is always a chance that you could encounter rain or snow. On this type of adventure, you will partake in ‘wet landings’ to reach the shore, but with your supplied rubber boots and recommended waterproof pants (along with the careful expertise of our staff) you should remain fairly dry.
What kind of Wildlife Will I See?
Antarctica is known for its remarkable and abundant wildlife. The main species found in Antarctica are penguins, seals, whales and seabirds. Species you WON’T see in Antarctica: reptiles, amphibians, walrus, rodents, polar bears, foxes, muskox, reindeer or other terrestrial mammals (these are more commonly found in the Arctic).
What else is there to See?
One of the biggest reasons people visit Antarctica is to see the wildlife. But there is so much more than that! Antarctica has no permanent population, but its landscapes and history offers much to explore. The stunning vistas of huge mountains and colossal glaciers and icebergs is breathtaking. There are quite a number of landing sites of historical interest as well as working scientific bases. In South Georgia, there are visits to defunct whaling stations, a church, a post office – even a bar! Things you WON’T see: the northern lights, ATMs, residential housing, streetlights, grocery stores…. You get the idea.
Will I Have Fun?
This goes without saying. We actually just threw this in here so we could take a moment to mention that no matter what your concerns, our team is there to ensure that you are comfortable, happy and enjoying yourself. A voyage to Antarctica will be one of the most unforgettable experiences of your life, and what you see and do there will no doubt change you forever.
Need More Information?
More questions? Reach out to our team any time!