South Shetland, Deception Island Chinstrap penguins seen during Antarctic travel. Photo by Godot13
Best time to go to the Antarctic Circle?
Best: December, January (summertime, usually -2C to -5C)
OK: November, February and March.
Worst : April – October (seriously cold and windy, with world records for both! )
Length of stay:
Minimum worthwhile stay in Antarctica, not including flights or sail time: 3-4 days in any area where wildlife is active at that time of year.
Recommended: 1 week or more for a full wildlife experience.
Antarctic Circle downsides
Antarctic blue ice on Lake Fryxell, Transantarctic Mountains.
– Danger. These seas are neither particularly well charted nor free of icebergs so choose your ship with great care. See ‘beware’ below.
– Generally inhospitable climate with negligible habitation means that safe solo travel is impossible.
– Seasickness: most if not all tours to the Antarctic will be via either a largish cruise ship or a specialist expeditionary vessel, but if you’re prone to motion sickness then you could have a problem, especially during the rollercoaster Drake Passage section of the 600 miles from South America.
– Cold: those with circulatory problems or a heart condition should take extra precautions against the cold, though summers at the edge of the region are reasonably mild.
Take a walk among Gentoo penguins, king penguins, adele penguins, chinstrap penguins, rockhopper penguins, Orca whales, fur seals, elephant seals, weddell seals, crabeater seals, birds, and more. Photo by Steve who did just that!
Shore Visits: to view wildlife from another perspective, to examine geological features or to experience frostbite from close up.
Zodiac inflatable boat tripsto get closer to whales, seals, glaciers and icebergs will be on offer from good tour operators.
Sea Kayakingis another less common but more discreet way to get closer to nature.
The Antarctic circle currently remains the least spoilt place on earth and yet its creatures are already under threat from global warming. Please ensure that you are travelling with a tour operator who is sensitive to this and be aware that your presence there is as a privileged guest of mother nature.
Tourism in Antarctica is, in fact, having a positive effect on pollution there, since much of it is produced by careless scientists who have now had to clean up their act.