The Great White Continent
Antarctica is isolated from the rest of the world by ocean currents. 90% of the world's ice is here, 13,000 feet thick, covering the landmass. In winter Antarctica is isolated 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 of the wildlife found here thrives on the cornerstone species: krill. The krill population in the Southern Ocean represents the largest biomass of a single species on Earth – including humans!
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 millennia without human interference. Therefore, we adhere to very strict environmental guidelines and rules while we're here and leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but pictures! What is so extraordinary about Antarctica is that its location makes every cruise to the continent an expedition. Even the most sophisticated technology cannot override some of the climatic challenges that are a part of this environment, and weather, wind, and ice conditions have a great influence on our program and schedule. 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 – spending hours ashore hiking or kayaking on the water, or simply sailing among huge pods of whales.
We will attempt to land at several places, including Deception Island, Half Moon Island, Brown Bluff, Cuverville Island, and Neko Harbor. These places offer serene, untouched nature; penguin colonies; seals, whales in the ocean; glaciers, icebergs in every shape and color; old whaling stations; and research bases. It's hard to sum up all the impressions you will gain. As a well-known quote from veteran Antarctic travelers puts it:
“If you can describe Antarctica with words, you have probably never been there.”