Leading Antarctic flight expert, Adventure Network International (ANI), has announced a single 2013 departure of the Emperors & Explorers expedition, which gives participants the opportunity to experience life alongside magnificent Emperor Penguins, before venturing to the South Pole to set foot where great polar explorers such as Amundsen and Scott went more than a century before.
Departing from Punta Arenas in Chile on 27 November 2013, the nine-day trip of a lifetime, which was previously only available to private groups, offers an extraordinary wildlife experience on the remote, south coast of the Weddell Sea.
Adventure seekers set up camp close to a rookery, home to possibly thousands of Emperors, and spend several days living amidst these fascinating, flightless birds, becoming totally immersed in their daily activity.
Accommodation at the rookery is in a basic field camp in mountaineering tents designed to withstand the toughest Antarctic storms, with pre-prepared, freshly frozen meals served in a larger dining tent.
With an ANI naturalist on hand, participants may take part in guided walks and learn first-hand about the habits of Emperor Penguins and how they have adapted to the extreme conditions of the Antarctic.
There will be plenty of opportunities to photograph the majestic creatures at close quarters against the spectacular backdrop of ice cliffs, pressure ridges and icebergs, as they feed their young, call and display to each other in the soft light of the midnight sun.
Camping so close to the Emperor rookery, it is very likely that visitors will fall asleep to a chorus of trumpeting calls and wake to find curious penguins outside their tents!
Moving on to the comfort of ANI’s main camp on Union Glacier, complete with double-walled sleeping tents that are spacious and comfortable, plus freshly cooked meals served with wine and beer flown in from Chile, the group then heads for the next section of this fascinating adventure.
A four to five hour flight, travelling in relative comfort on board a ski aircraft, brings them to the South Pole, a journey that took the early explorers years of planning and months of hardship to achieve.
Standing at 90º South in extremely cold temperatures ranging from –31F to –13F, and with the effects of altitude possibly taking their toll, it is easy to see why so few people have journeyed this far south, and to appreciate being one of those fortunate enough to do so.
Moving at a steady pace in order to cope with the conditions, there is plenty of time for photographs at the Geographic and Ceremonial Poles and to marvel at the spirit of determination and discovery that motivated our forbears to reach this frozen landscape 100 years ago, without the benefit of today’s modern equipment.
This amazing tour also features a guided visit inside the Amundsen-Scott research station before returning to Union Glacier Camp for a celebratory dinner.
Weather permitting, there are a number of activities available on the final day, including exploring ice pools, cross country skiing, carving snow sculptures, trekking and, for the more adventurous, ice climbing.
The price of the Emperors & Explorers expedition is $68,500. This includes a full briefing one day prior to departure, return flights from Punta Arenas to Antarctica, flights included within the itinerary, meals and accommodation as specified, expedition guides, a certificate of achievement, plus ski, camping and climbing equipment where appropriate.