Antarctica exceeded my expectations. It is so beautiful and abundant with animals. The interesting thing is that the animals are not afraid of us. I have been to Alaska, The Canadian Rockies and Scandinavia and to me, this exceeds all of them.
It is not for everyone which is why tourism is only at about 40,000 per year. That number is growing. To get there, one must sail over the Drake Passage which is the roughest body of water in the world. My sailings were rough in each direction but it can be smooth or even rougher. It takes from 1 ½ to 2 ½ days of travel in each direction. Many got seasick. I did not. I chose a ship with the best stabilizers to help.
I was on an expedition which means that they are looking for wildlife and live in the now. When they see whales, they stop the ship as opposed to trying to maintain a schedule. We were given a tentative schedule each evening for the next day and all over it said weather permitting. In the 5 days that I was in Antarctica, we made 9 landings, 2 Zodiac rides and 1 landing on a huge piece of floating ice. We were taken in Zodiacs to the land and had to get out in water and walk the last few feet. We needed to have boots to do this.
The evening before we arrived, the captain told us that he would wake us for whales and he did the following morning at 4am. I did not get up to see them and got another at 6am for killer whales. That got me up and had to get dressed and I did see them. To me this was exciting. We saw killer whales 4 times which is exceptional. I was delighted.
Our first landing was coming soon. The weather was sunny and not too cold and there were a whole lot of penguins. We were told to stay around 15 feet from then unless they come to us. To get them to come to you, you need to sit down or lay down and they will do that. I didn’t do that so they came close but not up to me. There were penguins at all the landings. After a while, I concentrated on watching the behavior. They had chicks and some still had eggs that when hatched would not make it because it was too late in the season.
While on the Zodiac, we saw humpback whales and ice formations. The icebergs were really beautiful. One could make an art collection of
them. They had a bluish white color.
At this, I will post some pictures and will answer questions.
erc Thanks for bring me back to this reminder of my trip. I really did have a good time. I, too, really don't like cold so that is saying something about how wonderful I found Antarctica.
I am not sure. Many pictures were taken with a normal and some were taken with a telephoto. I was within 6 feet on many penguins and I know not to get to close to seals so stayed maybe 20 feet from them.
The animals don't run from us. If I was in their way, they would just walk around me like they would go around any a box. If I am walking toward them, they continue doing whatever they were. We would stay a distance because we are told to do so.
Latin America is my #1 interest - especially the ABC (Argentina, Brasil, Chile).
Antartica is my #2 and will be my 7th and last continent.
This is why I think a preliminary LA trip will be helpful, and then I can focus in on Antartica.
With everything new, its hard to focus on anyone thing
I think you did it right by going to SA 1st.
I spent months researching the trip and pricing. The best months to go are December, January and early February. The penguins mate in Nov and the ice is just breaking up then. That was too early for me and the penguins and chicks sometime in February.
It is important to pick the right ship. Some are really small and the max is what I was on that carried 200 of us and crew.
I found that the price was within a ballpark for all of them. They are all expensive.
I wanted comfort and safety and choose the larger which I was told is the safest and has the best stabilizers. Some of the small boats actually use duck tape to keep you in your bed for the rough part of the crossing. I was on the ship for 10 nights and found it to be comfortable.
The advantage of the smaller is more shore time. Only 100 people can be on land at one spot at a time. We had to go in shifts and so only had half of the time. For me, that was enough. You cannot take any food or urinate on the land while there. The maximum time I was on land was 2 1/4 hours.
I was very pleased with the expedition team that instructed us for our safety and took care of us.
Thanks. It was a once in a lifetime great experience. Most people there were experienced travelers. They asked for a show of hands on how many will be on the 7th continent and about 75% were in that category. Some just looking for that World Status and some just wanted to see it. It is worth seeing for those who really want to since it is not an easy place to get to.
Iceland was pretty magnificent and I would recommend going there to anyone. What I like about Antartica (supported by your excellent pictures) is the remoteness...While Iceland in many ways very remote (with 5 star hotels), Antartica is even more remote and sounds like a place to go while it is unspoiled!!!
Really outstanding pictures and trip report!
Its at the top of my bucket list, as I have done 5 of 7 continents, and only have 2 more to go, South America and Antartica, and hopefully I can combine them as its one heck of a long flite.
I had done South America many years ago and spent a little time in Buenos Aires pre cruise since it would not have been good to chance not making it for my cruise. For me, I was so focused on Antarctica that I didn't focus that much on BA. Some people on my tour did SA first and went on the cruise after. One could do the reverse too. Keep us updated when you do go.
I just got an e-mail with a url to what I presume are the pelicans in Antarctica, but maybe elsewhere. I think they're the Imperial penguins and I don't know the home of any species.
I hope that you can go since it was more that I expected. Be aware that a lot can go wrong weather wise and such. About 75% were there to get that last continent and have the world traveler status. I was one. This is where one goes after they have seen the rest.
I posted about the ship I choose and why as well as the time to go there. When you are ready, I would be willing to help you. Just let me know.