Antarctic Peninsula Destinations!

Almirante Brown Station

The tiny red houses of the Argentine summer station Almirante Brown are silhouetted against the mighty ice-streams flowing down the steep sides of Paradise Harbour (see there). The place was named after Admiral Guillermo Brown, who is considered the father of the Argentine Navy. Born in Foxford, Ireland, on 22nd June 1777, he died on 4th March 1857 and was buried in the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. Antarctica expedition cruise vessels often offer exciting zodiac tours to their passengers. Scontorp Cove to the south of the station buildings is an excellent spot for zodiacing along glacier fronts actively calving or ploughing slowly amidst ice bergs of all sizes. Usually, various seal species such as Crabeater seals or Leopard seals can be encountered here resting on ice floes in the cove. As the station buildings stand on the actual continent itself, the landing here is popular for those eager to set foot on Antarctica.

Andvord Bay

Located at the southwestern side of Arctowski Peninsula on Danco Coast. Gerlache and his Belgian Antarctic Expedition discovered and roughly charted the bay in February 1898, and named it Baie Andvord or Baie d'Andvord, after Rolf Andvord, Belgian Consul in Christiania (Oslo) at that time. Neko Harbour (see there) is the landing site of touristy interest

Antarctic Sound

This phantastic strait offers breathtaking views and separates d'Urville Island, Joinville Island and Dundee Island from Trinity Peninsula in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula. French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville first sighted this sound at its northern end on the second French Antarctic Expedition, 1837-1840. The first ones to navigate and chart this passage were the members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition on 15th January 1902. They named the sound Antarctic-Sund, after the expedition ship Antarctic, lost in Erebus and Terror Gulf on 12th February 1903. Antarctica cruises in this area normally head to Esperanza Station / Hope Bay (see there) or Brown Bluff (see there) in order to go ashore.

Argentine Islands (Wordie Hut/Winter Island, Vernadsky/Galindez Island)

The Argentine Islands are a group of small islands off the West coast of Graham Land, separated from the Antarctic Peninsula by the 7 km / 4,5 miles wide Penola Strait (see there). The group consists of countless small and ice-capped islets (such as Skua, Winter, Grotto, Corner, Anagram, Barchans and Forge islands) that do not rise higher than 50 m / 170 feet above sea level, and that are separated from each other by narrow channels and short bodies of water. The leader of the French Antarctic Expedition (1903-1905), Jean-Baptiste Charcot, named this archipelago after Argentina that had supported his expedition. Winter Island had been the winter quarter of the British Graham Land Expedition of 1934-1937 where they built a hut. This hut, however, must have been destroyed by a tidal wave. A new hut was built on the same spot by the British, completed on 28th March 1947 and named Base F, later Wordie House which today is of historic importance and represents an example of an early British scientific base. Scientists lived here continuously until 1953 when need for larger accommodation gave reason to construct a bigger hut on Marina Point, on nearby Galindez Island. In 1977 the Base "F" was renamed in honour of famous British chemist and physicist Michael Faraday (“Faraday cage”; 1791-1867). In 1996, the station was transferred to Ukraine who renamed it Akademik Vernadsky (after Vladimir Vernadsky, 1863-1945; Russian mineralogist and geochemist, and founder of the Ukrainian National Academy of Science). It is the oldest station in the Antarctic Peninsula area. Today’s main fields of study include surface meteorology, ozone, ultra violet radiation, geomagnetism, ionosphere, long term changes to the upper atmosphere, tides, human physiology, atmospheric turbidity, and others.

Astrolabe Island

A small island, about 5 km / 3 miles long and located in Bransfield Strait (see there), off Trinity Peninsula, in the north-western region of the Antarctic Peninsula. Rising to 560 m / 1840 feet. This is a rarely visited spot for sea conditions must be perfect, i.e. calm, in order to dare excursions here. Because the thing to do at Astrolabe is zodiac cruising. The rugged coastline surprises with some very narrow channels, steep cliffs, high swell breaking on the rocks (from where Chinstrap penguins want to jump into the water) and a wide bay indenting the north coast. Here, landings can be undertaken if the swell and the tides are fine. Charted and named Île de l'Astrolabe by the French Antarctic Expedition under d’Urville, 1837-40, after the expedition ship Astrolabe.

Booth Island

The island is 8 km / 5 miles long, rises to an elevation of 980 metres / 3200 feet, and is separated from the Graham Coast by famous Lemaire Channel which is a dream destination of most Antarctic voyages. Discovered by the German Antarctic Expedition (1873- 74) in January 1874 and named Booth-Insel by Polarschifffahrtsgesellschaft of Hamburg, probably after Oskar Booth or Stanley Booth (or both), who were members of the Hamburg Geographical Society at that time. Roughly charted as a new discovery by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition on 12th February 1898 and renamed Île Wandel, after Carl Frederick Wandel (1843-1930), Danish Arctic explorer and hydrographer, who assisted the expedition and supplied surplus equipment from the Danish Ingolf expeditions of 1895 and 1896. Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Charcot aboard his schooner Français spent the winter of 1904 anchored at an inlet of Booth Island. See also Port Charcot.

