High Season Antarctic
In January, summer is at its peak bringing the pitter-patter of penguin chicks and baby seals. In February, inquisitive penguin chicks who are starting to fledge dominate the rookeries, whale sightings and leopard seal predation reach their peak.
Why Visit Antarctica?
Here are a few reasons that might convince you :
Penguins can only be found in the southern hemisphere, and Antarctica is home to 17 different types of penguins, which means any Antarctica excursion is sure to bring you up close to the long marching lines of “penguin highways” or right over the top of them as they torpedo through the water below your zodiac.
While a trip to Antarctica is certainly no beach vacation, you will find that this polar desert can be pretty sunny, receiving less than a foot of precipitation each year and making it the driest continent on earth. Just make sure to pack some sunscreen and shades.
Trekking across glaciers, navigating around icy bays in zodiacs, photographing some of the most beautiful and breathtaking landscapes, and hiking around daunting cliffs and the base of towering mountains will keep you on the go as you explore the White Continent
If you’re a solo world explorer, then you’ll be delighted to find great rates for shared cabins on the Antarctica cruises, which many say makes Antarctica the best destination for solo travelers.
The emperor penguin, the largest and heaviest penguin, is endemic to Antarctica, Adult plumage is mostly black, with white underwings and belly turning into pale yellow in the upper breast, and with bright yellow ear patches. The upper mandible of the long bill is black, while the lower one can be pink, orange or lilac, making a highly distinctive – and impressive – appearance.
Emperor Penguins of the Weddell Sea, Three days are reserved for visiting, by helicopter, an emperor penguin colony, situated south of Snow Hill Island.
The macaroni penguin is found from the sub-Antarctic to the Antarctic Peninsula. As one of six species of crested penguin, it is closely related to the royal penguin – indeed some authorities consider the two to be a single species. It has a distinctive yellow crest and red eyes, and its blackface and upperparts are sharply delineated from the white underparts. The Falklands are an excellent place to view these penguins, with colonies being found on Pebble Island and Saunders Island.
The long-tailed Gentoo, the third-largest species, belongs to the same genus as Adélie and chinstrap penguins. First described in 1781 on the Falkland Islands, it identified by the broad white stripe that runs across the top of its head, and by its bright orange-red bill. It has pale-colored webbed feet and a prominent tail that sweeps from side to side as it waddles on land. The most common of its various calls is a loud trumpeting when it throws its head back.
Although adapted to harsh cold climates, it’s breeding colonies are always on ice-free surfaces along or close to the shoreline, with nests often sited between tufts of grass. They breed on many sub-Antarctic islands and in the Antarctic Peninsula.
The rockhopper consists of three closely related subspecies of crested penguins that are sometimes treated as a single species. With a global population of around one million pairs i.e. two-thirds of the total population, the southern rockhopper breeds in the Falklands and on islands around the tip of Argentina and Chile.
The related eastern rockhopper breeds on the sub-Antarctic islands of the Indian and western Pacific oceans. Outside the breeding season, rockhoppers can be found roaming the waters off their colonies, feeding on krill, squid, plankton, cuttlefish, and crustaceans.
The Magellanic penguin medium-sized birds breed along the coastline of Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands, although some migrate to Brazil and are occasionally seen as far north as Rio de Janeiro.
The world’s largest breeding colony of Magellanic penguin is found at Punta Tombo in Argentina, where you can walk amongst them and closely observe them building nests, feeding chicks and in courtship and territorial disputes.
The king penguin, the second largest species of all, breeds on sub-Antarctic islands between 45° and 55°S, at the northern reaches of Antarctica, as well as Tierra del Fuego, the Falkland Islands, and other temperate islands of the region. Where conditions are suitable, such as at Salisbury Plain on South Georgia Island, they can form huge colonies of over 100,000 breeding pairs, which – because of the long breeding cycle – are continuously occupied.