News & Features
EXPLORING ANTARCTICA WITH PONDERS TRAVEL & QUARK EXPEDITIONS
It’s only been since the 60s that members of the general public were able to travel to the very south of our planet, and since then, every year has seen more and more people hungry to visit this notably unique landscape.
For most, Antarctica is a dream – a once in a lifetime adventure – which is why it’s so important to choose the right trip, the best experience for you, so that you can get the most of your time in the most spectacular and otherworldly place that earth has to offer.
Expect the Unexpected
A cruise to Antarctica is unlike the leisure cruises that sail anywhere else in the world. Usually, you can expect a set itinerary telling you where you will be and at what time you will arrive there, with a little room for change worked in there for good measure. In Antarctica, this simply isn’t possible. The weather is unpredictable and with each season the landscapes can change; sometimes in slight ways, sometimes dramatically. The captain and expedition leader will do everything in their power to show you as many landing sites as possible, but don’t go down to Antarctica anticipating to see a very specific place.
Schedule changes are common, but for everything that changes you’ll be shown something else incredible just around the corner.
You might look at the barren white glaciers and snow crusted mountains and think that Antarctica is void of life, but you’d be wrong. The continent hosts an abundance of fauna and even flora, if you know where to look! The Antarctic Sea is home to a slowly rising population of whales (after the catastrophic decrease at the hands of the whaling industry in the 20th century), an abundance of seals, a cacophony of penguins, thousands of other seabirds, and an estimated over 700 trillion Krill!
Everywhere you go there are the signs and sounds of life. Whether from the thousands of Gentoo and Adelie penguins in Petermann Island (and many other colonies around the peninsula!) or the huffing of Humpbacks surfacing to take their breaths in the otherwise silent Crystal Sound, I can personally attest that it’s all around you, wherever you are.
Soak in the Knowledge
You don’t have to be an expert in the polar regions to enjoy a trip to Antarctica, as Millie reports:
“Travelling with Quark is synonymous with living inside a nature documentary. Landings and continent aside, the one part of the whole experience that impressed me most was just how cleverly the expedition team utilize your time so you can learn as much as possible.
Before coming to Antarctica, I could never distinguish between the different types of penguins and other sea birds, I couldn’t tell whales apart, nor the various seals living there.
During our time onboard crossing the Drake, we explored landscapes, glaciers, katabatic winds and icebergs. We discovered the history of polar exploration. We learned so much about the flora and fauna of Antarctica that by the time we’d reached the continent, we were all pointing to the Storm Petrels, Humpbacks, Leopard seals, Adelies, and so much more, calling them by name as if we were now the experts.
The expedition team are what sets Quark aside from any others. They are the only company with their own dedicated training programme that attracts the best of the best. I’ve never met a group of people quite so passionate about what they do. They immerse themselves in your experience and utterly made our trip what it was.”
FIND OUT MORE:
Millie Windeler from Ponders Travel visited in February with Quark Expeditions - leading experts on Polar expedition cruises, and here are her tips to get the best out of your experience…