Stunning Antarctica | A Photo Essay
Antarctica remains the most stunning place I have ever traveled to in my life. The massive glaciers, mountainous landscape and abundant wildlife are unlike any place I have been since. It is visited by approximately 30,000 people per year (compared to over 30 million for Paris or 4 million for Yosemite National Park) and, thanks to the efforts of the IAATO, is the focus of some of the most strict conservation efforts and tourism regulations in the world.
Many people think that it’s a barren landscape (it IS a desert, after all!) with little to see, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are some of my favorite images from Antarctica to give you an idea of the stunning beauty it has to offer.
These zodiacs were our primary form of transportation, taking us from ship to shore on every excursion. Sometimes we would just stay in the zodiacs themselves and cruise around.
My First Antarctica Photos
This was the first piece of ice we saw after crossing the Drake Passage, and it was over a mile wide! The caves inside were enormous and filled with sea birds flying in and out of them.
A Variety Of Wildlife
There are penguins everywhere you look, even in the most remote places. This lone penguin found a stunning blue iceberg to hang out next to, and even struck a nice pose for me!
They often go out away from the colonies in groups for protection. These two really had each others’ backs! These were my favorite type of penguin, Adelies, which I always thought looked like they had googly eyes glued to their heads.
There’s plenty of other wildlife in Antarctica, with Weddell seals being a common fixture at many destinations there. This one was caught by surprise by our zodiac and had to sneak a peek!
Our expedition even had a group of 14 Humpback whales put on a 2 hour show to welcome us to the continent. Our captain stopped the ship while the whales spent 2 hours breaching and circling us in a secluded bay. It was an unforgettable display.
Every Iceberg Like A Snowflake
There is no shortage of incredible icebergs in Antarctica, and you’ll never see two identical ones. They vary in shape from beautiful arches to hulking giants to something that looks like an alien ship. It’s more fun than picking out shapes in the clouds!
Even though the entire continent of Antarctica is a desert, the landscapes vary dramatically. Every place we stopped offered a completely different view than the last.
The Daily Grind
Daily life in Antarctica is a bit different from what you and I might be used to. All animals must fight for survival, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy their lives. From sunbathing to swimming and general socializing, they find plenty of ways to fill their time.
An Unforgettable Adventure
Antarctica was the most unforgettable travel experience I’ve ever had. Beyond the wildlife, I’ve had the best memories formed. We spent New Year’s surrounded by pack ice under the midnight sun in a hot tub, camped on the continent overnight in nothing but a bivy bag, and went swimming in freezing waters. I hope to return someday, and hope these pictures helped inspire your travels as well.