Antarctica: The White Continent

Travelwise

Antarctica, the southernmost site of the South Pole, is a virtually uninhabited, ice-covered landmass. No humans live there permanently in the way that they do in the rest of the world as it has no commercial industries and no towns or cities; however, about 1,000 to 5,000 people live through the year at the scientific research stations in Antarctica. Only plants and animals that can thrive in cold weather live there — penguins, seals, whales, nematodes, tardigrades, mites and Antarctic birds.

Antarctica is a continent — it is not a country. No one officially “owns” this continent; although France, Australia and the United States claim to have rights to at least a portion of it. With its all glistening inlets, rocky cliff sides, pebbled beaches and dynamic floating ice sculptures, it is said you’re in for total sensory overload. It is the most remote continent on earth —more than 1,000 km from the nearest neighboring continent. You can actually visit it and enjoy the voyage at your own pace and preference.

Although it is considered a desert because it receives very little rain or snowfall, the small amount of snow that does fall does not melt but builds up over hundreds and thousands of years to form large, thick ice sheets. Antarctica’s terrain is composed of glaciers, ice shelves and icebergs — a place of extraordinary natural beauty that calls to many travelers.

This captivating continent has been inspiring explorers for centuries by offering an unforgettable journey through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

Tourism to Antarctica is almost exclusively ship-based; however, transport to and within Antarctica can take place by air, using fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Runways and helicopter pads have to be kept snow free to ensure safe take-off and landing conditions. There are no developed public-access airports or landing facilities.

Cruise expeditions to Antarctica depart between November and March from Ushuaia, the capital of Argentina and the gateway to Antarctica, when conditions in the Southern Ocean are most suited to the sea crossings from South America to the Antarctic Peninsula. To enter into Antarctica, a valid passport is required.

Zodiacs are key to your ability to get out and about on daily explorations as well as kayaking from expedition ships in polar waters. From expedition cruise specialist leaders to naturalists, your guides are with you at all times. It is a life-enchanting, personal encounter with the wildlife, geology and fantastic varieties of ice in this astonishing eco-system.

This is an active and dynamic type of travel, exploring off the ship as much as possible as you cruise bay channels and fjords to enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and exotic wildlife on Antarctica.

People travel because it enriches their lives. And the growing trend of luxury expedition cruises has travelers embracing their bucket-list dreams with an elevated sense of adventure.

Expedition cruises have the power to change people’s lives, one voyage at a time, and that’s what makes them truly an authentic experience and one of the richest travel experiences you’ll ever have as there is nothing quite
like it.

Antarctica is a “bucket-list” dream for many travelers who have traveled in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America and South America as they want to complete their travel adventures by visiting all seven continents.

Traveling the world is a joyful experience — include an awesome adventure in Antarctica, the White Continent!

Nancy B. Alligood, CTC
About Nancy B. Alligood, CTC 11 Articles
Nancy B. Alligood, CTC is general manager/owner of Warwick Travel Service, Inc.and can be reached at 757-599-3011 or at n_alligood@warwicktravel.com.

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