& LANDING BOATS
antarctica can only visited via an
organised tour. all companies are linked in the
"international association of antarctica tour operators",
and have to be in line with the "antarctic treaty". sea
cruises are foremost. during the first decade, russian
ice-breaking ships, mostly built in finland around 1983,
dominated; two are shown below. in recent times, almost
all got replaced by more modern cruise ships, like the one
presented in the third photo.
when the ship sails through endless ice, cracks ice floes and passes icebergs, amazing views are experienced. the comfort for passengers is limited though, because ice-breaking ships tend to 'roll' most of the time.
antarctica cruises always include landings. to do this, rigid inflatable boats or inflatable dinghies are used which have an engine; they are usually called "zodiacs" (after the dominating french company). most ships carry two or more. to get people into them, a ladder is mounted outside the ship, and at its bottom the boat picks up the passengers, between 6 and 10 people. at the target, people walk through water to step on land; they need rubber boots and water-dense trousers as there are no piers. to wear a safety jacket is compulsory. returning to the ship is mostly straightforward - yet not easy if the sea is rough …