Bransfield Strait

This strait separates the South Shetland Islands from Trinity Peninsula and the Joinville Island group. It is approximately 100 km / 60 miles wide and extends for 320 km / 200 miles to the southwest. Geologists noticed submarine volcanoes and active spreading centres in the Bransfield Strait which is actually opening up each year. Discovered but thought to be a gulf in January 1820 by Edward Bransfield, Master of the Royal Navy (1785-1852), commanding the brig Williams for her Antarctic voyage of 1819-20 to survey the South Shetland Islands; Bransfield was also the discoverer of Trinity Peninsula, the first part of continental Antarctica to be seen by man. The strait was subsequently charted by early sealers and had different names in the beginning: Christmas Sound, Kiles Way and others. Finally, James Weddell named the strait Branfields (note the error...) Strait in 1822.

Brown Bluff

Prominent rock cliff on the western shore of Antarctic Sound (see there) forming the highest point of Tabarin Peninsula (approximately 745 m / 2450 feet), on the northern coast of Trinity Peninsula. The place was named Brown Bluff from the reddish-brown volcanic rock on the north face. the geological history of Brown Bluff is quite amazing, indeed. It provides a good and rare example of a former sub-glacial volcano. The lava must have erupted under an ice sheet or glacier. Scientists found out that deposits from the Brown Bluff volcano were ponded within an englacial lake which was enclosed by ice over 400 m / 1300 feet thick. The predominant rock type found here is Hyaloclastite that is typically form during volcanic eruptions under ice. The Argentine station Esperanza / Hope Bay (see there) is only about 15 km / 9 miles to the north from here. This is a landing on the Antarctic continent itself!

Cierva Cove

Located east of Cierva Point in Hughes Bay on the Danco Coast. First sighted by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition under the leadership of Adrien de Gerlache in January 1898. The cove was named after Juan de la Cierva (1895-1936), Spanish designer of the autogiro, the first successful rotating-wing aircraft, in 1923.

Crystal Hill

Located on the northern side of Prince Gustav Channel, Trinity Peninsula. This ice-free hill is rising to approx. 200 m / 660 feet, and was surveyd and named by Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS) out of Hope Bay station (now Esperanza, see there) in December 1945. The name derives from the rock crystals collected here. Personnel from Esperanza established an Argentine refuge hut, called San Nicolás, near the hill in 1963. Not to be confused with Crystal Mountain (61°59' S / 57°55' W), an ice-covered mountain rising to 620 m / 2036 feet south of Bolinder Bluff on King George Island in the South Shetland Island.

Crystal Sound

This beautifully rough sound is located between Biscoe Islands and Loubet Coast in the far south of the Antarctic Peninsula. Sighted at its northern and southern ends by the French Antarctic Expedition (1908-1910) on board their expedition vessel Pourquoi-Pas? when the name Baie Matha was applied collectively to Matha Strait, Darbel Bay and the south part of Crystal Sound, and the name Baie Pendleton (Pendleton Strait) to the north of the sound. Probably the first ones to ever traverse this sound were members of the British Graham Land Expedition (1934-1937) on their vessel Penola, after air reconnaissance (there was a De Havilland Fox Moth on board capable of operating with skis or floats), in February 1936. In association with the names grouped in this area of scientists who have worked on the structure of ice crystals, the feature was named Crystal Sound.

Cuverville Island

Located in Errera Channel (see there), off Rongé Island, at Danco Coast on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. The island was discovered in February 1898 and named by Charcot Île Cavelier du Cuverville after Vice-Admiral Jean Marie Armand Cavelier de Cuverville (1834-1912), of the French Navy. Excursions by Antarctic cruise ship passengers on Cuverville Island are always highlighted by an absolutely amazing view. Rongé Island and its highrising, totally ice-covered peaks is only about 1 km / 3000 feet away. Often, large grounded ice bergs provide for a zigzag run in the zodiac to the landing beach on the north coast of Cuverville. The narrow and short channel to the west, separating Cuverville from Rongé is chocked with ice floes and ice bergs. The vista from the old raised beaches to the north, far into the Gerlache Strait (see there) is unforgettable.

Damoy Point / Dorian Bay

This small-scale peninsula forms the north-western entrance point of Port Lockroy, on Wiencke Island. Its name comes from Monsieur Damoy, a Paris-based dealer who provisioned many of Charcot’s expeditions. A refuge hut of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) called "Damoy" was established on the bay, in November 1975, in association with the air strip on Damoy Point. There is also a small Argentine hut. From the bare hilltops (about 40 m / 130 feet above sea level) within the excursion area, one can admire a breathtaking view to the big neighbour Anvers Island, or into Neumayer Channel (see there).

Danco Island

This tiny island consists of one small hill and fills a beautiful, icy basin in Errera Channel, off Danco Coast. The island was sighted by Gerlache’s Belgian Antarctic Expedition on passage through the channel, in February 1898. Named as the surrounding Danco Coast by Adrien de Gerlache after Emile Danco (1869-99) of the Belgian Marine, who accompanied his friend Gerlache as geophysicist of the expedition; Danco died aboard the expedition ship Belgica on 5th June 1899. A FIDS station, originally called Base O, later Danco Coast or Danco Island, was established here on 2nd March 1956 and occupied until 22nd February 1959. The old building has been demolished and removed by the British Antarctic Survey und the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty in 2004. There is an excellent view from the small hill

Detaille Island

Located south of the Polar Circle in the entrance of Lallemand Fjord, off Loubet Coast. It was discovered by the French expeditioner Charcot in 1908-10, and named Îlot Detaille after Monsieur Detaille, a French resident of Punta Arenas and shareholder in the Sociedad Ballenera de Magallanes (Magellan Whaling Company, founded in 1905, in operation until 1915), who assisted the expedition to obtain supplies at Deception Island. A station, originally called Base W or Loubet Coast (later Detaille Island), was established here on the 24th February 1956, and occupied continuously until 1st April 1959.

