St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia © Charles and Mary Love
October 21 – November 7, 2017
“The stark polar lands grip the hearts of men who have lived on them in a manner hardly understood by people who’ve never got beyond the pale of civilization.”
—Explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton
After two days at sea from Puerto Madryn, Argentina, we make a morning landing to observe birds near a small settlement on Carcass Island in the Falklands. The number of species in the Falklands (over 200) is impressive. These islands, we’re told, have more striated caracaras, slender-beaked prions and pale-mantled sooty albatrosses than anywhere else in the world..
Yes, there is summer in the polar regions!
Tourism to the seventh continent has expanded in popularity over the years, but the perception that there is little regulation of the industry has persisted. When larger cruise ships started to arrive and, specifically, after the sinking of the GAP Explorer in November 2007 (thankfully, everyone was safely evacuated) some commentators feared catastrophic accidents and the potential for environmental damage.
Antarctica is governed by an international treaty that came into force in 1961 and which is now signed by more than 50 nations. While the treaty is very good at ensuring the continent is maintained as a natural reserve, and has the intention of preserving the last unspoiled continent
Surf’s up! Hard to believe, but that's the reaction from a thankfully small (and ill-informed) group of people when the the Falkland Islands are mentioned – "some tropical island" in the South Atlantic. But this beautiful group of islands isn't about beach culture, unless you're referring to penguins. There's plenty else to talk about, and we could go back to 1690 when English Captain John Strong made the first recorded visit… but that’s an article for another time.
Humpback whales sing for their food. Who knew?
People worldwide have been captivated by the sound of humpback whales singing, and whether members of this species sing as a means of communication with each other or some other purpose. Our Greenland expedition cruise participants often ask this very question. Interestingly, scientists have recently discovered that an important purpose of the humpback whale's song is to help them locate their next meal.
Imagine steaming across thousands of miles of frigid, poorly charted waters, many of them made all the more dangerous by icebergs and sea ice. Imagine finally reaching land and then dealing with one of the driest, windiest and coldest places on earth. One completely void of indigenous peoples, man-made infrastructure or vegetation.
Although tropical destinations such as the Caribbean, Hawaii, and Tahiti typically rank high in a person’s mind for a getaway, approximately 30,000 travelers looking for a more adventurous destination reached the shores of Antarctica during the 2015-16 season. Rather than sandy beaches and palm trees, they were in search of remote landscapes, icebergs, and most of all, penguins. The latter's vast waddling populations are incredible to see, with the gentoo penguins outnumbering them all.
Poseidon Expeditions, like other tour operators that take you on adventure cruises to Antarctica, wants you to be comfortable during your trip. That’s easy aboard the ship where casual clothing is the norm in the lounge, dining room or lecture room. But adventure cruises to Antarctica require a bit of planning