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Antarctica

Curious what backpackers do in Antarctica? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • In the morning we arrived near Laurie island of the Orkney Islands but sadly after waiting a while in the bay there was no possibility to land on Orkney. The military station had agreed to receive us (Argentinian station) but we only could see the settlement from the ship. There was to much wind and it was very foggy also. We saw the Adeli penguins smiling and waving at us when we left... and we sailed past a lot of icebergs. From here it was the rest of the day at Sea to get to the Antarctic Peninsula. We had some more bad news about the Wedell Sea we where heading to and because of the wind the crew asked us this: Why do we make plans? With the answer directly shown on the presenation: To change them. So the plans changed again. We now headed for the west side of the Peninsula. During this day we saw some more whales and Penguins in the water but also a whole group of at least 100 Penguins passed us by on a big piece of ice haha. So awesome 😆. We had a lecture about the 400 million years of geology of Antarctica which was very interesting. Before dinner we had an auction to support the care for the wildlife on South Georgia. This was hilarious and well done by Adam one of the expedition staff especially when the Chinese joined the bidding. Through translation and funny remarks the prices went up from 20 dollar to over the 200 dollar haha. For a good cause and a lot of entertainment. After diner and some beers time for a good nights rest, save the energy for Antarctica😉 here we come.Read more

  • This morning we started early again. A little before six we were woken by the voice of Sebastian and without breakfast we climbed down the gangway towards the zodiacs. Overnight the captain had moved the ship around the corner towards Orne Harbour. Here we went for a zodiac cruise. This little, ice-filled bay was surrounded by glaciers and snow-covered mountains. Close to the shores we found several small colonies of Chinstrap Penguins blending in colonies of Antarctic Shags. It always amazes seeing these creatures walk around or just stand in the snow. Even on the high ridges we saw penguin colonies. They favour those places as they are free of snow earlier in the year. After 1.5 hour it was time to go back to the ship to enjoy our well deserved breakfast 😎.
    Little time off because right after breakfast we were close to Danco Island, close to Cuverville, where we landed the night before. It was time again to go into the zodiacs to have a landing at Danco. As this little island was completely covered in snow the expedition team had brought snowshoes ashore. With these under our rubber boots we climbed up the hill to enjoy more Gentoo Penguin colonies and the view we had over the channel.
    I started somewhere halfway the group but soon I was used to these new toys under my feet and walked up to the front and arrived firsg with 3 other Dutch Die Hards and 2 Aussies. Time for some pano's (panoramic shots) and make use of the few people on this dome shaped Island. When it got crowded after a long time I headed back and noticed that not even a third had reached the top. I took my time down hill to shoot Penguins 😇. And actually really wanted my snowboard haha.
    Just after I arrived at the bottom I had a good view on a spectacular avalanche, fortunately on the mainland and not on our little island. Those who went on a short zodiac cruise almost got stuck in the ice, but were rewarded by our first Weddell Seal.
    I had time to walk around to where the Penguins got on land and dried up and took some nice shots there also before heading back 😊.
    Lunchtime but we were up so long already it felt more like dinner. After lunch I put on some sunscreen and as we found out a few days later, everybody was to late in doing this and burned (some really bad). We went out for another time. This time the group was split in half. Half of the group went ashore close to the Argentine station Almirante Brown. This station was not in use at the moment, at least not by humans. It looked like it was taken over by Gentoo Penguins. For those who wanted a bit more exercise like me it was possible to climb the hill to a viewpoint over Paradise Bay, something that was well worth the effort. But the most important thing about this landing was that it was on the continent of Antarctica. For me this whole part of the trip is Arctica and feels as a different world and continent but this landing is really Antarctica. So for me it is my seventh and thus last continent, I Have Been There, Done That 😉. It's not done for sure but I have seen all the continents of the world😆.
    But before this ( I was in the other half of the group) we were taken on a zodiac cruise into Skontorp Cove. Originally we would go to portal point but because of the wind it was now a combined cruise and landing 😉 not bad, not bad.
    This little bay was filled with ice again and surrounded by steep mountains with jagged peaks and spectacular glaciers. For several of the expedition staff this is the most beautiful place on Antarctica or maybe even on Earth and soon we understood why. When the zodiac drivers switched off the engines we could just sit and enjoy this awe-inspiring landscape and listen to the silence, something we don’t have at home. At a closer look we even found some Crabeater and Weddell Seals hauling out on the snow. After a too short period we had to change and the people who had just made the landing went on the zodiac cruise and vice versa. I was on the second group to land, but before we did this we had a great show of Penguins launching themselves more than a meter above sealevel to land (in most of the times😂😈) with a perfect landing on a slope of ice/ snow. When I did land on Antarctica I climbed to the top and wanted to set a record on my sports app. As many km as possible and a sprint as fast as possible. Since running was a bitch in the deep tricky snow I ran downwards and fell on max speed face forward. Awesome faceplant in the fresh snow, I loved it. Also we made a slide on one part and tried to slide down fast, headfirst went quicker than on my bum for sure 😆.
