In our modern world of mobile phones, online videos, and social media, finding a destination that will blow your mind is becoming more and more difficult. Enter Antarctica.
The White Continent is a truly unique landscape that stands out above all the other destinations I’ve visited.
It’s a very difficult place to describe. In some ways it seems cliche to describe it as a winter wonderland, but in other respects you can’t avoid it. Seals watch you from ice-floats, penguins waddle through the ice, and giant icebergs form out of the mist in impossible shapes.
But is this enough for Antarctica to be your next adventure destination? To help you decide, I’ve written my favorite 7 things about visiting this epic region.
1) The Drake Crossing
First up is the Drake Passage. You need to cross this infamous body of water to actually reach the Antarctic peninsula. The crossing takes two days and adventure lovers believe it’s a rite-of-passage for all visitors to the White Continent.
Although famous for its rough seas and unpredictable weather, most crossings during summer are smooth sailing all the way. In fact, the water is often so calm that the Passage is referred to as the ‘Drake Lake’ by sailors!
2) Swimming In Deception Bay
Swimming in Antarctica? Yes, its sound weird (and cold), but it’s actually very fun! Deception island is a popular destination for Antarctic cruises thanks to its rich history and huge chinstrap penguin colony.
The actual bay is a sunken volcanic caldera and many people believe that the hot springs beneath the bay warm the water.
Sadly, this is not really true – when you take a dip here, prepare for freezing water!
For the more adventurous among you, you can try the ‘Polar Plunge’. This involves jumping from your ship into the freezing waters below!
3) Photographing The Wildlife
The wildlife of Antarctica is simply breathtaking. With the possible exception of the Galapagos Islands, no where else on earth are animals so unconcerned with humans.
Whales will literally approach your zodiac and penguins will waddle up right beside you, giving you unbelievable photo opportunities.
For people wanting the ultimate wildlife experience, you need to include South Georgia in your itinerary. The island is teeming with colossal elephant seal colonies and king penguin colonies over 2 million strong!
4) Kayaking Around An iceberg
Adventure lovers often choose to add kayaking to their Antarctic itinerary. There is literally no better way to explore Antarctica’s amazing ice formations, than from the peace and quiet of your own kayak.
You’ll always be in safe hands with your knowledgeable guides and you’ll be able to get close to certain species such as seals and seabirds. Remember to book kayaking before departure, expect the price to be around $600-800 per person.
5) Camp On The Frozen Ice
Camping out on the Antarctic ice is something that vey few people can say they’ve experienced. Although I wouldn’t say it is the most comfortable night I’ve ever had, it was certainly memorable!
After a good-size dinner, your guides bring your ashore and help you set up camp before bedding down for the evening. Personally, my favorite bit was listening to the cracking and creaking of the ice as I slowly drifted off to sleep!
6) Take A Ski Trip
Adrenaline junkies will absolutely love skiing in Antarctica. There is no better adventure to be had than skiing across the vast interior of Antarctica, or looking down upon your ship as you descend one of the many peaks on offer.
Keep in mind though that there are no ski lifts and you’ll need to have a good fitness level to ascend the slopes.
If you want to ski in Antarctica, then I suggest taking the ‘Basecamp’ itinerary.
7) Learn A Little Something
As you sail through Antarctica’s alien and remote landscape, you’ll be given the opportunity to attend daily lectures from experts onboard. Trust me when I say these are not boring!
Learning about the geology, wildlife, and history of the land you’re traveling through really made the environment come alive for me.
There are also photography experts onboard that help you get the most out of your photos whether you’re a newbie or not.