If traveling to all seven continents of the world is your dream then this is the place which will help you cover one of the most elusive of the list. It’s the Antarctica! For the tech savvy generation, no corner of the world is too far. Even if it’s the end of the world! Talk about the end of the world and the word that comes to your mind is solitude. As there is no human settlements, this place is has no sign of human life. Look again; you see a world so beautiful, a world so immense and a world so white, you won’t regret making the journey. The world that’s untouched by any destruction, it’s pristine. Inhabited by a varied wildlife, the flora and fauna of the land will mesmerize you.
You can be a part of a whole planned trip which will take around 6 days to reach the destination. The tour starts with you reaching Buenos Aires in Argentina. This place in itself is monumental. From there you play to the other side of Andes to a place called Ushuaia which is again in Argentina. Ushuaia is said to be the end of one world but in clearer terms it is really a start of different world altogether. It is here that the world of Antarctica begins. From Ushuaia you sail to Port Stanley which is outside Antarctica. From port Stanley (Falkland Island) begins the dreaded and turbulent passage called Drake’s Passage. Drake Passage is said to be the two way tax to be paid by one and all, to view the wonder called Antarctica.
This 500 miles stretch is the world’s roughest water and motion sickness is more than a gentle threat. The picture above shows the choppy water. But the entailing pictures tells you why one should make the trip. FYI if you want to skip the journey straight to the destination takes the three hour flight straight there. In 2011-2012 over 35,000 visitors made it to and from the southern tip of the world, which considering its roughness is a commendable feat.
Safety and security might be a concern but there are numerous cruises approved internationally to undertake the journey. Get in touch with them and plan out. Chances are they provide you the option to view the cities mentioned above as a part of their itinerary. As this is a long journey to a whole new world, a well prepared plan will help you make the most of it. From the freezing temperature to choppy waters, the bare minimal food, everything should be understood to make the best out of the journey. It is suggested to read up before setting sails.
The next logical question is, why go there at all? The answer is a long list. First you get to see a plethora of animals which were till date only a part of Cartoons, movies and for few lucky visitors at SeaWorld (USA). At Antarctica you can not only see the penguin colonies on the shoreline, you will stand right in the middle of them. The rituals of Emperor Penguins, the dives into the ocean will not simply be a part of the YouTube videos; it will be a part of your reality. A colony of penguins climbing the iceberg, cleansing themselves of fishing! The Happy Feet scenario will be a reality.
Though the Penguins are clear favorites, they are by no means the only reason to go to Antarctica. A regular tourist can spot a wandering albatross circling at a distance, spreading its wings to take a dip into the choppy waters of Drake Passage. The seal, especially the elephant seals lolling on the beach is one lovely sight. They snort and bellow at each other all day long, apart from the time the sleep in a pool of algae. Another animal to look out for is the Leopard Seal. If you are lucky, you will see one floating on ice as you cruise by, keep an eye out. The noise element of the continent is mainly a mix of the diverse animal sounds.
As expected, we save the best for the last, for a whale can overpower all the above animals (quite literally). How awesome would it be to see a gigantic whale from the shore, taking its dip and showing off perfectly timed acrobatic skills? Now let’s take it a step further, how about if you can see it right in the ocean, up and close, so close that you see its eyes, the textured head? How about having one swim below your ship in clear water? Chilling, is it not?
And lastly the icebergs! They are nature’s way to mock and teach the artists of the world. The sky-high icebergs and the flat ones, they come in designs and shapes and sizes which make one ogle at them instead of the wildlife. Antarctic offers you both to feast your eyes on. They shimmer and glimmer in the scarce sunlight, are dotted by animals and are magnificent in all aspects.
If nature and wildlife is your thing, make a trip to Antarctica. If your holiday definition includes sunny beaches, spas and massages, you are on a wrong page. This is strange and adventurous kind of place, for the adrenaline junkies, it is just right!