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Awesome, beautiful, pristine and white, Antarctica feels like another planet. It is 1.3 times as large as Europe, and double the size of Australia, yet few people live here. Instead it is home to throngs of penguins, whales and other sea creatures. Living things here have found remarkable ways to survive in the coldest, driest, windiest place on earth. Seeing the hundreds of squawking and honking 'tuxedo suit' penguins performing, as well as nesting seabirds and seal colonies on the shores and islands is something that will stay with you forever.
About 98% of Antarctica is covered by the continental ice shelf, a sheet of ice averaging at least 1.6km (1.0mi) thick. The continent has about 90% of the world's ice (and thus some 70% of the world's fresh water). It also has more than 70 sub-glacial lakes under the ice. Ice bergs and ice flows are a large part of the incredible scenery that makes up this frozen desert.
You can see icebergs carved and polished into strange shapes and sizes by the elements, and chunks of ice with ethereal blue patterns on, floating by. You can hear the roar of moving glaciers echoing between icy cliffs. Great chunks and peaks of rock and ice are reflected in the still waters of quiet bays where seals bask and whales play.
A Land Like No Other
This is a continent like no other you have seen before, both harsh and magical. You will have the chance to not only marvel at indescribable scenery but also learn about the wildlife, historical sites and active research bases. Antarctica has seen many heroic adventures and explorations, great and sometimes tragic events. It is a place today of vital exploration and research, with projects ranging from ecology to life in space.
When you cruise Antarctica you can expect to experience the coldest natural temperatures you've ever felt That's because the climate of Antarctica is the coldest of anywhere else in the world.
Although the majority of the continent is ice it is actually a very dry climate, so dry in fact it is classed as a desert and is the driest continent in the world. The continent has no lakes or rivers and no precipitation this is because the extreme cold freezes water vapor out of the air.
Vostok Station in Antarctica saw the lowest ever recorded temperature above land on earth at -89.2ºC (−128.6 °F), as a comparison - Dry Ice is only -78.5ºC! But don't worry, this was a one off and the temperatures normally remain at a balmy -70ºC in the winter and -35ºC in the summer.
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