Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, underlying the South Pole. It is situated in the Antarctic region of the southern hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14.0 million km2 (5.4 million sq mi), it is the fifth-largest continent in area after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, which averages at least 1.6 kilometres (1.0 mi) in thickness.
Antarctica is the coldest place on Earth. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. For comparison, this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation; the South Pole itself receives less than 10 cm (4 in) per year, on average. Temperatures reach a minimum of between −80 °C (−112 °F) and −90 °C (−130 °F) in the interior in winter and reach a maximum of between 5 °C (41 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) near the coast in summer. Sunburn is often a health issue as the snow surface reflects almost all of the ultraviolet light falling on it.
Why book an adventure cruise in Antarctica?
How times have changed for the Polar adventurer! These days we can explore the frozen continents of Antarctica & the Arctic in relative comfort and safety and return to our homes within 2 weeks, unlike Ernest Shackleton and his crew who took 2 years to escape its icy clutches after their ship was crushed in 1915. Of course, in keeping with our philosophy, it is essential that we protect this last pristine Polar wilderness, and in partnership with the ship's operators we apply the most stringent rules of minimum impact polar travel. This ensures that we protect this region of floating behemoths of ice, dormant volcanoes and cold waters that nourish the range of exotic polar creatures of land, sea and air that allow the most incredible holidays to Antarctica and the Arctic.