Antarctica Travel

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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Antarctica travel is almost exclusively by sea, as this enormous continent is hardly hospitable to tourists. It contains the South Pole, which, like its northern counterpart, was the object of explorers who raced to be the first to reach it. The glory went to the same Norwegian who discovered the Northwest Passage in the Arctic, Roald Amundsen.

Amundsen was actually heading for the North Pole when he heard of Robert Peary's claim to have reached it, so Amundsen headed south, determined to reach the South Pole before anyone else. He knew of a rival expedition headed by the Englishman, Robert Scott, so time was of the essence. Amundsen's well-planned journey was successful in 1911--and he left a message inside a tent at the South Pole for Scott to read. Scott reached the Pole just 23 days after Amundsen. On the return trip, Scott and his men were stopped by horrific weather and all froze to death.

Antarctica Travel on Ships

This forbidding continent is best left to well-prepared explorers interested in Antarctica travel on land and scientists who staff the permanent research stations. The coldest temperature ever recorded on this planet was at Antarctica: -129.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Recorded winds frequently reach 200 miles per hour. These facts are not encouraging for Antarctic expeditions on land!

Antarctica cruise vacations, however, take place in summer when conditions are less dramatic, although tourists are undoubtedly grateful for the comfort and safety of their ship, because even summer temperatures are bitterly cold. This is a place where expert knowledge and advice must be heeded by Antarctica travel visitors because a misstep can be a matter of life or death. Over 50 American planes alone have crashed on this continent, and many people have perished by becoming trapped in the ice.

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