Antarctica Journals

Cruising the Antarctic Peninsula

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A January 2008 trip to Antarctica by sirverity

Sea of Ice Photo, More Photos
Quote: Cool Water Cruising in Antarctica

Cruising the Antarctic Peninsula

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Overview

Sea of Ice Photo,
Quote:
Antarctica is a land of extremes, and it is not just the weather. This is the least populated, least visited and least accessible continent on the planet. It is also the most unusual, most remote and, unofficially, the most exotic destination for world travelers. Aside from scientists, researchers and well-equipped (and well-heeled) adventurers, most visitors arrive via a varied armada of cruise ships from mega-liners to small research vessels where half the adventure is getting there.The overwhelming majority of visitors, due to time, expense, and accessibility, have their explorations confined to the Antarctic Peninsula--a large finger shooting up across the Antarctic Circle within strikin...Read More
The Dining Room Photo,
Quote:
Almost everyone visiting Antarctica arrives via ship, and in recent years the larger cruise lines such as Princess, Celebrity and Holland America have entered this market which had previously been dominated by smaller, high-end, highly-exclusive vessels.My own visit was on the 2,600 passenger Star Princess. Sure, in many ways I envied those aboard the smaller ships for their ability to enter narrower waterways or launch zodiacs so that I could have actually set foot on shore. Yet around dinnertime, when I enjoyed better than average gourmet meals, elaborate entertainment, and a nice workout followed by a dip in the hot tub, suddenly I didn't feel so bad. This contentment level was increased...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 1, 2008

South Shetland Islands

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Attraction

Colonized Photo,
Quote:
Named for their Northern Hemisphere latitudinal counterparts, this island chain in the Southern Ocean is the gateway to the Antarctic as it is here where most visitors get their first glimpse of land after crossing the oft-turbulent Drake Passage. Paralleling the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and separated from it by the Bransfield Strait, this archipelago features numerous research stations, excellent wildlife viewing, and an ever-changing cast of icebergs.My own visit here featured stops at three points of interest, beginning with Elephant Island. It was on this barren, rocky island that Ernest Shackleton and his band first made land after escaping in rowboats from the crushing pack ice...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 1, 2008

Neumeyer Channel

Story/Tip

Antarctic Reflections Photo,
Quote:
This narrow waterway nestled between Anvers and Wiencke Islands is one of the scenic wonders of peninsular Antarctica. The cliffs here are not as towering as in the nearby Gerlache Strait, but the scenery is much closer and therefore easier to observe.Our approach was from the Bismark Strait after finishing our passage through the Gerlache Strait. The highlight here was a pod of orcas that arched in and out of the water seemingly unfazed by our rather large presence. At the entrance to the Neumeyer Channel there is a man-made tower on the right hand side, one of the only reference points I had seen to allow the scale of the grandeur to be accurately appreciated.Inside the channel t...Read More

The Gerlache Strait

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Story/Tip

Ice Handle Photo,
Quote:
In the passage between Antarctica proper and a chain of ice covered islands, lies the Gerlache Strait. Named for a Belgian Antarctic explorer, this body of water is an ice-clogged channel that offers spectacular views sure to make even the most self-assured person feel small.Your average visitor's experience is in the hands of their boat captain, and he or she in turn is at the mercy of the highly volatile changes in weather that the region is known for. In practical terms this means that there is no guarantee that you'll even be able to pass through the strait, and even if you do, there's no knowing if the fog will allow you to see far up the high cliffs that surround it. However, if the we...Read More