Departing November to March
Antarctica, the coldest, windiest, and driest continent at the bottom of the world is surrounded by icy water on all sides. The waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans swirl around this land mass in a wind driven fury. These ocean waters are isolated from a body of water known as the Southern Ocean by an oceanographic phenomenon called the Antarctic Convergence. The Southern Ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60 degrees south latitude which coincides with the Antarctic Treaty Limit. The Southern Ocean is an important element of the biology of the continent and of the climate. Indeed, this body of water affects the meteorological patterns of the entire globe.
Most visitors to Antarctica journey across a narrow stretch of water separating South America and the Antarctic Peninsula known as the Drake Passage. Others cross from points in Australia and South Africa. Those who journey south will pass through the ‘roaring forties’ and then the ‘furious fifties’, colourful monikers for longitudinal lines indicating the southern progress towards the ice kingdom of Antarctica. After voyaging through the ‘screaming sixties’, the continent becomes visible. These ominous terms come from the sailors who have made these difficult journeys in the past.
What to see and when
EARLY SUMMER – November and Early December
- The most awe- inspiring time to visit.
- Large numbers of animals migrating in readiness for courtship.
- Huge volumes of ice and pristine snow.
- Incredible courtship displays in the penguin colonies.
- Active fur seal courtship on South Georgia.
- Spring flowers bloom on the Falkland Islands.
FULL SUMMER – Mid December and January
- Antarctica’s warmest months.
- The first penguin chicks hatch on South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
- Mid-December the first chicks hatching in Antarctica.
- Seal pups are visible on South Georgia.
- Longer days, more daylight, stunning photos at midnight!
LATE SUMMER – February and March
- This is the best time for whale- watching.
- Ice allows exploration further south along the Peninsula.
- Penguin colonies display adult birds fetching krill and feeding their chicks.
- Fur seals most common along the Antarctic Peninsula.
- Young fur seals at their most playful on South Georgia.
- Penguin chicks begin to fledge.