Antarctic Expeditions

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Antarctic expeditions are comprised of a combination of cruise and land ventures that take tourists to the Antarctic Peninsula and surrounding islands. Although short landings are possible in harbors near the peninsula, Antarctica trips are mostly sea voyages. The hostile environment of the White Continent makes it hazardous for unprepared tourists to go beyond the boundaries set by cruise officials.

Even in summer, the weather can change suddenly. Scientists who spend periods of time in their research stations, and those on Antarctic expeditions, learn to read the clouds. Low, grey cumulus clouds mean no wind, some snowfall, and "warm" temperatures. High cirrus clouds initially bring strong winds and sunshine, but they may also be harbingers of storms.

Antarctic Expeditions and Weather

Any visitor to the southern latitudes needs to be able to interpret the weather in order to survive. Antarctic "residents" learn quickly that if they see a white wall of cloud approaching rapidly with black twisters touching the ice--look out! High winds will strike within 20 minutes, and the wall will pass in about 30 minutes. Everything should be secured or it may be lost.

Antarctic expeditions for visitors will spare them these dangerous experiences, although Southern Ocean cruises are not always tranquil. Drake Passage, which separates the peninsula from Chile, is infamous for rough seas, and, of course, Cape Horn is always treacherous. Nevertheless, passengers who want a memorable, unique tour can count on the scenery, weather, and wildlife in this wild region to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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