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!
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
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.
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
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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