    After more walking we had to go back on board for a recap followed by dinner. After dinner many people went straight to bed happy and satisfied, but also tired after a long day in beautiful sunshine. I went to celebrate in the bar and check out the new footage 😉. Cheers.
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  • This morning, from the Antartic Peninsula we followed the islands on the portside heading back north. The Captain pointed the ship straight at the side of an island called: Deception island and is like Santorini also one that is accessible by boat all the way to the heart. It's an active vulcano with only a very narrow gap in its shores, Neptunes Bellows, just wide enough for us and on the other side opened the calm waters of Port Foster. Port foster is the sunken centre of an active volcano caldera that collapsed 10 000 years ago. An obvious choice to establish sealing and whaling operations as well as scientific and military bases, Port Foster has been used as a safe haven since 1820 when it was discovered. Since then a number of eruptions, notably in the late 1960s, most operations decided the risk of another eruption required prudence leaving only a Spanish base active in the caldera today. We however threw caution to the wind and sailed to the far end of Port Foster to Telefon Bay, where we stretched our legs and gained some elevation finding spectacular views above the ship.
    We walked first around on of the smaller crater edges and from there back to the valley to watch the few Seals and Penguins.
    A short sail next door and we landed at Pendulum Cove where the bravest amongst us 😆 stripped down to their swim suits and plunged themselves into the icy Antarctic waters. There were a few sick people on board and in combination with sea sickness only 20 people went in and I hoped that every body could manage to stay healthy. Most of the swimmers were in and out the water and a few went not under or even knee deep.... I decided to first try and pull Adam from the staff in (but not really 😉)and went all in and for a good crawl. While moving the cold was all right but after a minute the fun was over. I could easily swim more but I should be smart and warm up 😉 it was only 2degrees 😨.Thankfully the floor was warmed because of the vulcanic activity and that felt really good (we need that at the newyears dive😉) So I did got out and after having fun with the swimmers I dressed warmly and took some pictures on the beach with penguins in the mist. After 15 min I went back to the ship for the last time and we set sail north, bound for Ushuaia. Livingston island on our port side gave us a fantastic farewell from the icy continent under blue sunny skies.
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  • Wow this is truly one of natures best preserved creations, this whole day I was aware of the true beauty of this continent. Only a few people set foot on this land and you can't find much trace of that. Maybe a little settlement in the distance sometimes. This contentinent is ruled by nature and what lives here are: seals, penguins, whales and birds.
    Today we did a zodiac cruise at Cierva Cove in the morning which was amazing from the start with beautifull icebergs and filmed this from really close and under water also. We saw a few crabeater seals and a leopard seal that stole the show of all the Zodiacs. It apperently had caught a Penguin which he was playing with untill the boats arrived. He hid it somewhere under the ice and began chasing and inspecting the zodiacs😃. Very photogenetic animal also but also very curious and biting the zodiacs to see what it is. It stayed and follow our Zodiac most of all and we loved it.
    When we were back on the boat I resisted to watch the footage and enjoyed the spectacular view😆.
    Than we had a few hours on the ship going through the strait to try and land on the actual continent but this wasn't possible because of too much ice over there. So we went a few hours more to the Gentoo Penguin colonies at Cuverville island this was also a great experience. The sun went behind the mountains at that time but the Penguins were really active all the time. Some were walking up the hills to higher colonies other were chasing each other out of their area😈. Others were sliding down the hill or moving from the sea to the kolonies. Swimming Penguins enough also and than you see that they are made for swimming and not walking or flying. They swim very fast and jump out really easy.
    At one point Rebecca was taking a picture of a Penguin and this one was getting closer and closer and decided to lay down within her reach and just stare back at her and checking her out. Hilarious to see and good for a few nice pics and film 😆. This happens when you stay relaxed and sit down which if everybody did it would lead to even better experiences but some cultures like to walk up to all animals and take selfies while you see the Penguins running away. Thankfully we had more people respecting nature than not.
    We spend there a long time and we went back at 9PM and it was still light haha😃. An amazing day, if whole Antartica is like this.... bring it on 😍.
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  • Dag 6 - Neko Harbour & Stony Point / Brown Island
    Nadat we om 4 uur snachts wakker zijn gemaakt om weer terug te mogen naar de boot, zijn we nog even snel onze bedjes in gedoken. Deze ochtend was er ook een mogelijkheid voor een nieuwjaarsduik, maar daar leek het ons toch iets te koud voor.

