Nature At Its Most Impressive In The Polar Regions
Nature is all around us and has an impact on us in one way or another almost every day of our lives. It can ruin our day or bring us great joy, it can destroy what we have created with a show of its brute force or it can delight us with its beauty and delicacy, but most of all it makes us stand up and take notice.
There are many places around the world where you can witness some of nature’s greatest achievements, in fact just a look outside your door will give you some idea of how amazing it can be at times, but it arguably saves its most impressive feats for the extreme polar regions of our planet. That may mean that these truly awesome displays are rarely on our radar, but with the help of cruises from Fred.\ Expeditions, there is no reason why you can’t witness some of these jaw-dropping sights for yourself.
The Northern Lights
The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights are possibly one of nature’s most well-known performances and provide a headline-grabbing light show to those living in many different parts of the northern hemisphere. Incidentally, there is such thing as the Southern Lights, or Aurora Australis as they are known, but these are much rarer.
This natural phenomenon caused a quandary to humankind for so many years as different groups of settlers tried to figure out what they were. Theories ranged from a thought that they were the souls of people from the afterlife to a feeling that they could have something to do with light reflecting off the snow. We know now that, at least in layman’s terms, that the light is caused by solar winds colliding with specifically charged particles in the atmosphere.
Best Places To See Them: Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Spitsbergen
Best Time To See Them: September - November
Waterfalls tend to show off both sides of nature’s personality. They can depict how beautiful and gentle it can be when you come across a trickling fall over the side of a mountain, but can also show its unrelenting strength when you witness gallons of water cascading down some of the biggest falls in the world. Either way, this type of natural feature will really leave an impression on you.
Although the basic structure of a waterfall is pretty much the same across the board, there are actually many different classifications. These range from the beautifully named Horsetail waterfalls (those in which the water maintains good contact with the rock all the way down) to the rather brutally named Cataract waterfalls which are one of the most powerful kinds in existence. Those of you opting for an Iceland expedition will get to see water in many forms as the waterfalls here are also complemented by exciting geysers and glaciers.
Best Places To See Them In The Polar Regions: Iceland, Argentina, Chile, Norway
Best Time To See Them: March - June
A maelstrom may not be something that many people are familiar with but is a term used when referring to a very powerful whirlpool. The word has Dutch origins but is now used in its Nordic form and literally means ‘mill-stream’, in acknowledgement of the grinding action that the water makes which is similar to that of a grain mill.
There are quite a few notable maelstroms in the world which display nature’s power in all its glory. These are usually formed by the coming together of two strong currents and can be devastating to any small ships in the area. One such whirlpool, known as The Hag and situated off the coast of Scotland, was the subject of an experiment whereby a dummy was fed into its swelling jaws in order to see just how vigorous it was. Needless to say, the dummy looked a little worse for wear when it was finally belched out much further downstream having been plunged to depths of over 250 metres.
Best Place To See Them In The Polar Regions: Lofoten
Best Time To See Them: All year round but at high tide.
Rather than being rivers that have frozen over time, glaciers are formed by snow which has occupied one area long enough for it to turn into ice and become densely compacted. Naturally, these striking features tend to form within the valleys of mountain ranges and can stretch for hundreds of miles in some cases. It is thought that ten percent of the Earth is currently covered in glaciers but there is fear that global warming is causing some of them to melt.
Just like rivers, though, glaciers flow across the land they are formed on, although this process is a lot slower. This can, therefore, cause whole landscapes to be altered and carved out due to the movement of the frozen water. There is no doubting the fact that these natural terrains are beautiful to look at, and there is even a National Park filled with them on the border between the USA and Canada.
Best Place To See Them In The Polar Regions: Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Antarctic Peninsula
Best Time To See Them: All year round (but most trips will be held in the summer months of each hemisphere)
If you would love to see nature at its most impressive then there is no doubt that an expedition cruise can help you achieve this. There is so much to see and you are sure to return a different person than you were when you set out. For more information why not talk with a member of our helpful team by calling us on the number at the top of your page.