Polar

10 Unexpected Experiences in Antarctica

It’s the trip that takes you to the end of the earth on an experience of a lifetime. It will leave your mind searching for words to describe what you’ve just seen.

There’s something about the polar regions that instantly attracts my attention. Perhaps it’s the impression of being the ultimate blank canvas? Or the beauty of a seemingly minimalist landscape, when compared with other continents’ fragmented urban landscapes. Or is it perhaps the knowing you can discover something new every day you are there?

Either way, I went on the hunt for someone who could quench my thirst for more knowledge of the frozen continent. And I found him in Birmingham, England.

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT TRAVEL IN ANTARCTICA

Andrew Kerr visited the Antarctic a few years ago, and kindly agreed to splice together some of his spellbinding imagery with a run down of ten of the most unexpected experiences from his time down there.

Odd light in Antarctica.

The shimmering the skies of Antarctica echo the ship’s spotlights | © Andrew Kerr All Rights Reserved

  1. It’s not that cold all the time. On board the ship, a thermal layer and a t-shirt was often enough.
  2. Seals can be huge. A torpedo-like leopard seal can reach over 10ft long, while a 13ft long elephant seal can stand taller than a man.
  3. Antarctica is incredibly colorful; the whites, blues and greens of the ice, and the bright pink of the abundant penguin excrement create a surreal wilderness that’s shades away from pure white.
Penguins in Antarctica

Penguin poo stains the Antarctic carpet! | © Andrew Kerr All Rights Reserved

  1. The Aurora Australis (Southern Lights) are not the only amazing effects you can witness in Antarctica. From 24-hour daylight, to blocks of cloud like skyscrapers, there are several phenomena you’ll never see outside the polar regions.
  2. The two day ocean crossing from Argentina to the Antarctic peninsula crosses Drake Passage, one of the roughest bodies of water in the world. Tip: Remember your sea sickness tablets. Maybe just knock yourself out until you are there?
  3. Even the cheapest trips to Antarctica are relatively luxurious compared to travel elsewhere. The ships serve three meals a day and come complete with bars, gyms, libraries, and even saunas!
Iceberg in Antarctica

The various shades of the Antarctic ice | © Andrew Kerr All Rights Reserved

  1. Antarctica can be pretty noisy. Listen out for the creaking of glaciers; the squawking of skuas; and the crashing waves of the mighty Southern Ocean.
  2. An Antarctic swim is an excellent way to clear your head. Just don’t stay in too long!
  3. It does rain in Antarctica — at least it does now on the Antarctic peninsula. Climate change is affecting the poles faster than anywhere else.
  4. Penguins are active, and will always provide an element of the unexpected. Look out for them surfing into land off an ocean wave, or their specialty: synchronized downhill belly slides!
Seals in Antarctica

These resident Weddell seals can dive up to 2000 feet under water | © Andrew Kerr All Rights Reserved

I certainly didn’t expect some of Andrew’s revelations about Antarctica! In my mind’s eye, it was a land of purity and innocence; cast in brilliant, unending white and unimaginably cold. But learning the above, it’s a veritable hotpot of surprises.

Ready to go to the end of the world to see it for yourself? Then you’ve come to the right place!

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