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Antarctica, the coolest place on the planet

Whale watching is a cold affair. And it can get awfully cold here in Antarctica. 2013 was the 30th anniversary of the recording of the coldest temperature on earth, a mere minus 89.2 degrees Celsius. It is difficult to put this into context for us humans (we are, after all, tropical animals not well equipped to deal with mildly cold temperatures) and the best I can do is to point out that at -44C flesh freezes in a minute. Against the cold I am dressed in a thick base layer, then a T shirt, then a wind-stopper, then a jumper and, finally, a parka. I also have 2 pairs of socks, leggings, trousers and waterproof over trousers. I am OK most of the time, but when the wind blows, I can still get cold to the bone.

Fortunately, the boat on which I have travelled here provides thermal jackets that protect us from the cold. It is just one of the many thoughtful comforts laid on for intrepid travellers who come to the White Continent to experience this monochrome land which has captured the imagination of curious explorers, adventure seekers and nature lovers since its discovery.

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