The White Continent

Antarctica – Ferra Australis Incognita, “the unknown land of the south” – is the surreal continent at the bottom of the world, a destination of ethereal beauty and unequivocal grandeur. Its limitless landscape of ice, sea, and sky comes in a million shades of blue. One of the modem world’s most magical desti­nations and one of nature’s last, most remote strongholds, Antarctica affords an opportunity for adventure, excitement, and discovery rarely accessible to the average traveler. The nearly total absence of human presence fosters nonaggressive wildlife that welcome you into their habitat. A visit to a penguin rookery, whose tuxedoed residents number in the tens of thousands, is a once-in-a-lifetime experi­ence.

Different itineraries are possible: You can sail the Antarctic Peninsula or circumnav­igate the entire continent, with options to travel by Zodiac launch amid the towering ice­bergs to neighboring islands, or with ports of call on South Georgia Island and the Falklands. Though dozens of cruise ship companies ply these frigid waters, the first and best of the seaborne expedition ships is the Explorer, the “little red ship” that invented Antarctic cruising. This shallow-drafted ice­breaker carries a veteran crew that includes geologists, zoologists, polar explorers, histo­rians, ecologists, and oceanographers who help bring the incredible within reach.

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