Devil Island

Located in the western Weddell Sea off the north coast of Vega Island (see there). It was discovered by members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition on 12th October 1903, and named Djävulsön (devil's island) from its inhospitable appearance. However, from a tourist point of view the historic definition should be reconsiderred as Devil Island looks very, very attractive through modern digital camera viewfinders… This tiny island is nestled to a larger bay of Vega Island and offers splendid views. There is an enormous colony of Adélie penguins, and the area is often an unintended meeting place of grounded ice bergs offering excellent zodiac cruising. Other wildlife includes Antarctic brown skuas, Kelp gulls, Wilson’s storm-petrel. Because hiking is normally quite restricted for Antarctic cruise passengers (simply due to lack of ice-free ground), Devil Island stands for one of the rare exception and opportunities in the Antarctic Peninsula to crest a small hill and enjoy a truly breathtaking vista across to the continent of Antarctic and to nearby Cape Wellmet on Vega Island (where two parties of the discerped Swedish Antarctic Expedition met each other by pure coincidence on 12th October 1903).

Erebus and Terror Gulf

This ice-filled gulf in the western Weddell Sea near the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula is typically the only region of the huge Weddell Sea (see there) that can quite easily be visited by Antarctica cruises – the rest of that sea is simply out of reach because of sea ice and ice bergs. Located between Dundee Island and Seymour Island, bounded by Andersson Island, the Tabarin Peninsula on the continent, Vega Island and James Ross Island to the west. The gulf was discovered and roughly charted by James Clark Ross between December 1842 and January 1843. Named Gulf of Erebus and Terror after his two ships HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, lost in the Canadian Arctic in 1848, with Sir John Franklin's ill-fated and vanished expedition.

Errera Channel

Located off Danco Coast, and separating Rongé Island from the mainland. Roughly charted by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition in February 1898 and named Chenal d'Errera after the Belgian botanist Léo Abram Errera (1858-1905). The scenic Errera Channel is a popular passage for modern Antarctic expeditions. Cruise ships often encounter whales here while on their way from Cuverville Island (see there) to Paradise Bay (see there).

Esperanza Station / Hope Bay

Located between Sheppard Point and Stone Point on Trinity Peninsula, in the northern region of the Antarctic Peninsula. Discovered by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition in January 1902. The expedition members Johan Gunnar Andersson (geologist; 1874- 1960), S.A. Duse, and Toralf Grunden, having failed to contact Otto Nordenskjöld's party on Snow Hill Island (see there) further to the south and not having been picked up by the expedition ship Antarctic as arranged (because the ship sunk south of Paulet Island on 12th February 1903), built a stone hut on the western side of Hut Cove which they occupied from 12th March to 29th September 1903; they named the bay Haabets Vig (Hope Bay) to „keep hope alive". The preserved and restored remains of their hut at Hope Bay are now treated as Historic Site and can easily be visited by Antarctica cruises. They can be found just a few steps from the boat jetty of today’s Esperanza Station. A station of the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS, also known under the code-word of that time “Operation Tabarin” until the end of the war), called Base D or Hope Bay, was established south of Seal Point on 12th February 1945. On 8th November 1948 the main hut was destroyed in a fire, in which two people died (O.R. Burd and M.C. Green), and the station was evacuated on 4th February 1949. An Argentine naval station, called Destacamento Naval Esperanza or Esperanza, was established about 500 m / 1600 feet to the northwest of the evacuated FIDS station, on 14th January 1952, and formally inaugurated on 31st March. Only a few days later, on 4th February, the FIDS station was re-established for continuous occupation, following a show of resistance by Argentine personnel already ashore: „They fired a machine-gun over the heads of the British party... and, at the point of a pistol, forced them to return to the ship. In 1953-54, a new Argentine Army Station was established near the naval station and inaugurated on 4th March 1954. In December 1956 the Argentine naval detachment was withdrawn. "Trinity House", referring to the main hut of the FIDS station. On 16th October 1958 the Argentine naval huts were completely destroyed by fire. The FIDS station was evacuated on 13th February 1964.
Today, the Argentine Base Esperanza houses about 50-60 people year-round, including women and children. In February 1976, a small chapel was founded – the first catholic building on the continent, where, in 1978, the first Antarctic marriage took place. In the same year, Argentina inaugurated a kindergarten and the first Antarctic school for the children of the base-personnel. Again in 1978, on 7th January, Emilio Marcos Palma was born on the base being the first Antarctican. The area is characterized by sudden strong winds from the northeast that sometimes reach 350 km/h / 217 miles making it one of the windiest corner on the planet. In the summer, air temperature fluctuate between 0°C and 10°C / 32°F and 50°F. The average annual temperature is around –20°C/ -4°F, the absolute minimum is –35°C / –31°F. During the winter, Esperanza Bay is totally ice-covered, and even during the summer months when many Antarctica cruises visit the base, there can be much drift ice complicating zodiac landings.

Fish Islands

Located off Prospect Point on Graham Coast, near the Polar Circle. Comprising of several small islands: Flounder Island, Mackerel Island, Perch Island, Plaice Island, Salmon Island, Trout Island and The Minnows. Roughly charted and named by the British Graham Land Expedition under John Rymill in September 1935. This labyrinth of low-lying islands volunteers for zodiac touring. Landings on slippery rocks near the Adélie penguins are rare due to little visitor space. Other wildlifef includes Blue-eyed shags.

