Pristine in its isolation and dramatically beautiful, Antarctica is covered in perpetual ice several kilometres thick. Its freezing waters teem with spectacular wildlife, pursuing a frenzied race to breed during the four short months of summer.
It takes several days to sail from Cape Horn to the Antarctic Peninsula, crossing the notorious Drake Passage in the wake of great polar explorers like Scott and Shackleton. No-one who experiences this extraordinary journey will forget their first glimpse of ice so dense it looks blue, the sheer walls and flat tops of huge tabular icebergs, massive ice shelves and glacial valleys, against a backdrop of mountains that have never been climbed.
Intrepid adventurers can paddle a kayak through the narrow channels between ice floes or camp ashore in the immense emptiness of an Antarctic night, falling asleep to the sounds of wind blowing and ice cracking.
Wildlife watching here is outstanding - sea birds, whales, dolphins and seals attracted by the millions of krill that stock the oceans in abundance. The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) are home to vast colonies of penguins, raising their chicks on white sand beaches, albatross, sea lions, orcas and elephant seals. Longer cruises can include South Georgia, a protected marine ecosystem of exceptional biodiversity with the largest king penguin rookery on earth.
Here are some of our Antarctica highlights
The wildlife is outstanding in Antarctica's surrounding oceans - penguins, whales, albatross and orcas are all long-established residents. Longer cruises also visit South Georgia, home to the largest king penguin rookery on earth.
Kayak around peaceful bays through narrow channels, admiring the icebergs and playful penguins. The more adventurous may like to try camping on the uninhabited white continent itself, an experience like no other.
Marvel at the icy blue structures floating along silently, each sculpted by the elements highlighting nature's grandeur. Antarctica is like no other place on earth, hauntingly beautiful and simply stunning.
The whole trip more than lived up to my expectations, thank you for all your help and patience in helping me to organise it, answering all my questions and making it all possible. I had a very good guide in Rio and the cruise to Antarctica was wonderful, we were very lucky with the weather and I have now have 1000's of photos to edit! One Ocean are an excellent operation, Ioffe a very comfortable ship and the staff and equipment were all very good. - MB