One of our adventurers shared their favorite photos from the “White Continent,” Antarctica, and came back with lovely images of the unique wildlife and icescapes. Enjoy!
I have always wanted to visit Antarctica, but the thought of crossing Drake Passage always put me off as I am prone to seasickness. A client went a couple years ago and when I saw his photos, I knew I had to go. And while I did succumb to “The Drake” for a few hours, it was worth every uncomfortable moment. When I woke up on day three in the Antarctic Peninsula, I couldn’t believe my eyes. We had arrived in the most incredible and magical land I had ever seen. We saw penguins “porpoising” and a humpback whale “logging” (sleeping) literally right outside our cabin window.
Antarctica is a continent devoid of color. Everything is grey, black and white except for the incredible blue of the icebergs and glaciers. The only sounds you hear are penguins, whales spouting, birds and glaciers calving/moaning. The abundance of wildlife was phenomenal: penguins (gentoo, chinstrap, and Adelie), pack ice killer whales (orcas), humpback whales, seals (leopard, elephant, fur, crabeater, Weddell), and birds galore.
Wherever we looked, there was life in this extremely harsh environment. We visited research stations, hiked on the Continent and cruised in Zodiacs through brash ice. Not only was it visually amazing, but it was also very educational. We learned so much from the Expedition Crew. You truly feel it’s one of the last pristine wildernesses left on the planet.
Exploring Cierva Cove. I loved the incredible shapes and colors of the icebergs.
Our ship in Paradise Bay at Base Brown (Argentine Research Station).
We saw a number of leopard seals lounging on the ice.
At Deception Island, a southern fur seal basks in the sun on the shores of Whaler’s Bay.
This was one of my favorite moments. A large pod (20-30) of curious killer whales circled around the ship.
A gentoo penguin colony at Port Lockroy (British Research Station). I purposely chose mid-January to see the penguin chicks with their parents.
Penguins are fascinating to watch. They rarely sit still, and their antics are hilarious. Penguin highways are a real thing!
Exploring Cuverville Island. Even the Zodiac rides to and from the ship are an adventure!
Mailing postcards from the Penguin Post Office at Port Lockroy. The postcards were received a month later—not bad!
Neko Harbour was my favorite hike on the Continent. As we were hiking, we heard a strange sound and discovered it was three humpback whales feeding around the perimeter of the bay. Magical!
If you’re thinking of making the long journey to Antarctica and becoming a polar explorer, you won’t be disappointed.
—Text and photos by 6-time WT adventurer Mary Nicolini, Antarctica.