    De eerste landing was naar Neko Habour en was een speciale. Alle voorgaande landingen zijn op eilanden geweest en zijn we voor het eerst op het vaste land. Nu hebben we echt officieel alle 7 continenten bezocht. Met sneeuwschoenen aan zijn we de berg opgelopen voor weer een fantastisch mooi uitzicht. Grappig dat we tijdens het schrijven eigenlijk al niet meer aan de pinguïns denken, omdat het nu al zo normaal dat we er elke dag honderden zien. Het weer was echt top en dus hebben we ons toch laten verleiden om een duik te nemen in het koude water. Volgens de gidsen ben je namelijk niet écht op Antarctica geweest als je kopje onder bent gegaan. Het water was inderdaad best wel koud, maar daarna was het eigenlijk best wel warm alleen in je onderbroek op het vaste land.

    In de middag maken we onze eerste zodiaccruise rondom Brown Island. Hier staat een Argentijnse basis en tijdens de cruise zien we vooral heel veel vogels. Nu hebben we tijdens het noemen van de namen niet heel goed opgelet dus welke soorten het exact waren, kunnen we niet meer navertellen. Nadat we aan land zijn gegaan hebben we een klein rondje gelopen en zijn we de berg afgegleden.

    Kennen jullie trouwens het verhaal van die 2 Nederlanders die alleen met een waterdichte wandelbroek naar Antarctica gaan? Die hebben echt heel veel geluk gehad met het hele goede warme en droge weer.

    Dag 7 - Lemaire Channel & Port Charcot
    Doordat het weer zo goed is, durft de kapitein het aan om te proberen door de Lemaire Channel te varen. Deze ligt normaal vol met ijs en er drijven ijsschotsen in die groter dan de boot zijn en de weg kunnen blokkeren. Globalwarming heeft het ijs deels laten smelten, maar de ijsschotsen lagen te veel in de weg om doorgang te bieden. Ellen heeft nu haar bergbeklimsessie en Robert gaat op een zodiac door de ijsblokken heen. Nu merk je dat als Ellen er niet bij is Robert niet meer 100% kan functioneren. Hij had geen zin om de cameratas mee te nemen en dus ging hij op pad zonder reservebatterij. Dit verklaart waarom we maar foto's hebben van de eerste 20 minuten en sommige foto's die we al gedeeld hebben, geleend hebben van het Zwitserse stel.

    Meer zuidelijk zijn we niet meer gegaan en de boot is daarna weer terug gegaan naar het noordelijke Port Charcot. Hier zijn we weer aan land gegaan voor onze tweede continentale landing. Boven op de berg was het uitzicht echt super mooi en hebben we tevens alle 3 verschillende soorten pinguïns die we zouden kunnen zien ook daadwerkelijk gezien.

    Dag 8 - Orne Harbour & Enterprise Islands
    In de ochtend stond onze kajaktrip gepland, maar de gids had de vorige dag tijdens het in het water laden van de kajaks 3 kajaks op haar been gekregen en dus kon de dokter weer aan de slag. Helaas voor ons mocht ze niet meer de kajak in en dus hebben we helaas niet meer kunnen kajakken.

    In plaats van het kajakken hebben we een zodiac cruise gedaan met de Zwitserse gids André. Het eerste deel was vrij rustig maar na een korte detour kwamen de zeehonden in zicht. Hier hebben we goed naar kunnen kijken voordat we terug werden geroepen om aan land te komen.
    Op land hebben we chinstrap pinguïns kunnen zien inclusief hun baby's. Vanaf de berg hebben we ook nog een mooi uitzicht gehad over de baai én een walvis die even hoi kwam zeggen. Ellen kon het niet laten en is de berg nog een keer afgegleden. Je bent maar 1 keer jong toch?

