This year was a drive to get the 6 major continents checked off my list, and now that they are, that leaves one remaining, Antarctica. Question is, what is the best way to get there?
I've looked a little a grabbing my 7th continent, but that proposition isn't exactly clear cut, or for that matter, cost effective. Many friends have mentioned methods to get to Antarctica on the cheap, but I've seen no details on these methods yet. If you have a good way that you'd recommend and have tried, let me know.
From what I have seen there are two ways you can get to Antarctica, by plane or by boat, both have their problems. Antarctica has notoriously fast changing weather. This makes plane travel rather tricky, since last minute weather changes can often mean cancelled flights and that may be a thing that cannot be recovered from, something you may need to take a whole other trip to try again with the same chance of cancellation happening.
Taking a boat is the other option. Antarctic cruises seem far more reliable, but the weather will not leave you alone here either. Waters around Antarctica are extremely rough, the area is know as the Antarctic divergence/convergence zones. These areas are caused by water currents and weather patterns at the polar regions. Interactions between opposing wind patterns and water currents cause stormy seas and extremely rough water. Knowing this in advance is key. I'm leaning toward the boat method myself, but trying to find a cost effective method is difficult.
Many cruises start out in the $10,000 range and go up from there. Cruises often run for 2 weeks, and as such can be a large time investment aside from the major monetary investment.
I am told there are other options. Multiple people have told me about joining scientific exploration crews for lower cost. These boats shuttle science crews to and from Antarctica and often feature lecture series while on board. In my opinion this sounds like paradise. Science lectures and a trip to Antarctica? Yes please!!!! I'm a major science nerd, so while it may not be everyone's cup of tea, this sounds like paradise to me.
Now I just need to find the perfect cruise to join. If anyone has suggestions, please send them my way, I'd love to find a good boat to join for a trip next year if possible.