Jo has now visited the continent several times. There are several areas to choose from when visit this amazing continent:
- The Antarctic Peninsula reached from South America often referred to as ‘The Banana Belt’. Only a very few voyages cross the Antarctic Circle.
- The Ross Ice Shelf reached from either New Zealand or Australia known as “The Far Side” – you sail across the Antarctic circle and usually include visits to Scott and Shackleton’s historic huts
- Other one-off voyages into the Weddell Sea – for that you need to be on an icebreaker generally in search of Emperor Penguins which means flying inland by helicopter to their rookery. These very popular voyages were frequently available but now the Kapitan Khlebnikov has retired you will have to wait for another operator to fill this space.
- Semi Circumnavigation voyage which sails from Ushuaia, Argentina to South Island, New Zealand. This happens very seldom now.
- Ships occasionally sail direct from South Africa. The Ultimate Antarctica Expedition usually sails from Port Elizabeth with the chance to see Emperor Penguins on the Antarctic continent. There will also be landings, weather permitting, on Heard, Crozet and Kerguelen Islands.
- Patriot Hills to climb Mt. Vinson (the highest Antarctic mountain) or visit the Emperor Penguin colonies.
- Fly-in to King George Island from Punta Arenas, Chile to join a cruise ship for a week’s cruising around the Antarctic Peninsula. This avoids the 48-hour notorious Drake Passage crossing but there may be delays with flights due to bad weather.
- The South Pole itself. These last two are fly-in itineraries from South America for only a few days but it is great to say you have camped on the Antarctic Continent – Please enquire for prices.
- A 12 hour fly-in from Melbourne in summer. Buy a Business Class deluxe seat, or treat yourself to First Class. In economy you won’t have a window seat for the entire flight.
Sub Antarctic Islands
- You are encouraged to visit South Georgia and The Falkland islands (Las Malvinas) while on a voyage to the Antarctic. Occasionally you can circumnavigate South Georgia on its own or even climb over the mountainous centre (if you have previous experience of climbing in snow, just mountain climbing does not qualify).
- Other sub Antarctic islands like Bouvet, Crozet, Kerguelen can be visited with the Norwegian or French supply ships respectively. Sometimes landing is forbidden due to bad weather or other political reasons.