Travel Destination: Antarctica

Freezing to Death or Cooling for Fun?

Why would anyone want to visit such a cold place? We had no clue! Yes, you read that right, “we had.”

Although we haven’t visited it, we have never been people who love cold to an extreme level, and we believe no one does, but some are less worried about temperature when deciding to visit a place. Well, we aren’t included in that group, but after some research, we understand why anyone would want to visit Antarctica

It is clearly covered in ice, water, and animals, but there’s a lot of beauty around it, and it is a matter of knowing how to appreciate it. As people who love animals, we are eager to visit the location just for this alone and experience something new. 

If you are looking for an adventure, want to know more before making your decision, or just want to learn about this continent, we have got lots of information for you here to guarantee you know at least the basics about the place. 

Ready? You better get hot cocoa before starting (or maybe some coffee).

Deep in the Ice: History About Antarctica

The origins of Antarctica are rooted in early Western theories about a large continent called Terra Australis Incognita that was believed to exist in the far south. 

In the 15th century, the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Horn proved that Terra Australis Incognita was indeed a continent if it ever existed. 

There is a lot of history behind this continent, and it all started with the desire of people to find the Unknown Southern Land (which means Terra Australis Incognita). 

During several expeditions, people didn’t come across the land in question. Instead, other discovery events took place.

James Cook and his crew crossed Antarctic Circle in 1773. However, they didn’t see Antarctica, despite discovering nearby islands. He was believed to have been as close as 240 km from the continent.

Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev led a Russian expedition that discovered Princess Martha Coast’s ice shelf. 

This ice shelf later became the Fimbul Ice Shelf, and Bellingshausen and Lazarev were the first to officially discover Antarctica’s land later on. 

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Three days later, on January 30, 1820, a British expedition led by Edward Bransfield saw Trinity Peninsula. 

Ten months later, Nathaniel Palmer, an American sealer, discovered Antarctica. It was likely that Captain John Davis, an American sealer, made the first landing just over a full year later.

In the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration,” several expeditions tried to reach the South Pole. Many of these expeditions ended in injury or death. 

After a thrilling race with Robert Falcon Scott, the Briton Roald Amundsen reached the Pole on December 13, 1911.

The political history of Antarctica is quite chaotic (to keep it simple). 

In fact, the entire discovery and expedition time was messy by itself since some events aren’t usually mentioned; others can be missed due to the entire history, and the race between several sailors and explorers could make anyone go crazy by trying to record them. 

However, we can summarize the political aspect in the following order: 

  • The British were the first to claim the land. 
  • Other European countries like France were involved. 
  • South America started to be involved (Argentina and Chile). 
  • Post-war development (after WWII) took place with the British and Latin Americans. 
  • An international treaty began to be negotiated.

To this date, Antarctica has no government nor indigenous population and is, instead, considered a scientific preserve as a result of the Antarctic Treaty set in 1961.

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Why Visit the Southernmost Continent? 

We are going to be real; you must like cold a little bit (at least) and be interested in the wildlife more than anything else. 

People visit it mostly for research activities in order to learn about the wildlife, conditions, how the ice is behaving due to climate change, and more. In other words, it is basically part of the exploration. 

However, people who decide to visit it want to learn about the history, and right now, it is also about getting there before it continues melting. 

As the most remote destination and the solitude you have when getting there, people also appreciate how free they are in a place with no one else and just enough people to feel safe. 

You might want to stay for a few days, but scientists are willing to stay for long periods of time without a doubt (well, most of them). 

Now, photographers usually make trips to the continent to enjoy what nature offers them in this place. 

Captivating landscape, gorgeous creatures, and skies anyone would envy you from seeing and capturing with your camera, you can see all this while visiting and have your unique work of art.

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What to Do As a Tourist?

You would be surprised by the number of things you can do in this space, including watching some people film a couple of movies (we aren’t joking). 

To begin with, yes, some movies were filmed in this remote place, like “The Thing,” “South of Sanity,” “Whiteout,” and documentaries about the location. 

Believe it or not, this is part of many tourists’ activities since many thriller directors choose to use the place as the main area for their movies since it is quite creepy when given the right atmosphere. 

Others will see photographers and documentary makers taking care of the wildlife and appreciating their beauty. 

Now, if we focus on activities you can actually do in the place, we can include several ones: 

  • Camp under the stars and enjoy the stunning landscape at any hour. 
  • Go kayaking and enjoy the calmness of the area. 
  • If you get the chance, visit a research station to know some of the details about wildlife or extra information about the continent.
  • Take a deep dive in the polar plunge.
  • Don’t forget about skiing. 
  • Hiking or climbing will be a daily activity if you love it as much as we do.

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5 Interesting Facts About Antarctica

  • It is the place that holds most of the world’s freshwater. 
  • Antarctica is warming faster than over 80% of the rest of the Earth. 
  • There’s no Antarctic time zone, and instead, people follow the time zone from where they came (their native countries of residence).
  • There are active volcanoes on the continent. 
  • No matter where you go, every way is the north. 
  • You can find a subglacial lake that is stained red.

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Written by Dame Cash

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