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Even with the advent of technology for communications and weather forecasting, and with modern clothing materials, the Polar Regions can be harsh environments. This is part of the reason why they are appealing; the unknown, the remoteness and the challenge.
Getting to Antarctica involves committing to either a ship or yacht journey from a relatively close port (3-10 days) such as Ushuaia, Invercargill, Cape Town, Hobart or Stanley. Alternatively flying from places like Punta Arenas to King George Island or Union Glacier camp puts you directly into the thick of Antarctica. From here you can climb Vinson Massif (the highest mountain in Antarctica), fly to the South Pole, or explore remote Emperor Penguin colonies that very few people have ever seen.
The Arctic is similarly serviced from predominantly Norway or Canada – particularly if you want to fly to the North Pole. You can even board a sightseeing flight from places like Berlin where you will fly over the North Pole and return within a few hours. Longyearbyen is a very popular (and beautiful) departure point for Arctic adventures, and if you want to experience the Arctic on the ground without having to ski or haul gear, Barneo Ice Station (about 100km’s from the North Pole) is an incredible experience. From there you can fly by MI-8 helicopter directly to the Pole in 20-40 minutes. Equally as exciting and adventurous is taking a journey from Murmansk to the North Pole on board the 50 Years of Victory – the world’s largest and most powerful nuclear icebreaker. You can even balloon over the Pole when you get there!
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