Cruise to the far end of the Earth – past heart-stopping glaciers, alongside waddling penguin colonies and through frozen wilderness – to experience the last true adventure left in the world.
The main attraction is the spectacular and dramatic landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula – a domain of jagged snowy mountains, immense ice shelves, calving glaciers and giant blue icebergs. Navigating south along the western side, extreme latitudes can be reached on a Polar Circle crossing.
The remote Weddell Sea lies on the eastern side and offers opportunities to follow in ;the footsteps of heroic polar expeditions. The South Shetland Islands are a string of more than 20 islands, running parallel to the north-west of the Antarctic Peninsula, and are the perfect location to spot the magnificent array of Antarctic wildlife on offer. The less visited South Georgia and the welcoming Falkland Islands are home to wildlife species that may be different to those in Antarctica.
The Antarctic Peninsula itself features majestic snow covered mountains, huge icebergs often stretching for miles and magnificent sites to explore. Cuverville Island has the largest colony of gentoo penguins on the peninsula, while Neko Harbour, surrounded by high glacier walls, provides the first chance to set foot on the Antarctic continent. Paradise Bay with spectacular icescape vistas, offers another opportunity for a mainland landing. It is also possible to navigate the narrow Lemaire Channel, considered one of the most beautiful passages in Antarctica. The former British scientific research base at Port Lockroy now serves as a fascinating museum and provides the chance to send a rare postcard home.
The South Shetlands are a string of more than 20 islands, home to endemic flora, penguins and elephant seals. Half Moon Island is a paradise for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts with stunning Antarctic beauty and a large colony of chinstrap penguins, fur seals and blue-eyed shags, while at Deception Island it is possible to sail through the large flooded caldera of a submerged volcano.
This wild and isolated area is an awesome sight, with imposing tabular icebergs and ice floes broken from the massive sea ice shelves. The coastline and islands offer impressive sites and wildlife encounters. At the northern tip of the peninsula lie the soaring cliffs of Brown Bluff, home to nesting penguins, Weddell seals, kelp gulls and pintado petrels, while the volcanic Paulet Island has colonies of blue-eyed shags, sheathbills and thousands of Adélie penguins. Elusive emperor penguins, the largest of all penguin species, may be occasionally spotted on passing ice floes. This fascinating region is also famous in the annals of polar exploration. It was here that Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship, the Endurance, was trapped and destroyed by pack ice in 1915, and the 1902 Nordenskjold expedition made Snow Hill Island their base. Their historic little expedition hut is a living museum today.
South Georgia is stirringly beautiful with ice-clad peaks and immense glaciers. This rugged island is a wildlife haven. Here, visitors can encounter elephant and fur seals, abundant birdlife including thousands of nesting albatrosses and one of the largest king penguin colonies on the planet at Salisbury Plain. It is possible to visit old whaling stations and the final resting place of the legendary polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.
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