THE SEVENTH CONTINENT

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Published on March 22, 2015 with No Comments

Icebergs, Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula.

Icebergs, Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula.
Picture 1 of 11

Land of extremes and boundless wonders.

Words EMMA RAMSAY
Images QUARK EXPEDITIONS

Antarctica: the great white continent and one of the last true wilderness areas on earth – largely unchanged since the early explorers. It is home to the world’s greatest concentration of wildlife, where penguins, seals and whales are the only permanent residents. With the Antarctic Peninsula, the last continent’s most northern region, the scenery is both breathtaking and surreal.

Antarctic tourism began as far back as 1891 with the first tourists being passengers on resupply ships to the sub-Antarctic islands. Today, it is estimated that several thousand tourists, as well as researchers, visit the continent each year. For tourists, that option includes expedition cruises such as icebreakers, luxuryships, research ships and sailing ships.

A visit to the Antarctic Peninsula, the largest ecosystem on earth, is a chance to immerse yourself in a vast array of wildlife. Gaze up at magnificent icebergs, explore islands guided by various species of penguin including chinstrap, gentoo and Adélie. Experience the awe-inspiring king penguin rookeries of South Georgia, the ‘Galapagos of the Poles’, as well as other incredible untamed wildlife in the unique and diverse archipelagos of the Southern Ocean.

The stark reality of the Antarctic cannot be described in mere words. The first sight of land itself that is embraced as the true beginning of any Antarctic expedition is enough to blow your mind. Just a glimpse of it and you will understand why this region has long captivated the attention of explorers and travellers alike. Amidst the peaceful silence of Antarctica, noisy interruptions become indelible memories such as penguins squabbling over prized pebbles or the boom and crack of a calving glacier in Neko Harbour.

There are a myriad of bays, channels and landing sites to explore. Scout for minke and humpback whales, or search for a number of the southern seal species, including the cunning leopard seal. Then take a moment to admire the majesty of the Peninsula’s mountains and appreciate how this region remains almost unchanged in thousands of years.

Quark Expeditions (www.quarkexpeditions.com) offers 10, 11 or 12 days expedition to discover the best of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Royal Brunei Airlines flies Dubai daily for connections to Ushuaia.

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