There Are 70 Thousand Pairs of Penguins in Antarctica, Don't You Want To See?
By Tina Barney
An unbelievable 70,000 penguin pairs call this area home. It's only one square mile in size and is covered with the black and white, thigh-high birds.
They're constantly cleaning themselves, getting angry with other penguins who get in their nests, and sending off seals who aren't invited. The parents will feed their little ones (who aren't black and white yet, simply brown and fluffy) predigested food. A penguin who is a parent must feed their baby perpetually. After a penguin comes back from the ocean with food, they will peck and bow ritualistically before their mate goes off into the waters.
Even though they may be adorable to look at, they aren't all that adorable if you get close. They're loud and smelly, as well as cocky little creatures. Despite this, they are enthralling creatures and having the ability to meet them up close and walk among them is an opportunity which brings more and more people to Antarctica, the enormous, icy land that caps the bottom of the Earth.
Penguins are not the only life forms you can expect to encounter in Antarctica. Whales, dolphins and seals inhabit the waters; sea birds like albatross fill the sky. The land and seascapes are beautiful, as well. You'll see glaciers which point sharply upwards, mimicking the grand cathedrals found in Europe. If you are one of the brave, then you can always take a trip to see a remote setting where hardly anyone has gone before. The world's final border, Antarctica is the last frontier.
Getting to the continent is a major section of the adventure. The trip, though rarely taken, will be stimulating, unique and costly. If leaving from the United States, the air travel just to get to a southern port alone, like Ushuaia, Argentina, is going to take at least 20 hours. There are a few other places you can start your cruise to Antarctica from, such as Punta Arenas, Chile, Christchurch, New Zealand, or Cape Town, South Africa. Getting to the continent is only possible via ship, which entails several days of very rough sea passage.
Bigger in surface than the US And Mexico combined, the continent weighs so much that the earth indents in that spot. It holds 70 percent of our planet's fresh water reserves, and when combined with all the ice shelves that surround it, is larger than Europe, Greenland and North America combined. Various cruises will offer you different itineraries, which can reach up to one month. The ships that are taking you to Antarctica aren't giant cruise ships, either, they're much smaller. Don't expect the same amenities as ships that sail in the Mediterranean or Caribbean. Rather than hosting casinos, they'll include slideshows and lectures about the history and science of your destination.
Using smaller rafts, passengers are taken to Antarctica. You may choose to visit many different locations such as research stations or seal colonies. You could even opt to visit a penguin rookery.
Only five countries have research facilities on the continent. They are the original countries who participated in signing the international agreement on Antarctica. This makes the continent a haven for scientific study by requiring it stay commerce, nuclear and border 'free.
Some people harbor the concern that touring Antarctica is a serious hazard. There once was flyover tourism of Antarctica, but in 1979 a plane crashed and killed 257 people. There is concern by scientists and environmentalists that Antarctica is going to become a tourist hotspot, which will harm the ecosystem that is in place. Politicians, environmentalists and scientists dispute different aspects of Antarctic tourism. They do wish to keep Antarctica safe. The second side is the fact that some of the tourists who have been to Antarctica see how beautiful it is and become environmentalists themselves.
As of this moment, no restrictions are in place for touring Antarctica. But there are rules that one must abide by when visiting the terrain. Don't bother any native elements, only take photos, and don't leave anything behind but footprints. You should choose clothes that can be layered. Although most of the ships will provide you with down filled parkas, you have to provide your own water proof boots, as well as several pairs of socks. Make sure you have your camera. Also make sure you've packed your sunglasses and strong sunscreen. You can't run to the corner convenience store in Antarctica.
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Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.