FAQ (Antarctica Travel): What Wildlife Will I See?

The Question

What wildlife will I see?

The Answer

Wildlife spotting in Antarctica is a lottery.  There are no game park enclosures or zoos.  There are no park rangers waiting for a “release the whale for tourists” call.  There are no guarantees.

And that’s what makes it so special.

We are the visitors, on the outside looking in – we are venturing into their world.  This is the natural world at its best: untouched and unspoiled, as it was meant to be.

Wildlife spotting in Antarctica is unpredictable.  It’s an adventure, a hunt, an education and a completely unforgettable experience.  The likelihood of seeing a particular species or behaviour may increase at a specific time of year or location, but they make the rules.

What You Might See

On a three week adventure in Dec/Jan through the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctic Peninsula I was surrounded by endless wildlife spotting opportunities – from the ship, from the zodiac and from land.  Whilst it’s impossible to predict what you may see on your trip, here is an example based on mine: Wildlife

Where You Might See It:

 

IN THE SKY

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IN THE WATER

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IN THE SNOW

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ON THE ICE

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ON LAND

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FROM THE SHIP

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FROM THE ZODIAC

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Behaviour You May See:

CURIOSITY

Salisbury Plain, South Georgia…where the penguins are just as curious about you as you are about them, don’t know the “5 metre distance rule” but lose interest quicker than  you do

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SURVIVAL

Neko Harbour, Antarctica…where the strong survive and one creature’s predator is another’s prey.  Heartbreak for the penguin is sustenance for the skua.

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COMMUNAL LIVING

Salisbury Plain, South Georgia…where a king penguin colony redefines the meaning shared accomodation

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TERRITORIAL AGGRESSION

Grytviken, South Georgia…where uninvited visitors are not welcome

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FEEDING TIME

Petermann Island, Antarctica…the only part of the world where regurgitation is cute to watch

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PLAY TIME

Grytviken, South Georgia…where the ocean transforms into a playground

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SLEEP TIME

Grytviken, South Georgia…where it’s acceptable for day time naps in the outside sun!

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HUNTING

Deception Island, Antarctica…where the local supermarket is in the sea

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 5 Tips for Wildlife Spotting & Embracing Your Inner David Attenborough

1. Look for It

The lazy way to spot wildlife in Antarctica is to let the expedition crew do it for you.  There is always someone on the Bridge to search for, identify and log wildlife, zodiac drivers radio each other as wildlife is spotted and the crew set foot on the land first to assess safety and wildlife opportunities.  But where is the fun in that?  The experience begins on the ship, it continues in the zodiacs and it culminates on land – and spotting wildlife yourself provides an adrenalin rush that becomes addictive.

2. Watch It

The first sighting of a creature in it’s natural habitat is an incredible experience.  Seeing that same creature behave in it’s natural habitat is extraordinary.  Take the time to quietly observe the wildlife you see – the rewards are magnificent.

3. Be Patient

Antarctica is not an outdoor zoo and the wildlife does not perform on queue – and that is the beauty of it.

4. Expect the Unexpected

Those magical moments on wildlife documentaries are not performed by animals hired to act a scene.  They are unique events captured in an instance from the observation of wildlife in it’s natural environment.  Yes, the film makers may have been watching the wildlife for a long period of time, but it’s all about being in the right place at the right time…and you are certainly in the right place!

5. Respect It 

Remember this is their home and you are a visitor.  Follow the advice and guidelines of the expedition crew for your safety and the well being of the creatures your encounter.

 

Have you been to Antarctica?  Do you have any wildlife spotting tips to offer?

 

_Kellie_Netherwood-5Do you want to receive my latest posts and photographs straight to your email inbox? Sign up here and receive a FREE Wildlife Photography (Antarctica) eBook

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

Comments

  1. As someone who is into wildlife tourism in India, it becomes imperative for us to see the world view on wildlife. Your blog does just that. Thanks!

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