Foyn Harbour

Located between Nansen Island and Enterprise Island in Wilhelmina Bay (see there), at the Danco Coast. Foyn Harbour was an active centre for whaling operations from about 1912 to 1930. The place was first named Svend Foyn Harbour, following the usage of the whalers after the whaling factory ship Svend Foyn, of Messrs Christian Salvesen of Leith (being the largest whaling concern in the world in that time), which was moored here in 1921 to 1922. The Norwegian Svend Foyn (1809-1894) had invented the grenade harpoon gun in 1870 that boosted whaling. The area is ideal for zodiac touring amidst a confusion of bays, skerries, channels and shoals. Quite unexpectedly, one comes across the steel wreck of the whaling ship Gouvernoren that caught fire here in 1916 and was run ashore by its crew. The bow of the vessel can still be seen above the water; today nesting Antarctic terns peer out of the rusty portholes while the stern of the ship can be detected far below the water on calm days. The area is good for whale watching. Antarctic fur seals use some of the larger skerries as their haul-out place.

Fridtjof Sound

Located between Tabarin Peninsula to the west, and Jonassen Island and Andersson Island to the east running north to south. Discovered by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition on 15th January 1902. Named Frithiofs [sic] Sund after the Norwegian whaling ship Fridtjof, which was to have co-operated with the Argentine corvette Uruguay in the relief of the Swedish Nordenskjöld expedition but arrived too late. For today’s Antarcitc cruises and icestrengthened expedition vessels, this narrow but extremely scenic passage is often used to enter or exit the Erebus and Terror Gulf (see there) to or from Snow Hill Island (see there) and other landing sites in the western Weddell Sea (see there). More often than not, this 3,5 km / 2,2 miles wide channel is clogged by icebergs of all sizes.

Galindez Island

Being one of the Argentine Islands (see there) of the Wilhelm Archipelago on Graham Coast. Roughly charted by the French Antarctic Expedition, 1903-05, and named by its leader Jean-Baptiste Charcot „IÎles Galindez“, together with adjacent islands. After Captain Ismael F. Galíndez, of the Argentine Navy, commanding the corvette Uruguay on her Antarctic cruise in the years 1904-05, when she relieved the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition station at Scotia Bay, Laurie Island/South Orkney Island (the same ship earlier rescued the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, and is now on display as a museum ship in Puerto Madero, downtown Buenos Aires). On Akademik Vernadsky Station see Argentine Islands, above.

Gerlache Strait

This wide strait separates the southwestern portion of Palmer Archipelago from Trinity Island and Danco Coast. Its northern limit is a line between Hoseason Island to Cape Wollaston (Trinity Island) and in the south from Cape Errera on Wiencke Island all the way to Cape Renard near the northern entrance to famous Lemaire Channel. The strait was sighted by the first German Antarctic Expedition (1873-74) under the leadership of Captain Eduard Dallmann at its southern entrance. Finally named after Lieut. Adrien Victor Joseph de Gerlache de Gomery, Commander of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition. However, in all British Government correspondence from 1908 at least until 1912 and in whalers' usage for that period, reference was to Belgica Strait (not Gerlache Strait). Today, Gerlache Strait is one of the main corridors along the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula to be used by Antarctica voyages. Often whales are seen here, and the views to either side of the strait provides for brilliant Antarctic mountain scenery.

Goudier Island

Located in Port Lockroy (see there) indenting Wiencke Island. Charted by the French Antarctic Expedition, 1903-05, and named Îlot Goudier after E. Goudier who was the Chief Engineer in Charcot’s expedition ship Français. The FIDS station called "Base A" or "Port Lockroy" was established on the island on 16th February 1944, and occupied almost continuously until 16th January 1962

Hydrurga Rocks

This group of tiny, low, rocky islands lies off the east coast of Two Hummock Island in the Palmer Archipelago. It was named after the leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx). The barren rocky summits rise to approximately 25 m / 27 yards. The rock surfaces were polished by glaciers and further smoothened by thousands of Chinstrap penguin feet over the centuries. Antarctica cruises landing their passengers here, must be aware of shallow areas affected by the tide. Visitors on land have to deal with slippery rock surfaces and sometimes mud near the landing site. Parts of the hills stay snow-covered throughout the summer. This small-scale excursion area provides amazing views to the glacier fronts of neighbouring Two Hummock Island to the west and to the Gerlache Strait to the east.

Jougla Point

W. This attractive landing site is a quick two-minutezodiac ride from the Port Lockroy Museum (see there) on Goudier Island (see there). Jougla Point was named after a Mr. Jougla who supported the French Antarctic Expedition and forms the western entrance point of Alice Creek, Port Lockroy on Wiencke Island in the Palmer Archipelago.

