05 Jan 2016 To the end of the world and back: Discovering Antarctica #TripOfALifeTime
It would be the trip of a lifetime; setting out from Ushuaia, Argentina, the Southernmost city in the world, cruising the Antarctic Peninsula while spotting fur-seals and Gentoo Penguins. Maybe it’s been on your bucket list for longer than you can remember, I know it’s been on mine! Though, financially, just not do-able…until now! The most spectacular voyage on the planet could be yours!
Oceanwide Expeditions is currently offering you the chance to snag a 30-day expedition through the Arctic and Antarctic valued at over $25,000. The journey between Ushuaia, Argentina and Bluff, New Zealand takes you through some of the most incredible landscapes on the face of our earth. Winning the trip of a lifetime is as easy as setting up a profile and getting twenty votes; you can find more information here.
Oceanwide Expeditions is a pioneer when it comes to exploratory voyages in the Arctic and Antarctica; they use a combination of small ice-strength vessels and helicopters to bring travellers to the magic. The trip’s vessel, Ortelius, is a balance between power and comfort; with the highest ice-class notation and room for 116 passengers plus plenty of open-deck space. On such a trip, you’re sure to become increasingly fascinated by the unique wilderness, wildlife and history of the places you venture to. Passenger safety is of the utmost importance and the itinerary will be guided by conditions. Some of the remote and hard to reach places might not be seen on every trip but the captain and crew work their hardest to make sure you have the ultimate bucket list adventure.
Well, to start with, history-buffs are going to love seeing the original hut where Norwegian explorer, Carsten Borchgrevink stayed in 1899. This became the first man-made structure ever built in Antarctica and is surrounded by the largest colony of Adelié penguins in the world. Voyagers also get to view Scott’s Hut, on the North shore of Ross island in Antarctica as well as Shackleton’s, which was used as a base for one of the earliest (and unsuccessful) attempts to reach the South pole between 1907 and 1909 led by Ernest Shackleton himself.
The landscapes are extreme, making it the perfect journey for adventure-seekers. Voyagers arrive at the Dry Valleys in the Transantarctic Mountains, also known as the world’s most extreme desert. Conditions here are the closest to those of Mars that you’ll find on our earth! If that’s not enough, you’ll also stop by and take a close look at the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest of its kind in Antarctica; it covers an area of roughly 487,000 square meters. Not to be forgotten, the trip also includes Peter I Island, an uninhabited volcanic island in the Bellinghausen sea which only a handful of people have set foot on.
For wildlife-lovers, the Ross Sea, a giant bay found South-east of New Zealand, is home to at least 10 species of mammals, 6 bird species, over 100 types of fish and around 1000 types of invertebrates. Being one of the last relatively untouched bodies of salt water, it’s like a looking-glass to the past. One of the definite highlights is getting up-close-and-personal with Emperor penguins hunting for their dinner between ice cracks. Diving to depths of up to 550 meters and staying under water for almost 20 minutes, these birds are something else! After marvelling at penguins, you’re more than likely to spot Orcas along the way!