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Mid-March expedition - worthwhile?

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  • Mid-March expedition - worthwhile?

    Please, please someone comment on this because I am driving myself crazy going back and forth on this decision. (I saw there was another post similar to this one, but I really want some more opinions) I have never been to Antarctica - I have an opportunity to go on a March 11 expedition on an ice breaker for two weeks. I am concerned, though, that since it is shoulder season it might not be a great experience. (And in fact, one of the travel agents said I maybe should skip it if I can only go in March - I am always suspicious when the tours are cheaper). This will likely be my only chance ever to go and I am DYING to go. But at the same time, I would hate to go and have it be totally disappointing (frankly I'd rather keep my dream of what I think it is, like all the unbelievable photos on this site).

    I am a wildlife FREAK and would love to see the penguins as babies, but I understand they will be nearly fully grown in mid-March. I could live with that. But I am afraid they (and the rest of the animals) may already have all headed out to sea by then - can anyone tell me if this is true? I could handle it being colder, and maybe a bit dirtier (I hear there's more guano) but if there are no (or few) animals, it might not be worthwhile for me. Also, will the scenery still be amazing? I am afraid (and maybe I'm making this up being overly pessimistic) that it will be overcast the whole time and the ice dingy and the whole thing just not fantastic. On the other hand, I think, how could it possibly not be amazing? Especially since I really have no frame of reference - I'm thinking, even Antarctica on its worst day would still be the most amazing thing I've ever experienced. Help - I'm dying here!

    Thoughts? Please?

  • #2
    Re: Mid-March expedition - worthwhile?

    Where is the trip going? What is the itinerary? Will you be going to the peninsula or the 'other side'? If it's a peninsula trip, I'd say you may a diminished experience. Most of the chicks are fledged by then and the adults gone back to sea. I can give you more details relating to the company I've worked for and their trips at that time of year if you'd like.


    • #3
      Can anyone help me ??????Please

      We are working on a class project to collect a postcard from all states and and continents and all we need is Antartica. If anyone has time to drop a postcard to my school that would be awsome!!
      Marvin B Smith elementary school
      2235 Delaney st
      Burlington Nc. 27215
      attn Mrs Garrison's class/HunterH


      • #4
        Re: Mid-March expedition - worthwhile?


        If you have gone on your trip. Please let me know if you liked it and if you were able to make it to the cirlce. Thanks


        • #5
          Re: Mid-March expedition - worthwhile?

          Hi there,

          Following up on the other comments I wanted to include some more details.

          During March in Antarctica nightly darkness returns as the sun sinks farther below the southern horizon, but temperatures are still above zero, though you may experience a touch of Antarctic winter with night frosts. This can create beautiful patterns of thin sea ice on the surface.

          The snow cover is at a minimum so depending on what your expectations are this may be disappointing. Having said that this does allow for easy and extensive walks in the South Shetland Islands.

          Some highlights:
          - Penguin chicks are in their adolescent state now and quite curious about visitors.
          - The adult penguins moult and the young go to sea. Concentrations will be lower than earlier in the season.
          - Concentration of Leopard Seals increases hunting for chicks.
          - Receding ice allows exploration farthest south along the Antarctic Peninsula with some trips crossing the Antarctica Circle.
          - Spectacular green and pink algae blooms on snow-slopes and ice cliffs.
          - Whale watching is very good.
          - Chances to see Aurora Australis.

          So bottom line is really what you want to experience when you travel to Antarctica. Each month of the season offers something different but it is a remarkable place at any time.