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Stunning Photos of Antarctica That Will Make You Want to Book a Cruise Immediately

PHOTO: Kristy Alpert

Warning: these images may incite wanderlust.

Antarctica is a land of extremes. This southernmost continent is home to the world’s coldest temperatures, windiest conditions, highest landmass, and largest desert, yet even those extreme factors can’t compete with the extreme beauty that can only be found within this amazing destination. From adorable penguins to the subtle kaleidoscope of colors within a single iceberg, these photos offer but a taste of the White Continent’s vast splendor.

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The remains of the SS GUVERNØREN, a whaling boat that caught fire in 1915 and was forced to run ashore to save the 85 men on board, can still be seen beached on the shores of Enterprise Island.

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Gentoo penguins in Antarctica generally lay their eggs between October and November, where each parent takes turns to incubate the eggs over a period of 34-37 days. Every step matters for these petite Gentoo penguins as they make their way from the water to their nests.

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A leopard seal, one of the top predators in Antarctica, lounges lazily on an iceberg inside Wilhelmina Bay.

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Weddell seals are the opera stars of Antarctica, with more than 34 different calls in their repertoire ranging from whistles to chirps and tweets.

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An intrepid traveler gets up close to nature as he paddles his way along the icy waters of Walker Bay.

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Every landing is different while in Antarctica, where inflatable zodiac boats take passengers to and from the continent, but arriving to the sight of waddling penguins never gets old.

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Although often appearing desolate at first glance, the icy waters surrounding the Great White Continent are brimming with life, from miniscule phytoplankton to grand humpback whales.

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Icebergs can appear to contain multiple shades of blue when light reflects off the older, denser portions of the ice.

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Certain cruises offer a night of camping on the continent, where the Antarctic Treaty requires that everything brought in must be brought out…and they mean everything.

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Sunsets are a rare beauty in Antarctica since summer can mean nearly 24-hours of sunlight and winter can mean six months of little-to-no sunshine.

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Humpback whale sightings increase during the summer months (January-February) when they make their way to the Antarctic Peninsula to feed on krill and other small fish.

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Gentoo penguins in Antarctica tend to make their nests on rocky or beachfront areas that are free from ice.