Julia Dimon visits Antarctica aboard The Antarctic Dream

Julia Dimon, travel writer and Outside TV host, traveled to Antarctica, her seventh continent, on board The Antarctic Dream. In spite of a constantly rocking ship on her Antarctic cruise, she managed to suppress her seasickness with Dramamine, take in the White Continent, and return with stories of Antarctic wildlife encounters and Antarctica travel tips.

Dimon writes:

The journey was worth it.  We toured around the South Shetland islands, and, when weather permitted, disembarked from the ship into 12-person Zodiacs. From there, we cruised around and made several landings on shore to see penguins!

The smell is one of the first things you notice. An acrid, ammonia-esque smell of ‘guano’ or (penguin poop) hits you as you slide out of the Zodiak and onto shore. Then it’s the sound. In Neko Bay, there’s a colony of Gentoo penguins who are squawking uncontrollably. It is through this distinct call that they can locate their mates and chicks. There are nine varieties of Penguins, but the Gentoo and Chinstap (named for the distinctive black line under their necks) are the most common.

Beyond penguins, we had a chance to see the illusive leopard seal, a predatory mammal who spent most of the day basking in the sunshine on a nearby iceberg. We also saw petrels, Wilson petrels, skuas and blue-eyed shags and elephant seals. Armed with mega-pro cameras that would give anyone lens envy, it was obvious to me that it’s really the wildlife that people come for.

To read the rest of Julia’s blog post about her Antarctic adventure, click here.

The Antarctic Dream is a 78-passenger luxury cruise ship that was originally commissioned by the Chilean navy. Now this modernized, luxury ship transports travelers on Antarctic cruise expeditions. An expedition with The Antarctic Dream features up-close wildlife encounters both on land and in the ocean, kayaking in Antarctica, and Antarctic camping, new for 2011. Find out more at http://www.antarctic.cl/web_eng/.

The Antarctic Dream is offering a 20 percent discount for its February 18 departure.

Penguin chicks in Antarctica

Julia Dimon photo