Antarctica is an extraordinary place, both for the extremes of its mountains and ice shelves and for the vast population of birds and marine animals. The Antarctic Peninsula itself juts northward about 1,200 miles, from the Weddell Sea toward South America. Interestingly, it is the only part of Antarctica that lies north of the Antarctic Circle; and the northern tip of the Peninsula is only 600 miles south of Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America. The Drake Passage, which separates the two, is notoriously rough, and the passage can be quite an ordeal. The Antarctic Peninsula is the destination for almost all Antarctic cruises. Unlike the Arctic, which is only an ice sheet, the Antarctic is a continent, and quite a dramatic one. The mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula are high, with peaks rising more than 9,000 feet, and are generally considered to be a continuation of the Andes of South America.