Getting Up-Close & Personal in Antarctica

A traveler photo gallery of Antarctica’s White Wilderness

By MaryAnn & Bill King, 14-time travelers, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania

We heard from other travelers that Antarctica was a very beautiful and unique place to visit. It was our last continent, so we wanted to see it for ourselves. The physical challenge enticed us, and we wanted to go while we were still physically able.

During our trip, the really pleasant surprise was how easy the Drake Passage was (both going down and coming back)—and the weather. We had mostly beautiful sunny days with temperatures in the 40s! Bill loved the icebergs; they were different sizes and shapes, and you could see how far they extended into the water. Some were so large that they looked like an island … until we got closer and found they were moving! One of the highlights—and most unexpected parts—of our trip happened on our last day on the boat. We had made good time due to the easy passage, so we were able to see Cape Horn, the most southern island in the world, and got within six nautical miles of it. We still had some extra time, so the anchor was dropped and we had lunch outside on the deck. All of the food, wine, and beer was brought to the top deck and we had a great picnic in the sun.

We try to keep an open mind when we travel, always looking for new experiences, different cultures, and interesting travelers. Every day is a new adventure and we enjoy the unexpected. After 16 trips with Grand Circle, we have become very confident that we will have a wonderful experience, see every interesting thing there is to see, and arrive home safely. We want to keep traveling while we are healthy enough—and to do the vigorous and exotic trips while we can.

Here are some of our favorite photos from our Antarctica vacation:

Ushuaia, the Gateway to Antarctica, is a small town with many restaurants and shops. Originally a prison town, the population is now about 65,000—and rapidly growing.

At Tierra del Fuego, MaryAnn and Bill pose in their Carpincho coats (made from capybara skin), which were made especially for them in Buenos Aires. At a shop called Silvia & Mario’s, you pick the leather, and they make the jackets during your visit.

MaryAnn and Bill’s first landing was on Penguin Island. Here, they’re pictured with one of their Program Directors, Nick Tozer (on left).

During their visit to Brown Bluff, it was a sunny day. MaryAnn and Bill took off their heavy coats and enjoyed the sunshine.

Antarctica wasn’t completely covered in ice. According to MaryAnn and Bill, the Volcanic Islands looked like “something from the Wild West.”

MaryAnn and Bill’s group had plenty of opportunities to view local wildlife, as seen here when their group spotted several penguins gathered together.

The Kings learned quickly that penguins show no fear, and they’ll approach humans and other animals with great curiosity.

During some free time, their small ship anchored, and travelers enjoyed a barbecue on the deck. MaryAnn and Bill said, “It was a beautiful end to a great trip!”

If you’d like to learn more about this trip from our travelers, check out this ten-minute video featuring Grand Circle travelers describing—in their own words—what made their experience in Antarctica so memorable.