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Wildlife, birds and whale of the Antarctic

Emperor penguins. Copyriht wildlifeextra.comWatching the wildlife, birds and whales of the Antarctic is not easy or cheap, but it is immensely rewarding for the lucky few that make it. Penguins and albatrosses, seals and elephant seals, and as many whales as anywhere in the world are all fantastic highlights, all set against a backdrop of towering blue ice and rugged mountains.

The most important thing to check is the quality of the vessel you are travelling on, and the crew and specialists on board, price is not everything especially as very few people have the opportunity to travel here more than once.

There are several good operators. Don't go for the huge boats, they are not designed for this kind of travel. Anything too small can struggle in bad weather when crossing the Drake Passage, so something between 70 - 150 berths is ideal. Several companies run excellent ships, Russian built ice-rated vessels with extra stability that are small enough to get into the bays and inlets most ships cannot. Read about Birding in Antarctica.

Antarctic Wildlife Guide
This is a no brainer - the 'Complete Guide to Antarctic Wildllife' by Hadoram Shirihai is by far and away the best book. The clue is in the name, which, for once, is entirely true. This comprehensive guide to the mammals and birds of Antarctica is a must for anyone travelling to the region, and the region includes all the subantarctic islands from The Falklands to the Kerguelen Islands, via Tristan da Cunha, Prince Edward Island, Amsterdam Island, Chatham Island and the Islands to the south of New Zealand.  Click for more details of the book.

Antarctic Peninsula guide: If you are traveling from Ushuia to The Antarctic Peninsula, another good wildlife guide in Wildguides "Antarctic Wildlife".