Tourists visit Yankee Harbour in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. Johan Ordonez/AFP
"It's like getting stabbed," a tourist exclaims, as he plunges into the three-degree Celsius (37-Fahrenheit) water, all under the intrigued gaze of a group of penguins.
All around Half Moon Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula, blocks of ice of all sizes float by on a calm sea, their varying forms resembling weightless origami shapes.
To reach the Antarctic destination the 58-year-old Norwegian, Even Carlsen, travelled 14,000 kilometres (8,700 miles), and spent thousands of euros.
Mostly indifferent to the bipeds donning neon-coloured windbreakers, wildlife abounds in the deafening silence of the icy landscape.
The penguins are as awkward on land as they are agile in water, while massive and majestic whales slip through the waves, and sea lions and seals laze in the sun.
Antarctica, a land of adventure without rulers, is "like the heart of the Earth," according to Marcelo Leppe, director of the Chilean Antarctic Institute.
He said it expands and contracts like a beating heart, while the mighty current which revolves around the continent is like a circulatory system absorbing warm currents from other oceans and redistributing cold water.
But this long tongue of land that stretches towards South America is warming rapidly. Its glaciers are melting and its ecosystem has been invaded by micro plastics carried by currents.
Keep nothing but memories
Tourists are also flocking to the area in greater numbers. This season nearly 80,000 visitors are expected, a 40-percent increase compared to last year.
Antarctic tour operators insist they are promoting responsible tourism.
"Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints, keep nothing but memories," is their motto.
It is Antarctica's very vulnerability that is a draw, with tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of what one day might be gone.
But critics question this sort of tourism, as the emissions from world-crossing flights and soot or black carbon in the exhaust gases of cruise ships are part of what is putting the region under threat.
On Half Moon Island, chinstrap penguins -- named for the black stripe on their chin — strut about in the spring breeding season, raising their beaks and screeching from their rocky nests.
"This is to tell other males 'this is my space' and also, perhaps, 'this is my female'," ornithologist Rebecca Hodgkiss said.
The colony of 2,500 penguins has been gradually declining over the years. It is not known if it is the fault of humanity.
Peering into the lake, the village elder struggled to pinpoint where beneath the hyacinth and mesquite weeds lay the farm he lived in his entire life until the water rose like never before and swallowed everything.
Taj Mahal, built as a monument to a woman who died in childbirth, is set to get a baby feeding room in a first for India where conservative attitudes toward public breastfeeding mean nursing mothers are often shamed and told to cover up.
Space tourism does not pose a significant threat to the environment, former NASA astronaut Mary Ellen Weber said here, stressing that the US space agency is already working on more environmentally friendly propulsion systems.
Noting the impact of hundreds of films, particularly animation, and workshops offered by SIFF to stimulate young imaginations, Masoud Amralla Al Ali said that the festival has been nurturing a deep love and understanding of cinematic arts in children and youth.
The visitors stop to read signs pointing out where hotels and restaurants stood before the salty waters of Lake Epecuen broke through a protective embankment during a storm in 1985.
It has been said repeatedly that your mind has the power to build you up or tear you down. According to Dr. Glenn Leon Vo and Elias Nickolaos, the right mindset is crucial to accomplishing great things in your life.