The mighty seventh continent is the last true wilderness of significant size and is as far away from human influence as it’s possible to get without leaving the planet. Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest place on Earth with no trees or rivers. Despite this, for a few weeks each year, its perimeter supports an astonishing array of life.
Thriving rookeries of noisy penguins adorn the summer shores patrolled by skua hunting for an easy meal. In the sea, millions of tiny krill support a thriving population of whale and seal species while in the air albatross soar on the ocean breeze.
Antarctica has a stark beauty which is without comparison. Ice-choked channels and snowy landscapes provide ever-changing scenes of beauty which are without comparison. Giant tabular icebergs calved from the edges of the ice shelf float majestically through the waves, their perfectly flat tops resembling giant aircraft carriers of epic proportions.
This icy land has long been a draw for adventurers and explorers. In the early 20th century the likes of Scott, Amundsen, Oates and Shackleton all pitted their wits and strength against the harsh conditions. Some of these famous explorers were to pay for their curiosity with their lives.
Today, with the advent of polar-rated expedition vessels, it is now possible for adventurous travellers to reach the edges of this remote region. To travel here is a real privilege; it’s a journey that those with an interest in the natural world should strive to do at least once.