Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents. 90 per cent of the world´s ice is here, 4.000 metres thick, covering the landmass. In winter, it is further cut off by sea ice forming off the coast - virtually doubling the size of the continent. In summer, it is a breeding ground for millions of penguins, whales and seals that, for the rest of the year, simply spend their time at sea. Most wildlife here are dependent on a cornerstone species: krill. And there is a great deal of it. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of one species on Earth – including human beings.
As outlined in the Antarctic Treaty, this is a continent dedicated to peace, science and tourism. No human activity is allowed to alter the perfect natural balance. We are visiting a place that has evolved through millenniums without human interference. Therefore, we adhere to very strict environmental guidelines and rules. We want to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures!
What is so overwhelming about Antarctica is that its location makes every voyage to the continent an expedition. Even the most sophisticated technology cannot override some of the climatic challenges that are a part of this environment. Therefore, we need to be pragmatic; we change landings, re-route and shift plans as we go along. This also means that we will take advantage of the often-ideal conditions – spend hours ashore, on the water with kayaks, hiking or simply cruising amongst huge pods of whales. Weather, wind and ice conditions have a great influence on our programme and schedule. We will attempt to land several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island and Neko Harbour. All of these places are serene and offer untouched nature, oportunities to observe penguin colonies, seals, glaciers, icebergs in every shape and colour and old whaling stations.
It´s hard to sum up all the impressions you will gain. As a well-known quote from veteran Antarctic travellers puts it: “If you can describe Antarctica with words, you have probably never been there.”