The 7th continent, Antarctica, is for many the ultimate wilderness destination – a pristine area navigable only by small ice-strengthened vessels. Until recently, Antarctica was accessible only to the men and women of meticulously planned pioneering expeditions. However, following strict environmental guidelines, small groups on expedition vessels can now follow in the footsteps of those explorers and navigate through sea-sculpted bergs and groaning, crumbling glaciers to discover sights rarely seen by humanity. During the short summer months the vast pack ice opens and this often harsh and inhospitable environment plays host to one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth. Millions of penguins, petrels and albatrosses breed here, seals laze languidly on ice floes, and whales indulge Zodiacs benignly under virtual 24 hour daylight.