Antarctica Photos

Antarctica remains the most stunning place I have ever traveled to in my life. The massive glaciers, mountainous landscape and abundant wildlife are unlike any place I have been since. It is visited by approximately 30,000 people per year (compared to over 30 million for Paris or 4 million for Yosemite National Park) and, thanks to the efforts of the IAATO, is the focus of some of the most strict conservation efforts and tourism regulations in the world.

Many people think that it’s a barren landscape (it IS a desert, after all!) with little to see, but they couldn’t be further from the truth. Here are some of my favorite images from Antarctica to give you an idea of the stunning beauty it has to offer.

Zodiacs in Antarctica

These zodiacs were our primary form of transportation, taking us from ship to shore on every excursion. Sometimes we would just stay in the zodiacs themselves and cruise around.

Antarctica Zodiac Unloading
This is how they were unloaded off of the main ship.

My First Antarctica Photos

Antarctica Mile Wide Iceberg

This was the first piece of ice we saw after crossing the Drake Passage, and it was over a mile wide! The caves inside were enormous and filled with sea birds flying in and out of them.

Antarctica Mile Wide Iceberg Caves
Detailed iceberg view – those small white dots are albatrosses!

A Variety Of Wildlife

Antarctica Lone Penguin
Lone penguin among the bergs

There are penguins everywhere you look, even in the most remote places. This lone penguin found a stunning blue iceberg to hang out next to, and even struck a nice pose for me!

two penguins back to back
They’re multiplying!

They often go out away from the colonies in groups for protection. These two really had each others’ backs! These were my favorite type of penguin, Adelies, which I always thought looked like they had googly eyes glued to their heads.

Antarctica Weddell Seal
Weddell Seal = House Cat

There’s plenty of other wildlife in Antarctica, with Weddell seals being a common fixture at many destinations there. This one was caught by surprise by our zodiac and had to sneak a peek!

Antarctica Crabeater Seal
This Crabeater seal liked my joke.
antarctica humpback whale
Hello! On behalf of all Humpbacks, I, Herbert, Humbly welcome you to Antarctica.

Our expedition even had a group of 14 Humpback whales put on a 2 hour show to welcome us to the continent. Our captain stopped the ship while the whales spent 2 hours breaching and circling us in a secluded bay. It was an unforgettable display.

Every Iceberg Like A Snowflake

Antarctica Arched Iceberg
The Arched Ice Bridge to Nowhere.

There is no shortage of incredible icebergs in Antarctica, and you’ll never see two identical ones. They vary in shape from beautiful arches to hulking giants to something that looks like an alien ship. It’s more fun than picking out shapes in the clouds!

Antarctica Blue Iceberg
Stunning hues of blue inside the white.
Antartica Iceberg Wedge
You can see how this iceberg was eroded over time.

Incredible Landscapes

Antarctica Pack Ice
Pack Ice under the Midnight Sun.

Even though the entire continent of Antarctica is a desert, the landscapes vary dramatically. Every place we stopped offered a completely different view than the last.

Antarctica Wordie House
The Wordie House – A former research house. Rumor has it that it is haunted, but either way it’s a fascinating place to visit.
Antarctica Paradise Bay
The aptly named Paradise Bay
Antarctica Paradise Bay
A beautiful day on the seventh continent
Antarctica Spert Islands
The towering columns of the Spert Islands. Can you spot the Zodiac?

The Daily Grind

Antarctica Penguin Commute
A Gentoo penguin walks along his daily commute.

Daily life in Antarctica is a bit different from what you and I might be used to. All animals must fight for survival, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t enjoy their lives. From sunbathing to swimming and general socializing, they find plenty of ways to fill their time.

Antarctica Penguin Gossip
These Gentoo penguins spend their days gossiping about the others.
Antarctica Penguin Iceberg View
This guy just spends hours taking in the view.
Antarctica Chinstrap Penguin
A Chinstrap penguin overlooks the Antarctic landscape.
Antarctica Oblivious Seal
This Weddell seal is obliviously sleeping through the people exploring around him.
Antarctica Penguin Feeding Chick
A mother Gentoo penguin feeds her newborn chick.
Adelie Penguin Tripping
This Adelie penguin tripped over another one’s chick. Afterwards, it was chased throughout the colony and pecked as punishment. Thankfully, the chick was fine. Check out the onlookers!
Gentoo Penguin Yelling
Hey! HEEEEEEYYYYYY!!!
Antarctic Shag Feeding
A baby Antarctic Shag gets a bit too enthusiastic while feeding. It’s halfway down its mother’s throat!

An Unforgettable Adventure

Antarctica Hot Tub under the Midnight Sun
New Years Eve under the midnight sun in a hot tub in Antarctica. I don’t think I’ll be topping that one! Photo credit: David Doig

Antarctica was the most unforgettable travel experience I’ve ever had. Beyond the wildlife, I’ve had the best memories formed. We spent New Year’s surrounded by pack ice under the midnight sun in a hot tub, camped on the continent overnight in nothing but a bivy bag, and went swimming in freezing waters. I hope to return someday, and hope these pictures helped inspire your travels as well.

Jumping Gentoo Penguin
The infamous jumping Gentoo, taken from shipmate’s GoPro.
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