Across the Drake Passage - The Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctica- if you voyage in a large luxury cruise liner, then you are unlikely to experience the full fury of the tempestuous Drake Passage, that infamous body of water that lies between the southernmost tip of South America and the continent of Antarctica itself. If you travel in a 5000 tons ex Russian research ship, now reincarnated as an 'expedition ship', as I did, then you will certainly experience what the Drake Passage can throw at you. And believe me, all the sickness patches and the pills cannot take away that sinking feeling after you have been bounced around by rough seas for a couple of days.
The unpleasantness of the voyage brought the remoteness of Antarctica into sharp focus for me. That, and watching the documentaries on Scott and Amundsen's epic polar voyages that they showed us in the tiny screening room in the bowels of our expedition ship.
Once you arrive at the continent however, the sheer magnificence of the white landscape, the cliffs of intense blue ice at the edge of the ice shelf, the noisy colonies of chin strap and gentoo penguins and the feigned chases by young male fur seals, makes the travails of getting there a distant memory.
Should you happen to stop for a visit at the sub Antarctic South Shetland Islands, then you will doubtless notice the strange political game of distant countries staking their claim on Antarctica by establishing so called 'research stations' on King George Island. Deception Island, the remains of a long sunken volcano, harbours the sad remains of a whaling station that butchered thousands upon thousands of southern whales in a period in history when whales were the main source of oils and greases.
Further south, once you reach the continent itself, pictures describe the landscape better than words can. Follow me on a photo journey to the Antarctica Peninsula.
- South to Antarctica: A Journey to the White Continent - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com
Fewer than 19000 actually set foot on Antarctica every year. And these 19000 are people looking for a 'different' travel experience; an experience that most will endeavour only once in their lifetime.
- Antarctica - a set on Flickr
South Shetlands, the Antarctica Peninsula, the Drake Passage and Ushuaia