Antarctica - Photos: Martín Rubinetti
Known as the “last continent” or the “white continent”, Antarctica is the largest water reserve on Earth. It occupies a surface of 14,677,000 square kilometers around the South Pole.
Its daily life is ruled by the Antarctic Treaty System, which sets forth that several countries have permanent occupation of this territory but must develop scientific and research activities and by all means avoid any alteration on the environment. Countries like Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Belgium, Japan and the United States of America are presently carrying out this kind of activities.
Unlike the North Pole, which is a layer of floating ice, Antarctica is continental land and if we think in the long term, one of the richest on the planet, as it contains 90 % of freshwater world reserve. A thick layer of ice covers more than 95 % of its territory and it is the highest continent, as it reaches 2,300 meters MSL.
Its beauty has been the subject of documentaries, photographs and a huge number of expeditions that have landed on this territory in order to discover what days are like on the white continent.
Strange sceneries are combined both with native and migratory wildlife that remains here almost year round. Most of its natural life develops in the sea and its shores, where whales, seals and penguins, as well as other aquatic birds, comply with most of their life cycle.
If there is somewhere on the planet where the weather is extremely cold, that is the poles. Antarctica features temperatures that may drop to -40° C, though in the summers when the weather is fine, the average temperatures on the peninsula are around -7º C.
Records give account of 1773 as the year when the first expeditions arrived in Antarctica: real conquests for the challenging polar geography. No wonder more and more tourists visit Antarctica year after year, not only to see the white continent but also to watch its wildlife in the most unspoiled habitat ever.