It has been one year since our epic, life-changing journey to Antarctica, and our concept of travel has never been the same since.
We’ve been lucky enough to travel almost full-time for a decade, exploring the farthest reaches of Asia, Europe, North and South America and Australia, but nowhere has been as mesmerising, dramatic, beautiful and awe-inspiring as the fabled White Continent.
This is the destination that sits at the top of most intrepid traveller’s bucket lists, but due to its isolation and expense, Antarctica is often left as a place few ever get to.
In February 2017 we boarded the Akademik Ioffe, a Russian research vessel under the control of the incredible licensed tour operator One Ocean Expeditions, and spent 11 days on an Antarctic adventure.
This was not a luxury cruise, where you would casually sit on the deck and admire the beauty of the ice caps from afar, cocktail in hand. This was an experience in every sense of the word.
We kayaked next to icebergs, swam in the caldera of an active volcano, hiked to the top of a peak on the mainland, got up close to glaciers in zodiacs and even spent a night camping beneath the stars.
It’s not just the landscapes that capture the hearts of travellers to Antarctica though. It is here, at the ends of the earth, when some of the world’s best and most unique wildlife encounters occur.
Whales breach next to zodiacs and kayakers, constantly putting on an acrobatics show that you’ll never forget. 7 different species of penguins waddle across the ice, quickly becoming everyone’s favourite creature.
Enormous albatrosses soar above the mountains, diving in the updrafts. Seals relax on drifting icebergs, keeping clear of the hunting orcas that circle the coves.
Elephant seals battle for mates, their 4-tonne frames colliding like racing vehicles on the stone beaches.
There really is no other place like it on earth.
We’ve written extensively about our time in Antarctica, hoping to convince you that a trip to the White Continent will be the greatest decision you ever make.
But now we want to just let our pictures do the talking. Here are 23 Antarctica photos that will inspire your next adventure.
The Lemaire Channel is a notoriously difficult and famously beautiful passage that can only be navigated by smaller ships in perfect conditions. With the warm weather and unlimited visibility, we were immensely lucky to see this section of the Antarctic Peninsula.
Four humpback whales breach at the same time in the Gerlache Strait. Where else in the world would you see such an epic wildlife moment, with snowy peaks in the background?
Antarctica is the most remote continent on earth, and you get a real feeling of isolation when you are down there. This photo of Boris, our expedition leader cruising in a zodiac, gives a scale as to just how amazingly quiet this place can be.
Penguins – everybody’s favourite creature in Antarctica. Here a gentoo penguin feeds its chick.
An Antarctic fur seal gives a big yawn. While they are very cute to see, it’s important to keep your distance from them.
If you go with the right company and the weather cooperates, you can even camp in Antarctica! Once the sun goes down you’ll be rewarded with one of the best views of the Milky Way anywhere in the world.
A zodiac carefully approaches a collection of icebergs along the Antarctic Peninsula. Zodiac tours are one of the real highlights of any expedition to Antarctica.
Amazing atmospheric formations called lenticular clouds form above the majestic Antarctic landscape at the end of a beautiful and warm day.
Elephant seals are one of the largest and most dangerous creatures in Antarctica, weighing up to 4 tonnes and battling to the death in the spring time. But when we visited in the autumn they were mostly lounging around while penguins waddled past them.
A massive iceberg floats gently on a perfectly still day in Antarctica. It’s views like this that make people fall in love with the polar regions.
An orca breaches the surface at dusk in the Gerlache Strait.
Alesha wrapped up in her bivvy sack for the night. Would you camp in Antarctica?
A leopard seal relaxes on a floating piece of ice. Leopard seals are common in Antarctica, but not everybody gets the chance to see them, so seeing this one was a real treat.
An early morning sunrise, seen out our window on One Ocean Expedition’s Akademik Ioffe.
A humpback whale breaches right next to a keen kayaker. It’s encounters like these that make Antarctica so special.
7 different types of penguin species call Antarctica home, and this is one of the coolest – a macaroni penguin!
The standard scenes you get when kayaking in Antarctica…pretty damn awesome.
Some people believe a trip to Antarctica is for older, wealthy travellers, but that simply isn’t the case. On our journey with One Ocean Expeditions there were a surprisingly large number of people under the age of 30, and we even had one amazing 9-year-old-girl onboard. Everybody was very active and fit, and this created an epic atmosphere between the passengers and staff. Whoever said you can’t have fun in Antarctica?
8 gentoo penguins race against each other on a black sand beach.
You can never have enough whale moments.
It’s time to book your trip to Antarctica!
Our trip to Antarctica was made possible thanks to our partnership with One Ocean Expeditions. All thoughts, opinions and 22’000 or so photos we took are, as always, our own.
Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award winning writers and photographers behind this blog, and we have been travelling the world together since 2008. Adventure travel is our passion, and through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook
Latest posts by Alesha and Jarryd (see all)