One of the great tourism frontiers for travellers, explorers and
adventurers is Antarctica, Earth's southernmost continent. Located in the
Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, it is home to the geographic South
Pole. This remote region is popular with tourist seeking an experience that is
different and memorable.
The Antarctic region is
home to an extraordinary range of wildlife, both living on land and in the
waters of the Southern Ocean. Among the many creatures are marine mammals known
as seals and sea lions. There are a number of species to be found in the
Antarctic including Crabeater seals, Elephant seals, Antarctic Fur seals,
Leopard selas, Ross seals, Sea lions and Weddell seals. Once hunted to near
extinction, seals are now protected.
The Elephant seals are named after the large proboscis (nose) seen on the
adult males. The proboscis is used by the adult males for making loud roaring
sounds during the mating seasons. The adult male can weigh up to 3,000 kg,
whilst the adult female can weigh between 300 to 900 kg just prior to giving
birth. Whilst the Elephant seals may look big and cumbersome on land, once they
are in the ocean, they are superb swimmers and divers. They have been recorded
as being able to dive up to two kilometres deep and hold their breath under
water for up to two hours.
Australian Government -
Australian Antarctic Division website lists
Australian tour operators for the Antarctic. For those planning to include
Macquarie Island World Heritage Area, information is available from the
Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service.
Many thanks to Jennifer Cooke for sharing the story and images of
the wonderful tour she went on with Aurora Expeditions to Antarctica.
Source: Images courtesy of Jennifer Cooke