Lemaire Channel

Running from northeast to southwest, from between Splitwind Island and False Cape Renard, to Roullin Point and Cape Cloos. This short but photogenic channel separates Booth Island from the Graham Coast and was discovered by Eduard Dallmann of the German Antarctic Expedition (1873-74), in 1874. It was the Belgian Antarctic Expedition that first navigated and roughly charted it on 12th February 1898. The Belgian explorers named the location Chenal Lemaire after Captain Charles Lemaire (1863-1925), Belgian explorer of the Congo, who helped Gerlache to organise that Antarctic Expedition. Lemaire Channel is an integral part of most Antarctic travel packages nowadays. The channel measures about 11 km / 7 miles in length, and is passed through in less than 45 minutes. However, due to the scenic beauty, most captains of modern polar cruises reduce speed thus providing the best for their passengers. In case of foggy weather on the way south, there is always hope – because most itineraries pass through the Channel again when northward bound. About midway in the Channel, there is Deloncle Bay opening to the east and indenting Graham Land – a splendid spot for zodiac cruising in the face of magnificent glaciers protruding from all sides and calfing icebergs into the bay.

Melchior Islands

A small archipelago in Dallmann Bay, Palmer Archipelago, consisting of several low and glaciated islands such as Lambda Island (with its lighthouse named Primero de Mayo erected by Argentina in 1942 – this was the first Argentine lighthouse in the Antarctic), Gamma Island, Eta Island and Omega Island as well as offliers. Omega Island in particular received international attention in 2003 when the Polar cruise vessel MS Bremen discovered a new narrow channel about 1 km / 0,6 miles long that actually divides the northern portion of Omega Island into two parts. Thus, Bremeninsel was born, a new discovery in modern times. The group is divided by The Sound into East Melchior Islands and West Melchior Islands. The islands were first sighted by the German Antarctic Expedition (1873-74). They were named after Jules-Bernard-François Melchior (1844-1908), a Vice-Admiral of the French Navy, who was in command at Brest and assisted Charcot’s French Antarctic Expedition by providing a tug during its departure on board their vessel Français in August 1903. Landings during Antarctic voyages are not possible here, but cruising in zodiacs pays off. Humpback whales are often attracted to the area. Otherwise there is not much wildlife with the exception of occasional Antarctic fur seals on exposed rocks.

Mikkelsen Harbor

This is a small bay on the south side of Trinity Island, between Skottsberg Point and Borge Point in the Palmer Archipelago. Nineteenth-century sealers roughly charted this area but called it Hoseason Harbour after James Hoseason, First Mate in the British sealer Sprightly. The bay was further charted by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition and by Norwegian whalers, who anchored there in each season between 1910 and 1917, for six weeks or more at a time. They named this natural harbour after Klarius Mikkelsen, a Norwegian whaling captain and Master of Thorshavn on the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition (1933-35), which circumnavigated Antarctica. The only landing site in the harbour is a small islet called Bombay Island (after a Norwegian floating factory ship). Argentina established a refuge hut in December 1954 called Refugio Capitán Caillet Bois after Captain Teodoro Caillet Bois (1879-1949), hydrographer, historian and officer in the Argentine sloop-of-war Uruguay, 1904-05. Near the hut there is a navigation beacon. Bombay Island in Mikkelsen Harbour is quite densly populated by colonies of Gentoo penguins. Other wildlife includes Snowy sheathbill, Kelp gull, various skua subspecies, Southern giant petrel, Weddell seal, and Antarctic fur seal.

Neko Harbor

NE side of Andvord Bay, Danco Coast, charted by Charcot’s Belgian Antarctic Expedition on 12th February 1898. The sheltered bay was used as an anchorage by Salvesen's factory ship Neko from Leith, Scotland, in most seasons from 1911 to 1916, and from 1918 to 1924 (the ship was lost in July 1924). An Argentine refuge hut was established on 9th March 1949 and named Capitán Fliess after Felipe Fliess (1878-1952), Admiral of the Argentine Navy, who as a lieutenant had commanded the naval detachment that formed part of the crew of the corvette Uruguay in 1903, when members of Nordenskjöld’s Swedish Antarctic Expedition were rescued from Snow Hill Island. The hut was destroyed in 1951 but rebuilt in January 1952. The Gentoo penguin colony stretches uphill. There is an excellent view of Andvord Bay from the top. Other wildlife includes Kelp gulls, skuas, Weddell seals, Antarctic fur seals and Crabeater seals. Whales have also been spotted there regularly. The glacier nearby provides for scenic beauty as well as for acoustic surprises – often large chunks of ice are calfed into the bay.

Neumayer Channel

Being a much larger version of the Lemaire Channel with breathtaking views on high glaciated mountains all the way through, this channel runs northeastsouthwest and separates Wiencke Island from Anvers Island. Its northeastern entrance lies between Cape Astrup and Félicie Point, the southwestern one between Cape Lancaster and Cape Kemp (just off Port Lockroy). The southwestern mouth was sighted by the German Antarctic Expedition (1873-74), and it was named after Georg Balthasar von Neumayer (1826-1909), a famous German geophysicist and keen promoter of polar exploration. Neumayer founded the Deutsche Seewarte (German Hydrographic Office) at Hamburg and was its first director from 1876 until 1903. Antarctic voyages normally pass through the 26 km / 16 miles long Neumayer Channel within approximately 90 minutes. Continuous glacier cliffs line the channel on both sides. Whales have been sighted here.

Orne Harbor

Located southwest of Cape Anna on the Danco Coast, with Spigot Peak at its southwestern entrance. The natural harbour was used by whalers as an anchorage from 1912. The name probably derives from the Norwegian whaling company A/S Řrnen that operated in the area; the company's ship Řrnen or from one of its whale catchers (plural from of řrn/eagle in Norwegian).

