2 Destination Guide - 2 Antarctic

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Hanse Explorer safely takes you to the earth’s southernmost continent giving you entrée into a land of mystery, pristine serenity and unequalled beauty that have attracted explorers for decades. Known as the White Continent, Antarctica remains one of the few uninhabited places on earth, offering visitors an experience of unworldly stillness and an atmosphere found nowhere else.

Antarctica is a place with many faces. From the white peak of Mount Jackson to the green moss covered rocks by the sea, a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula is a discovery of unique contrast. See the huts built by explorers Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton in the 1900s on their quests to reach the South Pole. Visit scientific research stations and discover for yourself Antarctica’s important role in the health of our planet. Explore the Southern Ocean and discover the joy of mingling with King penguins on South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The Austral summer runs November through March and brings mild temperatures and 24-hours of sunlight, which make for optimal conditions for excursions and viewing wildlife. 

Antarctica’s personality changes with the passing of each summer month as the area comes alive with activity after a dark winter. Depending on the time of your visit, a landing at a penguin colony can offer a glimpse of courting rituals, the birth of baby chicks or an encounter with adolescent penguins curious to meet new visitors. An ice menagerie of sorts, Antarctica is home to a variety of wildlife including albatrosses, fur and leopard seals, sea elephants and several species of whale including humpback and minke.

Getting to Antarctica on Hanse Explorer is part of the experience. Most of our voyages depart from Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. Known as the gateway to the Antarctic, from Ushuaia it takes two days to cross the Drake Passage before reaching the Antarctic Peninsula. The Drake Passage is known to be unpredictable and crossing this legendary body of water is part of the adventure. Once we enter waters south of 60°S, an array of treasures come to light. Massive icebergs, stunning mountain scenery, magnificent ice shelves and century-old glaciers will leave you awestruck.

It has been said that spending time in Antarctica leaves one forever changed. None of the books you read nor photographs you see can prepare you for an encounter with the most mystical landscape in the world. Come discover for yourself the last vast wilderness on earth.

Points of Interest

  • The Falkland Islands are an archipelago located east of the Patagonian Coast, a great destination to ease visitors into the transition to the polar tundra. Comprised of over 776 islands, this area is home to a small population of Falkland Islanders and is heavily shaped by sounds and fjords. The Falkland Islands are breeding grounds for elephant seals, fur seals, sea lions and five species of penguins. White sand beaches, delicate flowers and clear blue skies speak to the wonder of nature that can be found here.
  • The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost point of mainland Antarctica and consists of a string of islands each with their own character. The Antarctic Peninsula is highly mountainous with glaciers that flow into numerous ice shelves. Visitors are surprised to see the moss covered rocks free of snow in the summer months. Travel the Wedell Sea, home to some of the most exciting ice navigation, spectacular icebergs and sunken ships of past explorers. Enjoy hiking in the South Shetland Islands, exploring the caldera of an active volcano on Deception Island and visiting scientific research stations. Several different species of seals and penguins can be found on the peninsula and the vocalizations of the Sei whale can be heard from the waters.
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands are a remote collection of islands in the southern Atlantic Ocean consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands. There are parts of the islands that are not always covered in snow, offering visitors a variety of views from snow-covered peaks to emerald green bays. This area is an oasis to large colonies of King Penguins and several other species of birds. Seals frequent the islands and whales are often spotted in the surrounding waters.