When it comes to choosing between a voyage to Antarctica or a voyage to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) & South Georgia, Antarctica21 Business Development Manager Laura Gerwin has first-hand experience aboard both expeditions.
While expeditions to the two destinations vary greatly, Gerwin believes they have much in common, including a delightful opportunity to experience such remoteness and fully disconnect from the outside world. They also have a shared history in common, spanning the last 100 years or more, with the likes of explorers like Ernest Shackleton venturing to both destinations. And, of course, the same world-class Antarctica21 hospitality is present on both expedition types, remarks Gerwin, from the onboard crew who prepare your meals to the expedition staff who get you out of the ship and off on your exploration of the destination.
While both journeys are mesmerizing in their own right, they each come with their own appeal and unique landscapes to enjoy. For starters, Gerwin notes the time at sea varies. While you can only sail to the Falkland Islands & South Georgia—which includes about 7 days at sea both to and from the location—air-cruises to Antarctica require virtually no transit time to reach your destination.
For Gerwin, the highlights of visiting each destination were different. While in the Falkland Islands & South Georgia, she was mesmerized by the sheer amount of noise the wildlife made (something like a symphony) and seeing such bright and colorful hues of the terrain, her visit to Antarctica gave her something else entirely: a monochromatic color palette to enjoy and a landscape rife with penguins and ice.
Whether you’re deciding between the destinations or coming back for a second time to enjoy a new landscape, Gerwin’s observations may help you decide what the perfect voyage is for you. Keep reading to learn more about what she believes are the top three differences between the two destinations!
“In Antarctica, you can truly hear the silence,” says Gerwin. “But in South Georgia, it feels like you’re surrounded by a constant musical of animal sounds.” This is mostly due to the difference in the concentration of wildlife present in both destinations. While both Antarctica and the Falkland Islands & South Georgia expeditions offer shared species between the two locations, the colony numbers tend to be larger in the latter—coming in at hundreds of thousands versus thousands that are often seen in Antarctica. But on the other hand, Antarctica has a much higher diversity in types of landings, which lends to more variety.
“In Antarctica, you’re constantly either walking on ice or seeing ice in the form of icebergs,” says Gerwin. “In South Georgia, you don’t really have ice. There are glaciers and snow-capped peaks out in the distance, but it’s not frozen in the same way as Antarctica.” This, remarks Gerwin, is part of what makes Antarctica so unique and special and why she loves the destination so much.
“White, blue, black, and grey dominate the landscape in Antarctica, as do black and white animals,” says Gerwin, which is an aspect of the landscape that especially intrigues photographers. “But in South Georgia, especially the Falklands Islands, there are colors everywhere: bright green moss, golden flowers, and peachy lichen.’’
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