Orne Islands

Consisting of several small islands, this group lies close to Georges Point on the northern point of Rongé Island, or northwest of Cuverville Island, at the Danco Coast. Used and further charted by Norwegian whalers as an anchorage from 1912. Antarctica voyages land their passengers on the largest island of the group forming a rocky dome up to 75 metres / 80 yards high. The steep terrain is appropriate to Chinstrap penguins; their numbers are fluctuating but average 400 to 500 breeding pairs.

Paradise Bay (or Harbour)

This beautiful bay is bounded by the totally glaciated Danco Coast to east and south, by Lemaire Island to the north, and Bryde Island to the west. There are three entrance channels into Paradise Bay: Aguirre Passage from north-east, Bryde Channel from the west, and Ferguson Channel from the south. Charcot’s Belgian Antarctic Expedition charted the area for the first time in February 1898. Whalers operating in the area from 1913 gave the name. See also Almirante Brown Station and Waterboat Point.

Paulet Island

This lovely and secluded volcanic island rises to 355 m / 1158 feet. It is located 5 km / 3 miles to the southeast of Dundee Island in the northwestern region of the Erebus and Terror Gulf of the Weddell Sea. The British polar discoverer Sir James Clark Ross (1800-1862) charted this island on 30th December 1842. Ross named the rocky isle after his friend and brother officer Captain Lord George Paulet of the Royal Navy (1803-79) who later became Admiral and entrapped in the capture of Hawaii. Following the loss of the ship Antarctic of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition in the pack ice to the south of Paulet Island in the Erebus and Terror Gulf on 12th February 1903, the crew led by their Captain Carl Anton Larsen reached Paulet Island after 16 days on the packice and built a stone hut on its northern shore which they occupied during 8 months and 14 days, from 28th February until 10th November 1903 when the crew was rescued by the Argentine corvette Uruguay and transported back to Buenos Aires. Only one member of the party had died during the wintering: 22-year old Norwegian Ole Kristian Wennersgaard; he perished due to heart deseas. His grave, a large conspicuous heap of stones with the original wooden cross on it, can be found in a distance of about 800 m / 2600 feet on the wide flat northern portion of the island. On the highest point of the volcanic cone, there is a rock cairn built by the survivors of the wreck to draw the attention of rescue expeditions. Both, the hut and the grave, are protected as an Antarctic Historic Site. Besides its scenic beauty, its remoteness and the historic value, Paulet Island is home to an amazing number of Adélie penguins. An estimated 100’000 pairs breed here every summer. From December to about mid-February, the penguins occupie nearly every free and flat space on the island. Reaching the historic hut situated approximately 200 m / 700 feet above the landing beach can sometimes be out of question because of the penguins which must not be disturbed.

Penguin Bight/Bay, Penguin Point

On the southeast coast of Seymour Island in the Erebus and Terror Gulf, the barren landscape at Penguin Point captivates Antarctic cruise passengers because its clay and mud terrain reminds of a moon-like atmosphere. The Swede Otto Nordenskjöld named the area Pinguinbucht from the large Adélie penguin rookery there, numbering estimated 22’000 breeding pairs. Drifting sea ice can often jam up the landing beach, and a labyrinth of tremendous tabular icebergs can prevent access to the island.

Penola Strait

Strait to the south of Lemaire Channel extending in a northnortheasterly to south-southwesterly direction from Cape Cloos to Cape Tuxen on Graham Coast. Penola Strait is 18 km / 11 miles long and averaging 3,5 km / 2 miles wide between the mainland Antarctic Peninsula and some off-lying island such as Hovgaard Island, Petermann Island and Argentine Islands. Named by the British Graham Land Expedition (BGLE) after one of their two expedition ships, RY Penola, a former Breton three-masted topsail fishing schooner which in turn was named after Penola Station, South Australia, the home of John Riddoch Rymill (1905-1968, an Australian polar explorer and farmer), Leader of that expedition. They used of a motor launch probing ahead to plot a route for Penola through uncharted, rock-strewn waters. The entire journey of the Penola on that expedition measured about 43,300 km / 26,900 miles. The ship was lost in the Firth of Clyde on the west coast of Scotland in 1940, following a collision.

Petermann Island

Located at the western side of Penola Strait, Graham Coast, between Hovgaard Island and Argentine Islands. The German Antarctic Expedition (1873-74) discovered and charted the place and named it Petermann Insel after Augustus Heinrich Petermann (1822-78), a noted German geographer and cartographer; Manager of the Justus Perthes establishment at Gotha. Petermann, in 1855, founded Geographische Mittheilungen, the leading German geographical journal which he also edited for many years. The island was further charted and thought to be a new discovery by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition on 12th February 1898. The Belgians renamed it IÎle Lund. Only when recharted again in February 1904, it was identified as being the same island having two names. On the rocky ice-free slopes of Megalestris Hill, which towering about 150- 200 m / 500-700 feet above the landing beach, there is a cairn with a plaque (restored in 1958) which was erected in 1909 by the second French expedition led by Jean-Baptiste Charcot. He revisited the Argentine Islands and spent the winter from the beginning of February to the end of November 1909 in a bay on the east side of Petermann Island called Port Circumcision. The name given to his winterharbour for the vessel Pourquoi- Pas derives from the holy day on which it was first sighted (1st January 1909). A plaque commemorating this can be seen there today near the Argentinean refuge hut in Port Circumcision. Petermann Island is domed and about 1,5 km / 1 miles long. Most of it is snowcovered.

