Herzog and cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger go to Antarctica to meet people who live and work there and to capture footage of the continent's unique locations. Herzog's voiceover narration explains that his film will not be a typical Antarctica film about "fluffy penguins" but will explore the dreams of the people and the landscape. They begin at McMurdo Station and interview some maintenance and support workers as well as iceberg geologist Douglas MacAyeal. They travel next to a nearby seal camp supervised by zoologist Olav Oftedal. Next they join the film's composer/producer, research diver Henry Kaiser, at his diving camp and interview cell biologist Samuel Bowser and zoologist Jan Pawlowski. Kaiser and Bowser stage a rooftop guitar concert. Herzog and Zeitlinger return to McMurdo for some more interviews and visit the preserved original base of Ernest Shackleton. After some brief footage at the South Pole, Herzog interviews penguin scientist David Ainley. This footage includes a shot of a penguin marching in the wrong direction, walking to a certain death in the barren interior of the continent.