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Visit Antarctica - An Online Tour

by: Annette M. Hall

Glacier located in Antarctica - Photo taken Jan. 31, 2005 [Click for enlarged view]

Popular Tourist Destination

Antarctica has recently become, amazingly enough, a popular tourist attraction. These popular cruises to the frozen land of Antarctica average around 12-days and the cost for such an adventure runs between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on the length of the tour and the accomodations you require.

The ship shown here is named the "Explorer II" and carries a staff and crew of 146 to accommodate 198 passengers on it's voyages. The Explorer II is equipped to handle the open-water cruising and icy channels of Antarctic seas. Her speed, ice-strengthened hull, stabilizers and bow thrusters give her the power, stability and agility necessary to ensure a safe, smooth passage for all on board.

Antarctica Cruise Ship [Click for enlarged view]

Once thought to be an immense wasteland, this frozen land is a whirlwind of wildlife set amidst breathtaking geography. The backdrop of hanging glaciers, massive blue-tinged icebergs, and magnificent near-vertical mountains astound even the most seasoned traveler. A journey to Antarctica is truly a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to the last unspoiled continent on earth.

Penguins

Located far below the southern tip of South America the awe-inspiring continent of Antarctica is home to vast colonies of penguins covering rolling hills of ice, great whales feed in the nutrient-rich waters, and millions of fur seals spend their days lounging about on drifting ice floes.

Antarctica is home to 17 species of Penguins. Penguins are flightless birds which have adapted to living in the cooler waters of the Southern Hemisphere. Some species spend as much as 75% of their lives in the ocean, yet they all breed on land or sea-ice attached to the land.

Chinstrap Penguins [Click for enlarged view]

The birds pictured here are called Chinstrap Penguins, and are the most numerous penguins in the world. Around 12 to 13 million chinstrap penguins live on the barren islands of the sub-Antarctic Region and the Antarctic Peninsula. These penguins live and breed in large colonies. They often live on large icebergs on the open ocean.

Antarctic penguins are highly social birds which usually breed in large colonies called "rookeries". Healthy adult penguins have no predators on land, as such they have no natural fear of humans. While they don't like to be approached directly, they will sometimes come quite close to a quiet observer due to their own natural curiosity.

Mt. Erebus - Volcano

Mount Erebus is only one of the many volcanoes located in Antartica, it has an elevation of 12,444 feet as is located on Ross Island in the Ross Sea. Erebus is an active volcano with a convecting lava lake within a summit crater. It has been continuously active since 1972. Most eruptions are small and Strombolian in character, tossing bombs onto the crater rim.

Several other volcanoes, which have erupted on Antarctica this century are:

  • Penguin Island
  • Deception Island
  • Buckle Island

Notes:

This page is intended to offer resources for the student facinated with Antarctica, seeking more information on the subject. It will be updated as time allows on a daily to weekly basis. The pictures included here were all taken by Herb Coleman on a recent trip to Antarctica. Many thanks to Herb for sharing his wonderful work with us, more will be added shortly, so check back soon. Thank you for your interest in Antarctica.