Fancy a cruise to the Antarctic?
Many do, and according to Dr Geoffrey Carter, guest speaker at the January general meeting of Todmorden U3A, some pay £28,000 for the pleasure, writes John Boutell.
This is at the luxury end, you understand. As described by Dr Carter, it must need a considerable degree of luxury to make up for the experience of the voyage, traversing some of the roughest seas in the world with waves up to 13 metres high.
Dining the conventional way, Dr Carter told his audience, was not always an option. Sometimes the condition of the sea necessitates passengers being fed while strapped in their bunks.
Antarctica is the highest, windiest, coldest and driest – despite all that snow and ice – of the continents. What draws visitors to such a hostile place, and compensates for the kinds of journeys described above? For Dr Carter, it was bird life, more varied than many may think – seven species of penguins; five of albatrosses and 33 others.
A number of species breed in Antarctica, three of them exclusively there. Mammals make their homes there also – five species of seals, and whales. Krill are found in the sea and are critical in the food chain.
Above all these attractions though, one must cite the magnificent scenery, which, as well as the birds and the mammals, featured in Dr Carter’s illustrations.
If you would like to find out more about Todmorden U3A and its activities, call 01706 839176.