    In de middag mochten we weer de zodiac in stappen en werden we eerst naar een scheepswrak van een walvisboot gebracht. Om later zelf op zoek te gaan naar walvissen. En dat hebben we gelukkig geweten! Er waren al 2 walvissen vanaf de boot gespot maar in totaal waren er 4 grote en 1 baby in de baai aanwezig. Na een half uurtje waren deze gevonden en kon de fotosessie beginnen. We zaten in de boot van de marinebioloog en al snel wisten we waar de walvissen naar boven zouden komen. Waar de rest van de zodiacs naar links gingen, gingen wij rechts en voeren we bijna letterlijk bovenop de walvissen. Het enige dat ontbrak was een high-five met deze vrienden.

    Dag 9 - Halfmoon Island & Robert Point (South Shetland Islands)
    Hadden we al vermeld dat we geluk hadden met het weer? Tot nu toe leek de cruise namelijk meer op een zonnige wintersport vakantie en dus was de Russische kapitein in een goede bui. Het schema liet het toe dat we nog naar de South Shetland Islands konden gaan. In de ochtend kwamen we aan op Halfmoon Island waar de weergoden ons eindelijk het echte Antarctica weer lieten meemaken. De zon was weg en de sneeuw kwam horizontaal op je af. We zouden eerst gaan bergbeklimmen, maar deze activiteit werd ingeruild voor de training: 'hoe te overleven in een sneeuwstorm?'. We weten nu hoe je een sneeuwgrot kan graven en welke kleding je wel (en wat ook niet) mee moet nemen.

    Als kers op de taart zijn we smiddags nog naar Robert Island gegaan. Beter kan je Antarctica niet afsluiten! Hier waren vele zeeleeuwen te vinden en ondanks de ruige zee heeft Robert voet aan land mogen zetten op zijn eigen eiland. Dit werd dan ook charmant gedaan door middel van een kleine uitglijer in de pinguïn poep.

    Helaas tijd om terug naar land te gaan!

    Dag 10 - Drake Passage
    Gisteravond zijn we na het eten vertrokken richting Argentinië. Nog heel even dachten we dat de overtocht 24 uur zou zijn, maar ook terug is dit gewoon 48 uur varen. De 'Drake' was nu iets minder rustig en hebben we de golven van 5 meter hoog mogen voelen. Er werden weer interessante presentaties gegeven en we mochten meegenieten van een videopresentatie van een reis die 3 Chinese broers hebben gemaakt van Alaska naar Antarctica.

    Dag 11 - Drake passage & Cape Ho(o)rn(y)
    Alles went en zelfs deze golven wennen. Rond een uur of 4 kwamen de meest zuidelijke eilanden in zicht (genaamd Diego Ramirez Island Group) welke vaak worden overgeslagen op weg terug. We hadden zelfs tijd over en daarom vervolgde de kapitein de koers richting Kaap Hoorn. Het meest bekende zuidelijkste puntje van Zuid-Amerika, maar nu weten jullie ook voor tijdens Triviant dat dit niet klopt. Aan de kindertafel werd dit al snel omgedoopt tot Cape Horny, bij de gidsen beter bekend als gay porn. Tja.. Je hebt wel wat tijd over tijdens de terugreis. Nadat we Kaap Hoorn voorbij waren werden we nog even vergezeld door wat dolfijnen.

    Een perfecte afsluiting van een super mooie trip.

    Helaas moeten we de volgende ochtend weer van boord en worden de backpacks weer ingepakt.. We staan weer met beide zeebenen aan wal.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Antarctica, Antarktis, Antarktika, አንታርክቲካ, القطب الجنوبي, এন্টাৰ্টিকা, Антарктыка, Антарктика, এন্টার্কটিকা, ལྷོ་རྩེའི་མཐའ་གླིང་།, Antàrtida, Antarktida, ཨེན་ཊཱག་ཊི་ཀ, Antartica nutome, Ανταρκτική, Antarkto, Antártida, Antartika, جنوبگان, Antarctique, An Antartaice, એન્ટાર્કટિકા, אנטארקטיקה, अंटार्कटिका, Antarktik, Antarktisz, Suðurskautslandið, Antartide, 南極, ანტარქტიკა, Qalasersuaq Kujalleq, ಅಂಟಾರ್ಟಿಕಾ, 남극 대륙, ئانتارکتیکا, Антарктик, അന്‍റാര്‍ട്ടിക്ക, अंटार्क्टिका, အန္တာတိက, अन्टारतिका, Antartica, ଆର୍ଣ୍ଟକଟିକା, Antarktyka, انتارکتیکا, Антарктида, Antárktis, ඇන්ටාක්ටිකාව, Antaktika, அண்டார்டிகா, అంటార్కటికా, แอนตาร์กติกา, ʻAnitātika, انٹارکٹیکا, Nam Cực, 南极洲, i-Antarctica