Travel To Antarctica
Recently, I had a transition period between my jobs. I’m a travelling freak. Not a regular type, but in fact, I like to visit places that are somewhat inaccessible for a common man, or you can say places which are taboo to a majority of people. Some friends of mine had recently travelled to Antarctica and they told me about the magnificence of Antarctica. I decided to take advantage of my free time and planned a trip to Antarctica. And I have to admit, I did nothing wrong in paying a visit to this amazing place. In fact, my Antarctica travel was one of the best trips I ever had in my life. I went there with my wife and kids. Believe me, no place on this earth can be compared to this immeasurable land of white wilderness. Rocks, Water, Ice, Polar Beers, Seals, and Penguins…Welcome to Antarctica!!
This place does not have any permanent residents. The only human population seen in Antarctica is the tourists, or the scientists and the research staff, the temporary inhabitants of Antarctica. But every single inch of Antarctica is worth visiting. The enormous snow-land masses, the frozen water bodies, the massive whales, this place is an ice-heaven.
We booked our trip in Antarctica with ‘World Expeditions’. It’s a company which organizes various tour packages to explore Antarctica. We took the 15 – day tour, which included almost everything worth seeing. We boarded the cruise in Ushuaia. The crew warmly welcomed us on the cruise. We had a group of about 100 people on board. Our ship started sailing down the Beagle Channel. It was late in the evening, and after minor sight-seeing, we enjoyed our dinner and set our course for the Falkland Islands. For the whole of the second day, we were sailing. And sailing with us were various species of petrels and albatrosses. It was a total delight to watch them maneuvering around our ship.
The next day, we reached Malvinas, a place on the Falkland archipelago. You can view some great species of animals in this place. We all love wildlife, and we wanted to know and explore more of the Antarctic life, so we decided to take a hike by the side of shore of Carcass Island. After about thirty minutes of sturdy hike, we reached the top, and were astonished by the views. We could see numerous Gentoo Penguins. It was awesome to watch them, so close and so many in numbers. After a while, we even saw the passerines, the night herons and the waterfowl. I must say, these creatures are startling. It was the first time we were watching them for real, and it was a total enchanting view. The waterfowl is a beautiful bird. So stunning, you could spend hours applauding its beauty. After spending a good time at this place, we moved forward to Saunders. It’s famous because 4 types of penguins are found here; King, Maggellanic, Gentoo and Rockhopper Penguins. We enjoyed observing them in their habitats.
Stanley was our next destination. It is the capital of Falklands, a great place to know and explore Falkland culture. Stanley has a South American charm. The local churches and museums exhibit a style of South American culture. We visited a church. In spite of being in solitary for a major part of the year, this church was beautifully maintained. Beautifully built, and equally taken care of. After surveying every corner of the church, we moved to Antarctic Heritage Museum. This is a small museum, exhibiting history and specialties of Antarctica.
We spent our next two days on the cruise, transiting through the Antarctic Convergence on our way to South Georgia. These two days gave us some ever lasting memories of Antarctica. As our chip entered the Antarctic waters, we could feel a sudden decrease in the temperature. Our guide told us that temperature in this zone falls down several degrees below the freezing point. We saw some really huge ice bodies, formed due to freezing of water floating on the water. It was a great view. We were watching the nature at its best. We saw different species of Prions, Petrels, Albatrosses, Skuas and Shearwaters roaming around our ship. We were enjoying them and they were enjoying the human company. We were lucky enough to spot some whales. I tell you, this creature is MASSIVE! If you have never seen a whale, plan a trip to Antarctica and witness some of the biggest of these creatures. Watching them from so close is certainly jaw dropping. My sons were so excited on spotting a whale that they discharged the whole of the camera battery in capturing whales in the camera.
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We reached South Georgia in the late afternoon. Our guide took us to Grytviken, a place governed by seals and penguins. Yes, you read it right… This place is run by seals and penguins. There is a deserted village in Grytviken where King Penguins now roam in the streets and seals have taken their control over the buildings. It is fun to watch this place. You never know what you’ll see coming out of a building. The Whaling History Museum was our next stop in Grytviken. This museum depicts a lot about Antarctica. From climatical to geographical features of Antarctica to the various species of seals, penguins, whales and other wildlife found here to various scientific research centers set up in Antarctica, this museum holds a record of everything. A detailed visit to the Whaling History Museum is a must to know Antarctica completely. After filling our minds with some new, great facts, we left for our next destination, Drygalski Fjord. You can find a good chance to spot ample spectrum wildlife and landscapes. We consider ourselves lucky to view some Reindeers, the elephant seals, fur seals and Macaroni Penguins. We found the penguins very cute and shy. Every time some of us initiated our steps towards them, they would run away. It was fun to be there.
For another couple of days, we sailed through the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula. This made us witness some other great views; icebergs, frozen waters, seabirds.. Everything here is like they are hand picked from some snowy dream. With this, came the Drake Passage, the last section of our route. It took us a little over 2 days to cross the Drake Passage. This was the time to share experiences of this amazing travel with our travel mates. Every individual had something interesting to add to the experience. While someone was fortunate enough to view the famous penguin proposal (a penguin proposing his female counterpart by offering her the most beautiful stone around), some others told us about the enormous size of the whales they saw.
Early in the morning, we arrived back to Ushuaia. We bid farewell to everyone after exchanging our contact details with some.
Our Antarctica travel was truly an out - of - the - world experience for us. We’ve travelled across a major part of this world, but didn’t find any place as magical as Antarctica. Antarctica is beyond doubt incredible. If you’re a nature lover or a travel freak, you must plan a trip to Antarctica and witness the other side of nature’s creativity.