If you’re considering a trip to the White Continent this year you likely already know it’s one of the most exhilarating adventures a traveler can have. Antarctica is a place of extraordinary beauty, incredible icescapes, and heroic history. But here are a few fascinating facts you might not be aware of yet. Read on then join us in the world’s last great wilderness.
YOU CAN CROSS-COUNTRY SKI ON THE CONTINENT
In the early season and weather permitting, our Ice Master may “park” the ship in the fast sea ice so guests can have the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of disembarking onto a frozen sea. Join your guide on a cross-country ski outing or snowshoe hike to venture further afield and get a taste of what travel was like here for the earliest explorers. When you’re done don’t forget to make a few snow angels to really leave your mark on the 7th Continent.
THERE’S A WORKING POST OFFICE—WITH PENGUINS!
Yes, that’s right! There is actually a tiny post office at Port Lockroy on tiny Goudier Island. Base A, the first British permanent base established on the peninsula, has been run by the UK Antarctica Heritage Trust since 2006 as a museum with a working post office and gift shop. Each year the Trust recruits five people to man Base A as well as monitor the resident gentoo penguin population which you’ll find hopping all around the island. The team lives and works there for the Austral summer from November to March and during that time they frank more than 60,000 postcards mailed by visitors from around the globe. And if your ship isn’t able to make it there on your particular voyage not to worry—our staff will hold your postcards for their next visit and mail them so your friends and family still get that all-important Antarctica stamp.
THE UNDERSEA IS ALIVE WITH LIFE
Above water, Antarctica is a stark palette of black, white, and ice blue so you might assume the world below is equally spare. But the polar undersea is shockingly vibrant and alive. Some of the world’s most fascinating creatures—from technicolor nudibranchs to alien-like sea spiders—make their homes in the dark, frigid water. And you can experience it all thanks to our exclusive undersea program. During each voyage, undersea specialists don polar diving gear to explore and shoot video, then present their day’s discoveries to our guests from the warmth and comfort of the ship’s lounge. You never know what you might see—in some cases, our specialists have even photographed specimens not yet known to science.
NO LAND MAMMALS LIVE THERE
There are no polar bears on the Antarctic peninsula—contrary to what some people mistakenly think. In fact, there are no land mammals at all at the bottom of the world. But you will see plenty of other legendary wildlife. Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands are home to eight different species of penguins. Around the continent you’ll come across colonies of gentoos, Adélies, and chinstraps, all displaying endlessly fascinating and funny behaviors. Lucky explorers may also be treated to a rare emperor penguin sighting (or two). There are also all kinds of whales to watch out for. You might see fin, humpback, minke, sperm, rare Type b killer whales and even the largest whale on earth, the blue whale. Plus, the region’s apex predator, the leopard seal, an array of other seal species, and myriad seabirds.
YOU CAN EXPLORE ON YOUR OWN—AND AT WATER-LEVEL
While you could have a perfectly wonderful time watching the landscapes and wildlife go by from a deck chair with binoculars, Antarctica was made for active exploring. And Lindblad Expeditions made it possible to do just that. We pioneered sea kayaking from expedition ships in polar waters and our proprietary staging platform lets us launch kayaks wherever conditions are right, virtually in the middle of nowhere—so you can get out there quickly and safely for up-close personal encounters. Imagine kayaking among the ice, witnessing porpoising penguins or a surfacing whale, and listening to the unprecedented silence of this incredible eco-system.