Drinking coffee in front of the windows overlooking Hero inlet makes me feel very lucky to be down in Antarctica this season.
I am sitting in the main building at Palmer Station before work this morning enjoying the view. Especially as you watch a Leopard Seal clumsily jump onto an ice-floe 600 yards away from you. I cannot help but remember the time I spent talking to tourists on an Antarctica cruise ship.
Living on the edge of a glacier in Antarctica watching Leopard Seals and whales pass by our station has been my life for the last six months. I have been quiet on my blog for a while now. The need for my posts to go through extensive editing and working close to 60 hours a week feeding 45 people delicious food is the cause of that. In the past few weeks, I have learned that it is more important to consistently give my readers an update on my life every week than have the best looking posts.
Nonetheless, I am sorry for the prolonged lapse between this post and my last.
Anyway, I am at Palmer Station in Antarctica. I have a glacier that I can climb in my backyard and various penguins or seals walking around the station on any given day. I also have a lot of articles to write to get everyone a great insight into Palmer Station!
Working at a research station that can host tourists is a rare treat for most contractors in my field. The extent of interactions most people at any research station get with tourists is through the internet.
Palmer Station is in a unique cruise ship lane in Antarctica. The sector of tourism in Antarctica is rapidly growing, for better or worse. Palmer Station is making the best of this situation.
My coworkers at Palmer Station are sometimes hosted on different cruise ships to give insight into our lives for passing tourist vessels.
I was lucky enough to go on one of the cruise ships this year.
In the end, we were escorted back to the scary rope ladder dangling from the side of the cruise ship. We climbed back into our dinky boat and puttered back to our little station on the backside of a glacier in Antarctica. Today was a good day in Antarctica!
How do you find a cruise to Antarctica?
I've gotten a lot of emails about how to find the best cruises to Antarctica. Intrepid Travels is a great company to use but a word-of-warning, they're expensive! Not only do you have to find a flight from your home country to Punta Arenas, Chile, but you also have to pay for a guided tour that includes a separate flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to the South Shetland Islands and a cruise around the Antarctic Peninsula.
The prices for a cruise can range from $3,000-$35,000! On the low-end, you board a massive cruise ship and never actually set foot on the Antarctic Continent. In fact, you never actually leave the ship! On the high-end, you'll take a small boat out to remote islands to see real live penguins.
A tour company that I recommend for this is Intrepid Travels. Their prices are somewhere in the middle, with the cheapest being $11,000 for eight days but includes all your meals, incredible excursions every single day that you're in Antarctica, and a great staff of professional environmentalists and hospitality workers. Below is a direct link:Antarctic Express: Crossing the Antarctic Circle from Punta Arenas
When trying to book your flight to Punta Arenas, Chile, I have some advice for people traveling from the United States or Canada. Don't fly from a small regional airport. Book a cheap ticket to one of the major international airports in your country and fly from that city. I've seen flights cost almost triple when booking a flight from small regional airports.
By splitting your tickets, you get a much better value for your money for a little bit of inconvenience and when you're headed for an expensive Antarctica cruise, every dollar counts!
In America, flights from Florida, Houston, and Los Angeles tend to be the cheapest to get to South America so see if the extra hassle is worth money! Here's a link to a great booking site that I use: