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Delve Into the Remote Wilderness of Antarctica
by Roy Witman © 2009

It was the stage for the hit movie March of the Penguins. It's home to the world-famous Falkland Islands. As the highest, windiest and coldest continent on the planet, Antarctica may seem like nothing more than a frozen wasteland. In fact, early explorers deemed it just that. Although there are no permanent human inhabitants, the wildlife residents of this landmass are nothing short of astonishing.

For those with a love of adventure, the lure of the unknown is quite a temptation. Antarctica is about one and a half times bigger than the USA. Only 2% of this continent is ice-free. From ice shelves six-feet thick to towering mountains, the shimmering landscape is essentially a desert. However, tropical temperatures should not be expected. With average summer temps of -17.5F/-27.5C and average wind speeds of 23mph/37kmp, trekking through Antarctica is anything but a walk on the beach.

Bundle up and prepare for one of the most outrageous adventures available!

Antarctica Wildlife

Amazing as it is, animals not only survive in Antarctica, they thrive! Several species of whales (primarily killer whales and humpback whales) can regularly be seen crashing through the icy waters offshore.

Of course, the stars of the movie March of the Penguins are also readily available for viewing throughout Antarctica. With five popular varieties (adelie, gentoo, chinstrap, king and macaroni), penguins are delightful to watch as they make their way through their daily routines of swimming, fishing and socializing. Everywhere you look, you'll see a white backdrop dotted with black penguin colonies.

Other entertainers sure to capture your attention include crabeater, southern elephant, leopard and weddell seals. Playful and rambunctious, these delightful creatures spend a good deal of time in the water eating or floating about on ice floes.

Land Attractions

One of the most popular destinations in Antarctica includes Deception Island, a collapsed volcano that evolved into a harbor over time. This area is filled with contradictions including geothermic pools located in an environment where the high is likely a negative temperature. As visitors arrive, they usually don bright orange or red waterproof coats. However, as quickly as they step foot on the beach, they begin to strip down to swimwear as they enter the naturally heated, outdoor pools scattered across the shore.

Lemaire Channel (often called “Kodak Gap”) offers a diverse array of photo ops. Its unique location between the cliffs of the peninsula and Booth Island give way to snow-covered mountains and icebergs of astounding height.

Paradise Harbour offers some exceptional scenery and the adventure of Zodiac Cruising. Zodiac boats take guests zipping in, out and around icebergs for a thrill you won't soon forget.

When you've visited three of the four corners of the earth, it might be time to venture out on a journey to a world where animals rule. Antarctica's rugged terrain and wide range of wildlife make it a fantastic voyage filled with enough memories to last a lifetime.

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