Down Under to Antarctica

A curious Gentoo penguin

Bruce Northam has written a new article for GoNOMAD about an amazing trip he took down to Antarctica. Spending time with penguins and touring the glaciers was only part of the experience. Here’s a short piece from the article.

At its thickest, the ice is over 2.8 miles (4.5 km) deep, a colossal cap covering the continent and exerting massive influence on world weather, substantially more than the arctic ice cap. The Arctic region/North Pole is ice floating on an ocean and, by comparison, has half the ice.

Here, there are birds that can’t fly (penguins) and mammals that can’t walk (seals); a pollution-free environment where the wildlife returns your ogle. There’s no native population, so any environmental degradation is caused solely by outsiders. With limited history of abuse – excepting whalers and seal clubbers active until the mid 1900’s – animals don’t fear humans.

Wildlife endures unimaginably harsh climate conditions. Only two percent of its land is not covered by permanent ice, and that’s where 16 of the 17 species of extremely tolerant, upright ducks colonize and nest during their short summer vacation. (Penguin species number seventeen claimed the Galapagos).

The UN-sponsored, 1959 Antarctic treaty mandated that everything south of 60-degree southern latitude may only be explored for peaceful purposes: no hunting, fishing, industry, exporting, oil drilling, or weapons testing. Mingling with penguins, however, penguins willing, is permissible.

You can read the rest of the article at