Pléneau Island

As part of the Wilhelm Archipelago, Pléneau Island (1,3 km / 0,8 miles long) is located northeast of Hovgaard Island on the Antarctic Peninsula’s Graham Coast. Antarctica cruises leaving photogenic Lemaire Channel at its southern exit will notice Pléneau Island as the first island appearing on the right-hand side just south of Booth Island. Members of the French Antarctic Expedition (1903-1905) travelling on Français named the island Pointe Pléneau – after Paul Pléneau, photographer on Charcot’s expedition – and misinterpreted it as being part of larger Hovgaard Island. Pléneau Island remained an alleged peninsula on all subsequent maps until half a century later when Argentina, in 1957, corrected the error. Cruise ship passengers normally are landed on the northeastern shore, opposite the rugged mountains of Booth Island. Landings are just as well as cruising by zodiac along the northern shoreline. Here, in an area with shallow depth between Pléneau and Booth Islands, dozens of larger icebergs are grounded and provide a staggering scenery.

Port Charcot

An open bay, 2,5 km / 1,5 miles wide, at the north side of Booth Island (see there) in the Wilhelm Archipelago, Graham Coast. Discovered and named by the French Antarctic Expedition under Charcot, the bay was used as winter quarters for the expedition ship Français in 1904, when a cairn with plaque was erected; called Port Carthage. Later the name was changed to Port Charcot for his father, Dr. Jean Martin Charcot, a famous French neurologist. See also Booth Island.

Port Lockroy

The small bay of Port Lockroy is certainly one of the most popular destinations for Antarctica voyages – not only because of a post office. The bay is located on the western coast of Wiencke Island, between Damoy Point and Lécuyer Point, in the Palmer Archipelago. On 20th February 1904, Charcot’s French Antarctic Expedition discovered and charted this secluded spot. The Frenchmen named it Port-Lockroy after Etienne-Auguste-Édouard Lockroy (1840-1913) who was a French politician and helped to finance Charcot’s endeavour. Whalers also used the sheltered anchorage in this bay. Remains of that era can still be seen: a wooden waterboat, chain moorings (next to today’s preferred landing site on Goudier Island) and pieces of whalebone. In the centre of the bay, there is tiny Bills Island and neighbouring Goudier Island (see there) on which the British established their formerly secret station called Base A or Port Lockroy in February 1944. This sation of Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (FIDS, renamed in 1962 British Antactic Survey BAS) was evacuated on 16th January 1962. Until then Port Lockroy had been continuously occupied except for three short periods in the second half of the 1940’s and the beginning of the 1950’s. The main scientific tasks that were worked on in Bransfield House, as the main building is called, during the time of operation were survey, geology, meteorology and botany. From 1950 onwards, mainly ionospheric research was executed which was transferred to Faraday Station on the Argentine Islands (see there) when Port Lockroy discontinued its scientific programme. Between January and March 1996 the buildings were restored and are now run as a Historic Site under the Antarctic Treaty and occupied by museum personnel in the Austral summer months only carering for the need of polar cruise passengers visiting the area regularly on their Antarctic voyages. The Port Lockroy Museum run by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust and based in Bransfield House – the oldest British structure remaining on the Antarctic Peninsula – handles around 70’000 cards each year that are posted by tourists for over 100 countries. The dense Gentoo penguin colony surrounding Bransfield House has been monitored since 1996 in order to assess potential visitor disturbance. Despite thousands of visiting cruise ship passengers to the tiny island results show no discernable impact on the Gentoo’s breeding success.

Seymour Island

Captain James Ross sighted Seymour Island on 6th January 1843 when navigating the waters of the southern Erebus and Terror Gulf of the Weddell Sea. Ross described the place misleadingly as the northeastern headland of the sound and named it Cape Seymour after Rear Admiral (later Admiral of the Fleet) Sir George Francis Seymour, Royal Navy (1787-1870), Lord of the Admiralty. Only half a century after it had been discovered, Norwegian whaling Captain Carl Anton Larsen, in 1892-1894, determined the insularity of the location – and claimed the island for Norway. The island is about 14 km / 9 miles long, 8 km / 5 miles wide and consists mainly of a plateau rising 200 m / 650 feet above the sea. Seymour is loacted to the northeast of Snow Hill Island (see there), separated from James Ross Island by Admiralty Sound in a great marine environment made up of huge tabular icebergs and drift ice far into the Austral summer months. The average summer air temperature at Marambio station is –1° to –2°C / 28-30°F, in the winter it drops to –20° to –22°C / -4° to –8°F. Taking into consideration the windchill factor caused by frequent strong winds the temperature sensation can be as low as –60°C / -76°F. Despite its hidden location in a far-off region in the Peninsula’s northwestern corner not so often visited by Antarctica cruises, Seymour Island became world-famous for its fossils. Captain Larsen recognized the global significance for paleontology when discovering fossils of long-extict species. Ever since the days of those prime finds Seymour Island and its fossils have been highly ranked on the scientific agenda. It is even considered to be the only site in the entire Antarctic where fossil remains of penguins have been found that are unquestionably of true penguin origin. The discoveries made document the early stage of penguin evolution taking place shortly before the continental glaciation of Antarctica. Studies mainly concentrate around the Eocene period (56-34 million years ago), a large time span involving climatic cooling (leading to Antarctic glaciation) as well as the “grounding” of penguins (that became flighless about 40 million years ago). Today, fossil penguin bones from that particular geological La Meseta formation in the norhteastern part of Seymour Island are to be found in countless collections scattered all over the world.
The Argentine station Vicecomodoro Marambio was established on 29th October 1969 near the shore at the northwest end of Cross Valley. The base was named after Vicecomodoro Gustavo Argentino Marambio (1918-1953) of the Argentine Navy, who was the first Chief of the Fuerza Aérea de Tareas Antárticas (FATA) and one of the first Argentine pilots to fly in the Antarctic. The scientific station today is Argentina’s main base in Antarctica. It features a huge runway on 230 m / 755 feet above sea level which is 1200 m / 0,7 miles long, and 40 m / 130 feet wide, and suitable even for Hercules C-130 aircrafts.
For landing site on Seymour see Penguin Bight/Bay, Penguin Point

