TRAVEL / Life in the ice-kingdom: During its brief summer, Antarctica's margins melt into a celebration of living and breeding. In his new book, David G Campbell recalls three seasons there

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The Independent Culture
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The author is an ecologist and explorer. He is Professor of Nations and the Global Environment at Grinnell College, Iowa. 'The Crystal Desert', is published on 28 January by Secker & Warburg at pounds 17.99

TRAVEL NOTES

The short Antarctic holiday season runs from December to February. All the following cruises include lecture programmes and excursions guided by Antarctic experts; exact routes will depend on weather and ice conditions.

Abercrombie & Kent (071-730 9600) runs its own Antarctic vessel, the Explorer. All trips are escorted by a team of Antarctic naturalists. A 17-day cruise, sailing from Santiago, with four days in Antarctica, starts at pounds 4,701 (flights from London included; departure dates 15/27 January, 8 February). A 23-day cruise, extended to include the Chilean Fjords, starts at pounds 5,490 (same terms, departure date 17 February).

Clipper (071-436 2931) cruises aboard the World Discoverer start at pounds 4,963 for a 16-day cruise sailing from Santiago (includes international flights, hotel accommodation where necessary, single or double cabin; departure date 14 February). A 21-day cruise extended to include the Chilean Fjords and Chiloe Island starts at pounds 5,875 (departure date 25 February).

Twickers World (081-892 7606) cruises range from 10 to 31 days. 15 days, sailing from Ushuaia on the Akademik Ioffe, which divides the year between cruising and research trips, starts at pounds 2,778 (no supplement for singles this year, flights not included; departure dates 5/19 January, 2/16 February). A 28-day cruise on the Kapitan Khlebnikov, equipped with inflatables and helicopters for excursions, leaving from Fremantle, starts at pounds 7,095 (no international air fares included; departure date 28 January).

Ocean Cruise Lines (071-724 7555) offers a 22- day cruise, sailing from Buenos Aires, prices start at pounds 2,295 (international flights included, departure date 6 January) or a 20-day cruise (departure date 22 January).

Journey Latin America (081-747 8315) has a 14- day cruise from pounds 4,963 (flights included, departure 14 February) and a 21-day cruise from pounds 5,875 (departure 25 February); a 19-day cruise from pounds 2,695 (flights included, departure dates 6/22 January) is less lecture-orientated.

(Photographs and map omitted)

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