Unfortunately, the reality is that few Antarctic tourists will see the Aurora Australis (the southern lights) during the course of their trip. Because most trips are clustered around the mid-summer period, at the Antarctic Circle the sun is either above the horizon or so close to it that the sky does not darken adequately for an aurora to be visible. Further north, the high prevalence of cloud and short darkness makes a sighting unlikely.
The prospects may be best for those tourists on the 'shoulder' part of the season, early or late, because of the greater number of hours of darkness.
Dress Code: Warm
This was our favourite spot on board ship, night and day. In the daytime it was a great place to sit, possibly with a book and definitely with one of the wonderful “hotties” that were on offer – a variety of hot chocolate or coffee based drinks, most with a warming touch of liqueur, whisky or similar. And whenever you looked up from your book, which was often, you would see the ice-bergs drifting past and the penguins porpoising. Occasionally you would hear the magic announcement from the captain: “whales on the port side”! A brief pause while everyone remembered port from starboard, and then we’d all be rushing to the appropriate side to spot them, before settling back again to soak up the amazing view.
At night the lounge was equally welcoming – unobtrusive live music (string quartet and/or piano), excellent cocktails and, with the long hours of daylight, still that stunning vista. We would visit the lounge every evening for a pre-dinner drink and on quite a few for a post-dinner night cap too. This was much more to our taste than the other entertainments on offer, but for those who prefer something livelier there were nightly cabaret-style shows, dances and a late-night disco. Something for everyone, in fact!
Dress Code: Casual during the day (very casual when filled with passengers wrapped up in their red parkas waiting for their turn on shore). In the evening the dress code was really smart-casual, but a few people would be dressed more formally.
Most residents of the mid-latitudes have never seen the 'midnight sun'. But it is simple to do if you're at the right place (and at the right time!). Head south to the Antarctic Circle at midsummer's day (21 December), settle back and enjoy the evening and, weather permitting, as midnight passes you can watch the sun doing a lazy sweep along the horizon to the south. The further south you go, the longer the phonomena is visible, till when you reach the geographic pole, the sun remains visible between the equinoxes in March and September.
Dress Code: Warm.
We were advised when preparing for our trip that there would be two formal evenings on board the Marco Polo. Of course these are entirely optional – you can easily choose to eat in the self-service restaurant that evening and “do your own thing”. But we thought if we were going to go on a cruise (not at all our usual sort of holiday) we might as well do it properly, so we packed appropriate clothing and went along.
Both occasions consisted of a formal welcome at the door by the captain and other senior officers, an opportunity to pose for a souvenir photo in front of a back-drop (hence the rather incongruous image of me in an evening dress apparently out in the ice and snow!), drinks and music. A few people danced and officers were on the lookout for single women in search of a partner, but we preferred to watch and chat to a couple of people sitting near us. It was all pretty low-key, and the formal activities didn’t extend beyond 30 -45 minutes before everyone dispersed and went into dinner or elsewhere to enjoy a regular evening on board ship.
Dress Code: Tuxedo, dinner jacket or dark suit for men; evening gown, cocktail dress or similar for women.
That's right! McMurdo Station even has a two lane bowling alley.
Here is a photo of the two women who set up your pins and roll back your ball manually. You've gotta compute your own scores..
It's bowling in Antarctica! another thing you never knew you'd be doing.
I never expected to have a barbecue on deck, but the evening was mild (just above zero degrees) and the sun was shining well into the evening (it never really got dark this far south).
The chefs laid on a fantastic spread of grilled food and Suza (our trusty barmaid) brought out a large container of hot mulled wine. Surrounded by stunning scenery and some great company, what more could you ask for?
What do you get when you put 1,000 talented and eclectic researchers in an isolated location for months at a time?
If you come here, you'll find many unique ways to remain entertained. Things you never thought you'd do in Antarctica!
Ok, let's face it... this is an expedition cruise. Not a cruise cruise per se...
Entertainment on board is not what people come for. No casino either. So, most Asians would not board this ship, haha!
I'm the only one from Asia really.
Most of the passengers on board are Americans.
The crew & staff are mostly Asians though... from Philippines!
Our 1st cocktail party.
The Johnsons from Texas made me feel very much welcome. One of the first few I met & the nicest!
This is where I spent most of my time on board.
Well, not only in the night but also during the day.
Victor is the pianist & he plays beautifully.
I was inspired by his music & wrote most of my postcards from this bar.
Chris & Mellany are very nice people too. They were great to talk to & I enjoyed sampling the cocktails here. Yes, I'm allergic but with a boat, one never knows what makes u drowsy, lol...
The Earth is surrounded by a thin gas cover, the atmosphere, and fast charged particles, plasma, are moving in space above it. Auroras arise when some of those particles enter the Earth's atmosphere and collide with atoms and molecules. When the particles collide the energy used to give them their velocity changes into a light, the aurora.
The particles that make auroras come from the ionosphere but have an extremely high velocity due to the energy from the solar wind. The particles are caught by the Earth's magnetic field and are steered towards the poles. When a particle reaches the atmosphere it collides with one of the many present atoms.
The atom that has taken over some energy from the particle has now got too much energy and lets go of it. The surplus energy becomes light. The next atom that collides with the particle also takes over some of its kinetic energy, resulting in the particle losing even more velocity. The new atom also lets go of the energy. As the particle moves down through the atmosphere the atoms become more and more crowded, resulting in more collisions for the particle. Each time the particle collides it moves a bit slower and more light is emitted.
When the particle has collided a number of times it has lost so much of its kinetic energy that it stops moving. This occurs when the particle is approximately 100 kilometres from the Earth's surface. When a lot of particles collide with atoms, releasing light, an aurora occurs.
Dress Code: Very Warm Coat
For auroras to arise on a planet five things are required.
First of all the planet has to have an atmosphere. The atmosphere is the screen upon which the aurora is shown. If there was no atmosphere the particles from space would find no atoms to collide with and no light would be visible.
Dress Code: Black Tie with warm Night coat
For auroras to arise on a planet five things are required.
Second, there must be charged particles, plasma, that can collide with the atmosphere. If there were no particles the situation would be the same as above.
Dress Code: Dress Very Warm Please