WEDNESDAY WONDER: Traveling to Antarctica - Are you serious?

Yes I'm serious. I went there last year and here's how...

December 19, 2018

PHOTO: @riggsradio

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The bottom of the earth is covered in ice...not many people live there aside from a few thousand scientists, but can you believe there's a TOURIST market for ANTARCTICA?  Yes.  It just so happens that my wife and I went there last year, and it was the trip of a lifetime.  So since many people wonder what its like in Antarctica, and this week is the official start of winter (12/21), why not do a blog about traveling to the world's biggest desert?

PHOTO: @riggsradio

Yes. Exactly one year ago from today, my wife and I were standing on the continent of Antarctica.  It was beautiful.  Ridiculously beautiful, as you can see from this pic where it looks like we were superimposed...(we weren't)

PHOTO: @riggsradio

Here's a trivia fact you can use at your holiday dinner this season.  As I mentioned earlier, Antarctica is the largest desert in the WORLD.  Antarctica is classified as a desert because contrary to popular belief, it doesn't get much precipitation at all - less than 8 inches per year.    

We constantly get the same series of questions - so I'll just rattle em off and dazzle you with a few of our favorite pictures from the trip.  

 

HOW DID YOU GET THERE? 

A couple of planes and a boat.  Airplanes took us to the bottom of South America - Ushuaia, Argentina.   It was a really cool seaside town.  

PHOTO: @riggsradio

From there, we hopped on an expidetion ship.  A smaller cruise ship that only held about 300 guests.  There were all the comforts of home at sea.  We had a full bathroom, bed, couch, four full restaurants, and even limited internet access.  

Then we sailed across the "drake passage"....where the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern oceans all converge...making for some REALLY rough seas.  

Finally after a day of sailing, we were greeted by the the sight of land - the Antarctic peninsula.  Map below shows our travel path from Argentina to Antarctica...just for reference.

Google Maps

Then we were greeted with amazing scenery and ICEBERGS!  

PHOTO: @riggsradio

So many icebergs...

PHOTO: @riggsradio

PHOTO: @riggsradio

HOW DID YOU GET TO THE SHORE IF YOU WERE ON A CRUISE SHIP?

Then once we were there, we would hop on these little boats called "zodiacs" that would take us to shore where we were greeted by THESE GUYS:

PHOTO: @riggsradio

PHOTO: @riggsradio

DID YOU SEE PENGUINS?  DID YOU PET ONE OF THEM!? 

There were penguins EVERYWHERE.  We were not allowed to touch them, but they would come pretty close and touch YOU.  

Penguins are fearless....they don't have any natural land predators, so they approach humans with curiosity, but for the most part just go about their business.  

PHOTO: @riggsradio

We saw some other animals though.  Weddell seals:

PHOTO: @riggsradio

PHOTO: @riggsradio

Elephant Seals:

PHOTO: @riggsradio

Oh and we saw ONE leopard seal...they're usually pretty elusive and a rare sighting.

PHOTO: @riggsradio

We saw a TON of humpback whales, which was pretty badass.  

PHOTO: @riggsradio

Caught this guy jumping out of the water!

PHOTO: @riggsradio

Penguins were jumping out of the water too

PHOTO: @riggsradio

We also saw quite a few birds like these Skuas...they kept trying to eat the penguins.  Hey fish gotta swim, birds gotta eat. 

PHOTO: @riggsradio

There were lot of other birds, but mostly penguins...

PHOTO: @riggsradio

This was my favorite penguin pic that I snapped on the trip: 

PHOTO: @riggsradio

Oh and we also saw a WHITE penguin.  He's Leucistic.  

PHOTO: @riggsradio

Was it cold there?  Not really.  It was a dry cold, and the temp hovered around 34F or so.  December in Antarctica is their SUMMER, so the temps are manageable.  I mean, you still have to layer up, but we were comfortable.  

PHOTO: @riggsradio

It never really got DARK in Antarctica - that time of the year, the way the earth is tilted, we got almost 22 hours of light...the below pic was taken at about 2:30AM:

PHOTO: @riggsradio

That's as dark as it ever got.  

Look we took over 2,000 pictures of this amazing once in a lifetime trip.  If you want to see more of the pics, you can see them on my facebook page HERE or if you don't do the Facebook thing, you can browse them all on my personal website HERE.  

 

If you've ever wondered MORE about Antarctica, its a fascinating continent with a TON of history.  Some things to google:  Antarctic Desert, Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic Treaty. 

It's the only place where the ENTIRE WORLD collectively decided "you know what?  Let's not eff with Antarctica.  Can we all agree to just leave it alone and nobody tries to conquer it with military force?  Good."  

I mean, we'll probably all destroy it as a species with our global warming and such, but for the time being - if you have a chance to visit the bottom of the earth - DO IT.  

Now we have to conquer all seven continents....