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Antarctica general information

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Antarctica

img_301Antarctica is an ecological wonder that bewitches explorers, scientists and voyagers alike.Getting to know and contemplate this yet unexplored continent has been the goal and dream of many adventurers that are not satisfied with simply imagining how it would feel like to traverse its ice caps and who have made up their minds to enter this wildlife paradise.

The Antarctic Continent keeps many hidden surprises for those who visit it. This Fascinating territory contains more than 90% of the earth´s land ice, which transforms it into the largest sweet water reserve on earth. Antarctica has the singularity of being the continent that remained hidden from man during the longest period of time and thus, its first visitors arrived at these virgin frozen lands only two hundred years ago.Its matchless beauty contrasts with extreme climate conditions, all of which makes it an exotic destination, truly hypnotizing for those few that reach this far away corner of the universe.Among the main species that make up marine Antarctic fauna are Whales, Elephant Seals, Weddell Seals, Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, apart from the variety of birds, such as Albatrosses, Petrels and Snowy Sheathbills.In this enchanting adventure not only will you have the opportunity of coming into contact with animals unique in their species, but will also enjoy the awesome scenery made up by glaciers, mountain and roaming icebergs. An amazing panorama that can only be found in Antarctica

Origin

img_303It is the fifth continent and the last one to be discovered. In 1912, the German geologist, Alfred Wegener, assumed the theory that Antarctica had been part of a great land mass called Gondwana, from which it broke away some 225 million years ago, during the Permian (Paleozoic Era) geological period.

Geography
Antarctica is located in the entire area south of the 60th parallel. Its surface spans a bit more than 14,000,000km². Its diameter is close to 4,000km. It is divided into two sectors: Major Antarctica or Eastern Antarctica, the widest and oldest, and Minor Antarctica, or Western Antarctica, of recent formation characterized by its curved tail which points north like a serpent and its known as the Antarctic Peninsula.

It has two seas of its own: the Weddel and Ross Seas, with their corresponding bays. More than 90% of its territory is covered by ice. It is the highest of all the continents, with an average altitude of 2,250m and peaks that frequently reach above 3,000m. It is also an important factory of winds: its system rules the climate of the entire planet, especially in the Southern Hemisphere.

img_304Climate
It has the coldest and harshest climate in the world. Average temperatures in the interior of Antarctica vary between -70° and -40°C during the cold month of August, and between -15° and -45°C in the warmer month of February. Coastal temperatures are higher, from -32° to -15°C in winter ,and between -5° and 5°C in summer months, these being the highest temperatures that are registered in the Antarctic Peninsula.

Discovery
The existence of Antarctica was surmised by the Greeks in 400 B.C, like a large mass of earth located south, opposite the one known to exist in the north. After many centuries of adventure and expeditions, the first inroads in Antarctic waters were done in 1675 by the English merchant seaman Anthony de la Roche. Other adventurers gave shape to the map of Antarctica, which now bears their names in their memory. Antarctica is an ecological wonder that bewitches explorers, scientists and voyagers alike.Getting to know and contemplate this yet unexplored continent has been the goal and dream of many adventurers that are not satisfied with simply imagining how it would feel like to traverse its ice caps and who have made up their minds to enter this wildlife paradise.

img_305The Antarctic Continent keeps many hidden surprises for those who visit it. This Fascinating territory contains more than 90% of the earth´s land ice, which transforms it into the largest sweet water reserve on earth.Antarctica has the singularity of being the continent that remained hidden from man during the longest period of time and thus, its first visitors arrived at these virgin frozen lands only two hundred years ago.

Its matchless beauty contrasts with extreme climate conditions, all of which makes it an exotic destination, truly hypnotizing for those few that reach this far away corner of the universe.Among the main species that make up marine Antarctic fauna are Whales, Elephant Seals, Weddell Seals, Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins, apart from the variety of birds, such as Albatrosses, Petrels and Snowy Sheathbills.

In this enchanting adventure not only will you have the opportunity of coming into contact with animals unique in their species, but will also enjoy the awesome scenery made up by glaciers, mountain and roaming icebergs. An amazing panorama that can only be found in Antarctica.

img_306South Shetlands – Livingston Island
An archipelago located in the South Antarctic Ocean, and north of the great Antarctic Peninsula, as part of the highest, driest and coldest continent on the planet.The beauty of this remote destination is created by its imposing glaciers, magnificent channels and the impressive fauna that inhabits the area. Voyaging to this far location can turn out to be an adventure that cannot be surpassed, given the scenic beauty, the spectacular white landscape and the nuances of the eternal ice.

Livingston Island is a surprising spot where you will find a great variety of species, among which your attention will be captivated by Chinstrap, Gentoo and the magnificent Macaroni penguins, with their distinctive orange/yellow crests. Elephant seals, Antarctic Giant Petrels and Snowy Sheathbill are also to be seen.

img_307Aitcho Island
This island is located near the north entrance of the English Strait, in the South Shetland Islands, between Greenwich and Robert Islands. The main attractions here are the large colonies of Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins that cover the area. Furthermore, it is possible to find great quantities of Antarctic Giant Petrels and some protected animals, such as the Wedell Seal.

Deception Island
An impressive volcano, still considered active and famous for its incomplete crater which is at sea level. Sailing and walking in this zone can result in a fabulous experience. One of the greatest attractions of this island is the combination of rock towers that come out of the sea. This amazing geological formation is known as “Neptune´s Bellows”.In this outstanding place, whose shape is like a horseshoe, you may have a bath in the warm coastal waters which can get close to 65° C, in contrast with the freezing surrounding waters in this corner of the world. Here you will also visit Whalers Bay, where we will see the remains of a former whailing statio

img_308Lemaire Channel
Known for being one of the most beautiful spots in the area and this is why it is also known as the “Kodak Gap”, due to the impression it produces among the tourists, making them take innumerable photographs of nature at its best. If the weather allows it and it is not blocked by the ice that is typical of this inhospitable corner of the world, you will see playful seals that rest on wandering icebergs, as well as Minke Whales that are frequently found in these cold waters.
 
Petermann Island
This island is endowed with a unique beauty due to its immense granite walls and the abundant snow that composes the scenery. It also has the largest and southernmost colony of Adelie and Gentoo penguins, migratory species typical of Antarctica.On Petermann Island you will be able to see a colony of Antarctic Blue Eyed Shag, a species much appreciated for its solemn stance and singular presence. In summer, Elephant Seals come out in groups to enjoy the sun, taking it lying on their sides, over the rocks of the island.
 
img_309Cuverville Island
Upon arrival, you will find yourself on a small island dominated by a great amount of lichen growth and deep moss on the rocks, the only botanical species that you can find on the surface of Antarctica. As part of the scenery you will see various birds, such as Wilson Petrel, South and Brown Skuas. In this place you will be delighted with one of the largest colonies of Gentoo penguins.

Wiencke Island – Port Lockroy
A bay that is 800 meters, located on the southwestern point of Wiencke Island. This place is particular because it was used by whalers almost one century ago. At present, it will not be strange to see Minke and Humpback Whale cruising along the coast. There is an old British scientific base which is now a museum.

img_311Paradise Bay
From Paradise Bay you will be able to enjoy one of the most magnificent views that the Antarctic territory has to offer. Splendid scenes of glaciers and mountains are enhanced by fascinating fauna, such as Gentoo Penguins and Minke Whales

Half Moon Island
The volcanic origin of this island gives it a very particular surface formation. On it you will find Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, Antarctic Blue Eyed Shags and Skuas. In this area you may find the distinguished looking Wedell Seal and some Elephant Seals that occasionally visit the island.

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Antarctica general information

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