Late Summer in Antarctica
If you choose to go on an Antarctica cruise in February or March, you will be seeing the continent during its late summer period.
If you choose to go on an Antarctica cruise in February or March, you will be seeing the continent during its late summer period. This provides a variety of benefits, including the ability to explore more thoroughly as the ice melts and breaks apart, allowing for a high chance of seeing whales on the Peninsula. It will also bring some fairly moderate temperatures, averaging around 29 degrees Fahrenheit, as the season begins to shift to fall. If you're looking to explore Antarctica during a more traditional vacation time, this is your last chance - expeditions don't go after March because fall and winter make most parts of the continent impossible to traverse for ships of all sizes.
The only people who stay in Antarctica over the fall and winter are research scientists. Even during the late summer, travel to the continent is beginning to fall off, which means choosing to go at this time will give you an even less crowded experience than you would normally have. You can also expect to walk on the ground of Antarctica, which is by turn rocky and muddy, rather than on snow, which can be a pleasant novelty.
What whales might you see?
Late summer is the best time to see whales in Antarctica. It is most common to see humpback whales, minke whales and killer whales, though it's possible to see many other species as well. These can include blue whales, fin whales, sei whales, southern right whales and sperm whales. If you choose a whale-watching excursion, you will likely have a guide to tell you which types of whales you will encounter and identify any you do see for you and your fellow travelers.
What about penguins?
By March, those adorable penguin chicks are growing up. They begin to fledge and grow into their adult feathers, while their parents may already have gone out to sea to begin to prepare for their own molting season. Other wildlife, too, may have taken to the seas, though the chance to see whales and young penguins is more likely.
Why go during this season?
If you're an explorer who wants to see as much of Antarctica as possible, choose a late-summer cruise. As the polar ice melts, you'll have access to points much farther south than you would during other travel seasons. You will certainly see some wildlife, as well, and will get to know the untouched majesty of Antarctica in this particular form. Additionally, not many people choose cruise travel to Antarctica in February and March, so you will have unique pictures and memories.