Reisezeitraum 23.12.2021 - 29.12.2021 / 29.12.2021 - 04.01.2022
With its 1,150km² King George Island is the largest of the South Shetland Islands. One of the islands closest to South America and only some 120 kilometers from the Antarctic Peninsula, King George Island was first seen by William Smith in 1819 and was named after George III, King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover. Despite the fact that almost 90 percent of the island’s surface is covered by ice and glaciers, 10 different nations have permanent bases or stations set up on Fildes Peninsula, along the shores of Maxwell Bay and at Admiralty Bay. Base Eduardo Frei Montalva (named after Chile’s president when the meteorological station was opened in 1969) is Chile’s most important in Antarctica as it has an airstrip used for flights from and to Punta Arenas and the civilian settlement Villa Las Estrellas. Even though the island boasts so many stations and base personnel, the island still has other summer inhabitants one regularly connects with Antarctica: Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins. Weddell and leopard seals can be seen in the water or on the shore, and seabirds like the Giant Petrel are never far off.
Few voyages ignite the imagination like a journey down to one of the planet’s most remote, extreme and enchanting wilderness, Antarctica. An adventure in its purest form, only a handful of people will ever be lucky enough to experience the majestic beauty of these monochrome landscapes first-hand. The Antarctic Sound will be one of your first encounters of this whitewash kingdom, located at the northerly tip of the Antarctic Peninsula - which sprawls up like a tentacle towards Tierra del Fuego, South America’s most southerly point, otherwise known as the ‘End of the World’. Taking its name from the first ship to brave the passageway between the peninsular and the Joinville Island groups back in 1902, the Sound is a raw, sensory assault of imposing iceberg slabs, broken away from the disintegrating Larsen Ice Shelf. Come face-to-face with stadium-sized islands of ice and meet the extraordinary birdlife that call this whitewash kingdom home. Watch on, as colonies of Gentoo penguins hop around, and cape petrels sweep overhead, as the continent’s unique wildlife thrives around you. If you’re planning your first venture into Antarctica, you’ll want to brush up on your photography skills in advance, to capture this unforgiving continent in all of its unrestrained glory.
The Antarctic Peninsula unravels upwards towards South America, reaching out a beckoning finger to the adventurous, who dare to explore this untamed realm. Stretching up from the heart of the world’s southernmost continent, the Antarctic Peninsula lies a mere 620 mile from Tierra del Fuego and, for many, offers a spectacular first taste of the snow-blanketed landscapes and colossal ice sculptures, which make up Earth’s least-explored continent. Unseen by humans until 1820 - a blink of an eye ago in relative terms - this is an adventure sure to make your hairs stand on end, as you experience the thrill of the truly unknown and extraordinary. The vast peninsula is sprinkled with research bases, which are at the frontline of human scientific endeavour, pushing to study and understand this unique landscape, its exceptional wildlife, and the impact that humans are having on this pristine continent. Witness cathedral-sized icebergs up close, and blue-hued glaciers, slowly slipping from imposing locations like Hope Bay. Blanched mountain peaks cover the peninsula, and you’ll find thousands of adorable Adelie penguin pairs thriving undisturbed in this peninsula’s unique setting. Various species of seals and whales are also at home in this inhospitable world.
The ice-coated Antarctic Peninsula forms perhaps the most accessible region of mainland Antarctica, lying a mere 480-miles away from South America, across the fabled waters of Drakes Passage. Lying close to the northwestern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, separated by the Bransfield Strait, the South Shetland Islands fall under the jurisdiction of the Antarctic Treaty, suspending claims on their sovereignty. Several countries maintain research bases here, and with plump elephant seals, and crowds of Gentoo, Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins also calling the islands home, it can even feel a little crowded at times. King George Island is the largest and most hospitable island, hosting the majority of the research stations - some of which are populated all-year-round by tiny, hardy crews. Don’t be fooled though, these islands offer extraordinary adventure in one of the most remote locations on earth. The triple peaks of Mount Foster tower above the archipelago, and you’ll feel your heart pumping a little quicker, as you sail into the core of Deception Island’s magnificent collapsed volcano caldera. Hike the luna landscapes within, and even dip into the improbably warm, geothermally-heated waters of Pendulum Cove. Elephant Island, meanwhile, is written deep into the annals of Antarctic expedition legend, as the site where Ernest Shackleton and the stricken crew of the Endurance miraculously survived a harsh Antarctic winter, in 1916.
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