Visiting Antarctica from Ushuaia

By Viator, September 2013

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There are more shades of white than you ever though imaginable. And greys, and blues. And a wide open sky, fantastical floating ice sculptures and glaciers dotted with penguins, taking care of their young, diving effortlessly into the water and clambering clumsily back up. This is what you will see in Antarctica, the least-visited of the seven continents, and for many people, a lifelong dream.

Cruises from Ushuaia are a convenient way to travel to Antarctica, and trips can last from one and a half weeks to 20 days and beyond. From your cozy berth, you can feel the ship’s motion, and know that at most times of the day, the sun will be shining brightly in the southern summer sky.

Shortly after leaving Ushuaia, you’ll see birdlife such as cormorants, the black-browed albatross and snow petrel. Later, from the deck or excursions you’ll see different species of penguins, such as rockhoppers, magellanic, gentoo, chinstrap, Adelie and king penguins, as well as whales, seals, and dolphins.

On board, experts including ornithologists and geologists give talks and take questions about what you’ll see, and the forces of water and wind and how they shaped the continent.

Excursions on zodiacs, get you even closer to glaciers and icebergs, and the to the thrill of disembarking on the white continent for the first time. Curious penguin chicks have been known to approach patient visitors on the pebbly beach at Fort Lockroy. Some get so close that you might actually have to zoom out to get them in your camera frame.

Some cruises from Ushuaia to Antarctica also include the Shetland, Falkland, or South Georgia Islands. Each of these has unique wildlife, and fascinating stories, such as the South Georgia Islands, where the explorer Ernest Shackleton was eventually rescued from a whaling station in 1916.

Cruise out of Antarctica as you cruised in, traversing the Drake Passage, which is famous for its rough seas, but can also easily be smooth sailing. Spend your last sunset on board looking out into the pinkish midnight sky, thinking of how you can possibly explain this adventure to friends and family back home.

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