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Our Real Latin America Expert

Sophie Barber
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert

Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.

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Travel Specialist Sophie shares her top 5 experiences in Antarctica.

1. Making new friends on Petermann Island

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The island is named after August Petermann, a German geographer who discovered the island in 1876. Petermann island is a great place to see Weddell, Crabeater and Elephant seals as well as skuas and other Antarctic sea birds. There’s also an impressive colony of Adelie penguins as well as gentoo penguins. We saw both species of penguin but the gentoo penguins were my favourite. The adolescent penguins are quite inquisitive so if you crouch down and remain still, it’s likely they will come and investigate what you are. One curious little one came right up to me and started pecking at my trouser leg. After a few minutes, it realised that there wasn’t any food to be had and waddled off but what an amazing experience!

2. Watching Antarctic sunsets

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The picture says it all really, the bright yellow sun setting against the Antarctic backdrop with the odd iceberg floating by!

3. Watching whale flukes at Wilhelmina Bay

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Wilhelmina Bay is just 15 miles wide and is named for Wilhelmina, Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 – 1948. It has been nicknamed ‘Whale-mina Bay’ and we were about to find out why… As we launched out on the zodiacs and further into the bay, I saw my first blow hole! The water was so calm except for a small ripple left by the humpback whale. They had been feeding all night and were sleepy but that didn’t stop them swimming under the zodiacs and rewarding us with some flukes (the tail of a whale). It was just magical! I had wanted to see whales at this proximity for so long and to be able to do so in Antarctica made the experience even more special for me. I put down my camera and just watched as these huge creatures floated by us.

4. Visiting Skonthorp Cove, Paradise Bay

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We awoke to find the boat making its way towards Paradise Bay, one of the most beautiful places in Antarctica. The weather was a bit windy but the visibility was good and as we approached the bay the weather cleared with bright blue sky and sunshine beaming down on us. We took a zodiac boat into Skonthorp Cove where the scenery was remarkable – there just don’t seem to be enough adjectives to describe Antarctica!

5. Experiencing Antarctica's extremes

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One afternoon, we went to Neko Harbour which used to be a whaling station and is one of the few places in Antarctica with a kind of sandy beach. As we are preparing to go ashore the wind picks up to 30 knots but being hardy explorers now, we board the zodiacs. On arrival at the ‘beach’ the wind reaches a gusty 37 knots! The landing is close to a glacier so we need to move swiftly off the beach in case the glacier calves. If this happens the ice that breaks off can create a wave that would envelop the beach and the zodiacs. I don’t wait to be told twice and head up past a colony of gentoo penguins to climb the viewpoint. The wind is strong and whipping the snow into a frenzy so we retreat back to the warm of the ship. The afternoon didn’t go quite as planned but I still enjoyed it; it also demonstrated how quickly the weather can change and what a powerful place Antarctica is.

Take a look at some of our Antarctica holidays:

Signature Antarctica: Highlights of the Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctica: In search of the Emperor penguin
Antarctic Circle: Fly and cruise

 

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Real Latin America Experts

  • Evie Oswald
    Evie Oswald - Travel Expert

    It's hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Expert

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Head of Sales.

  • Paul Winrow Giffen
    Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Expert

    After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Expert

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Lina Fuller
    Lina Fuller - Travel Expert

    Lina's passion for the continent where she was born really took off when she moved to Córdoba (Argentina) to study, spending the holidays travelling between Argentina and her native Colombia.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Expert

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our London-based Tailor-made and Group Tours sales team.

Meet the team