British author Adams (Watership Down, etc.) and New Zealand ornithologist Lockley, together with photographer Hirst-Smith, voyaged through the Antarctic, from Cape Horn to New Zealand, aboard the Lindblad Explorer--where, eating steak at dinner, one might be within a stone's throw of ""a huge solitude of floating ice."" In Adams' ginger-and-molasses narrative (Lockley supplies natural-history interpolations), we have a disarming picture of elderly enthusiasts (average age 60.78), outlandishly togged-out, clambering over rocks to a penguin rookery; strolling among fur seals lazing on a beach; or gathered in awe about the nest of a majestic, unruffled royal albatross. The fabled plenitude of Antarctic wildlife is everywhere in evidence--and so, somewhat ominously, is the animals' unconcern about people. At a peak moment, the Lindblad Explorer passes unnoted through a herd of perhaps 40 finback whales: ""you could have thrown a cricket ball onto [their] backs."" (Then, a Japanese whaling-ship is sighted.) On another memorable occasion, the travelers visit Scott's two restored huts--and, at the smaller one, Adams is reminded of Beatrix Potter: ""the little dark windows, the untidiness, the earth floor and the feeling of being in a den."" Bearing home all his messages are the magnificent photographs, in black-and-white and in color, that keep step with the text. And those impelled to check on Antarctica's prospects can now see, fortuitously, Philip Quigg's A Pole Apart (below).