Why visit Antarctica?! Reason No.3

Typically when someone mentions Polar expeditions, the word COLD / FREEZING COLD would pop up in conversation. As recent as August 2010, the temperature in Antarctica hit am all time low of -94.7C (-135.8F). However, with the recent Polar vortex dipping South along the Eastern seaboard in North America, Antarctica seems like a winter escape!

As those in the Southern Hemisphere enjoy Summer, expedition tours to Antarctica are in full swing – sometimes visiting Falkland islands and South Georgia islands along the way. The travel season to this region starts in early November and continue until March with departures typically from Ushuaia, Argentina and Invercargill, New Zealand.

Amongst the many tour companies, I chose to ring in 2013 aboard the Ocean Diamond which is operated by Quark Expedition. We departed from Ushuaia, Argentina and traveled through the Beagle Channel towards Isla Malvinas (Falkland Islands), South Georgia islands and the Antarctica peninsula. The voyage took 18 days and I enjoyed every minute of it.

It was a very special experience to welcome a new year in the middle of the ocean (between the Falklands and South Georgia) with a bunch of like-minded travelers, headed towards the 7th continent, as a single woman. Sometimes it can be tough to celebrate a special day, alone while traveling solo. However, this time around, I was surrounded by new friends and was part of the fun and celebration.

The views from the ship and from land made my jaw drop, repeatedly. On many occasion, I wish I had better photographic skills to do better justice. I did my best to capture the moment and atmosphere and hope you enjoy the view.

Sun rise at 4am in the Antarctic in early January (landscape - snow cap)

Sun rise at 4am in the Antarctic in early January.

Deception island has pockets of geothermal activity, an abandoned whaling station and cute penguins

Deception island has pockets of geothermal activity, an abandoned whaling station and cute penguins.

Deception island has pockets of geothermal activity, and an abandoned whaling station with giant storage tanks (Half moon bay)

An abandoned whaling station with giant storage tanks at Half moon bay, Deception island.

A stunning landscape of Antarctica and iceberg as reflected on the water surface (mirror)

A stunning landscape of Antarctica and iceberg as reflected on the water surface.

Waving farewell to Antarctica

Waving farewell to Antarctica

The beginning of sunset, close to midnight as we head back to South America

The beginning of sunset, close to midnight as we head back to South America

Sunset at midnight in Antarctica

Sunset at midnight in Antarctica

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