Antarctica is enticing throughout the year, but different months of the year are good for different reasons. This was outlined by Aurora Expeditions’ Business Development Manager, USA, George Johns.
“The question does come up: what’s the best time of year, when do you go to Antarctica?” he said during Aurora’s Discover our New Antarctica 2022/23 Program webinar. “First of all, the season is bounded by the southern hemisphere summer – so, late October, November, December, January, February, March, maybe very early April.”
According to Johns, November through early December is the best time for photographers.
“It’s really beautiful down there (then) because we still have the sun; as you get into the middle of the summer, the sun almost never goes down or just goes down for a couple of hours in the middle of the night. Whereas in earlier in the season, you do get these beautiful sunsets, everything is covered in snow, and it’s all fresh snow,” Johns said.
“All the wildlife is sort of waking up from winter, starting the process of building their rookeries and doing courtship and getting ready to produce offspring. Really a wonderful time of year to visit,” he added.
December and January would be the equivalent of July-August in the northern summer and is also a “fabulous time to go,” especially for observing abundant life, according to Johns.
“This is when the days are really long; the penguin colonies are abuzz with new life, the ocean, all the whales are starting to get up,” he said.
But what whale watchers will really revel in is Antarctica in February and March.
“This is when the whales are most plentiful. So, you really get a lot of chance to see not only humpbacks and orcas, but right whales and minkes and all sorts of different breeds of whales,” Johns said.
The penguins and chicks start to molt in February-March, too.
“They’re really kind of going from chick to adolescent to adult, and with all the awkwardness that that kind of entails. And the shores are… the snow is melted, so the shores are rocky, they’ve got their own sort of beauty, and it’s maybe sometimes easier to walk around and see things,” Johns explained.
But the real answer to the question “when is the best time to go”, according to him, is “go when you can.”
“There’s not a bad time to go. Some people say go in the early season for the snow and then come back later in the season for the wildlife,” he concluded, before adding that Aurora’s Antarctica cruises work well for solo expeditioners, too.
The webinar took place just days after Aurora Expeditions presented its Antarctic 2022-2023 summer season with 26 itineraries. Cruisers booking and paying their deposits before March 31, 2021, can receive up to 30 percent off their voyages.