A Tour of Antarctica, by Photo Journal

29 Apr A Tour of Antarctica, by Photo Journal

The blue icebergs you encounter near the fringe of the continent make a visit to Antarctica unforgettable. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

The blue icebergs you encounter near the fringe of the continent make a visit to Antarctica unforgettable. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Traveling to and around Antarctica is a trip many people — at least, those with adventurous spirits — fantasize about. I am one of them. I’ve always been attracted to the poles for some reason, a predilection I like to phrase as “the call of a cold place.” I think such spots speak to me because I prefer remote regions, uncrowded corners, and pockets of peace.

So when I had the opportunity to travel to the Antarctic Peninsula in January, I was thrilled. I imagined being awed by the sight of massive mountains, thousands of penguins, and titanic icebergs. I did see all of those things, and I was amazed. But what I wasn’t expecting was how impressed I would be by what I heard.

I listened to wind that seemed to mumble and whistle louder than any breezes I had ever experienced before. I laughed at the braying sounds of gentoo penguins, their donkey-like shouts drowning out the crashes of stiff waves breaking on cold, stony beaches. But mostly, I paid attention, on the calm days, to the silence. I had forgotten what a world without any resident people sounded like.

My camera captured some of my vantage points on the White Continent, which you can see for yourself, below. What I heard is still echoing in the back of my mind.

For most travelers, visiting Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I hope you get to go there once, I really do.

But I’m already dreaming about going back.

With thin, dark lines running from ear to ear, chinstraps, I think, are the most beautiful of penguins. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

With thin, dark lines running from ear to ear, chinstraps, I think, are the most beautiful of penguins. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

Gentoo and chinstrap penguins diverged about 14 million years ago. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Gentoo and chinstrap penguins diverged about 14 million years ago. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

Chinstraps vocalize by stretching upwards, flapping their wings, and emitting a series of loud, shrill syllables. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Chinstraps vocalize by stretching upwards, flapping their wings, and emitting a series of loud, shrill syllables. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

The mountains on the Antarctic Peninsula are thought to be a continuation of the Andes of South America. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

The mountains on the Antarctic Peninsula are thought to be a continuation of the Andes of South America. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

Gentoos, the penguin world’s third largest species, populate the Antarctic Peninsula and numerous islands around the frozen continent. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Gentoos, the penguin world’s third largest species, populate the Antarctic Peninsula and numerous islands around the frozen continent. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

Everyone imagines Antarctica as the place of titanic icebergs. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

Everyone imagines Antarctica as the place of titanic icebergs. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

I had forgotten what a world without people sounds like. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

I had forgotten what a world without people sounds like. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

I’m already dreaming of going back to Antarctica’s elemental beauty. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

I’m already dreaming of going back to Antarctica’s elemental beauty. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

The braying of gentoo penguins sounds remarkably like that of donkeys. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

The braying of gentoo penguins sounds remarkably like that of donkeys. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

Gentoos are partial to coastal plains, sheltered valleys, and cliffs. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

 

For most, going to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

For most, going to Antarctica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. ©Candice Gaukel Andrews

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Candice Gaukel Andrews
A multiple award-winning and five-time book author and writer specializing in environmental issues and nature-exploration topics, Candice Gaukel Andrews has traveled around the world—from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica and from Greenland’s coasts to Patagonia’s steppes—searching for and telling the stories that express the essence of a place. To read her articles and see samples of her nature photography, visit her website at www.candiceandrews.com and like her Nature Traveler Facebook page at www.facebook.com/naturetraveler.
Candice Gaukel Andrews

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