Snow Hill Island

The discoverer of the place on 6th January 1843, James Clark Ross, mistook Snow Hill and the neighbouring islands as being part of the Trinity Peninsula. At that time, there was no rock visible through the snow and ice cover, hence its name. About six decades later, Otto Nordenskjöld, leader of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901-1904), surveyed the area and determined its insularity in March 1902. Snow Hill Island is separated from James Ross Island to the northwest by Admiralty Sound, and from Seymour Island (see there) to the northeast by narrow Picnic Passage, in the Weddell Sea. It is about 32 km / 20 miles long and 10 km / 6 miles wide. Nordenskjöld and his land party established a winter station on the northeast shore near Haslum Crag, which was continuously occupied from 12th February 1902 to 11th November 1903. The place-name Haslum Crag, a small volcanic neck rising to 170 m / 560 feet was formerly known as Basaltspitze (basalt peak) a descriptive name given by Nordenskjöld. British Antarctic Survey, in 1952, changed the name in honour of H:J. Haslum, Second Mate on the ship Antarctic of the Swedish Expedition. The Swedish Hut on Snow Hill Island today is protected as a Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty. It has been thouthfully restored by Argentina and now serves as a museum. In 1934- 35, Lincoln Ellsworth visited the Swedish station on the second of his four Antarctic expeditions in the vessel Wyatt Earp. He made a short flight from Snow Hill Island in his ski-equipped aircraft Polar Star along the east coast of Trinity Peninsula to Nordenskjöld Coast.

Trinity Island

This icy island is 24 km / 15 miles long and 10 km wide / 6 miles wide. The Orléans Strait separates it from the Davis Coast on the Antarctic Peninsula. On 30th January 1820, Edward Bransfield discovered some snow-covered land which he reported to lie at about 63°30' S / 60°00' W. He named it Trinity Land after the Corporation of Trinity House, a British maritime organization acting as Lighthouse Authority.

Vega Island / Herbert Sound

Located on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, in the southern part of the Erebus and Terror Gulf of the Weddell Sea, Vega Island is famous in the world of paleontologists. Large deposits of bones from the dinosaur-age were found here. Amongst those finds there is the first duck-billed dinosaur from the family of the Hadrosauridae, and a juvenile plesiosaur, a marine reptile that is approximately 70 million years old (from Late Cretaceous). And at Cape Lamb, fossil leaves of a new araucaria tree (Araucaria antarctica) were discovered adding to the potential value of Vega Island for fossils. The island lies on the south side of the entrance to Prince Gustav Channel, separated from James Ross Island by Herbert Sound (named after Sidney Herbert, 1st Baron Herbert of Lea, 1810-61, English statesman, First Secretary to the Admiralty, and Secretary at War). James Clark Ross discovered Vega on 6th January 1843 but charted it misleadingly as part of a larger island. The error was corrected sixty years later when the Swedish Antarctic Expedition surveyed the region in October 1903 and Vega got its correct status as an island. Named Vega Ön after the Swedish ship Vega used by Baron Adolf E. Nordenskiöld (the uncle of the Leader of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, Otto Nordenskjöld) in making the first voyage through the Northeast Passage in 1878-79. A large bay indenting Vega’s northern shoreline is the location of lovely Devil Island (see there). West of historically important Cape Well-met connected to the adventurous story of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, there are the spectacular Vertigo Cliffs (63°48’ S / 57°26’ W) rising vertically about 200 m / 650 feet from the sea and extending for 11 km / 7 miles westward. Mainly in the late Antarctic summer season, countless waterfalls from the ice fields on the plateau of the island mantle the entire cliff behind a magic curtain of water.

Waterboat Point / Gonzalez Videla Station

Countless Antarctic cruise ships have either passed or stopped at Waterboat Point located at the narrow northern entrance to Paradise Harbour at the Danco Coast on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Waterboat Point is a strange little piece of bedrock forming a small island joined to the mainland by a spit at low tide. It was first charted by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition under Gerlache in February 1898. The locality gained fame when a two-man party occupied the point from 12th January 1921 to 13th January 1922, living in an old waterboat left stranded by the whaling factory ship Neko about eight years before. Those pioneering penguin biologists, Thomas W. Bagshawe and Maxime C. Lester, called their overturned boat their home for a full year while conducting studies on the local penguin population. The remains of that shelter, now an Historic Site and Monument under the Antarctic Treaty, today consist of the base of their waterboat, some foundations of door posts as well as an outline of the hut. Never afterwards has a smaller party overwintered in Antarctica.
Chile inaugurated a station here on 12th March 1951 and called it González Videla or Base Presidente González Videla, after Gabriel González Videla (1898-1980) who, in February 1948, became the first head of state of any nation to visit the Antarctic.

Weddell Sea

This deep embayment to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula is part of the Southern Ocean and covers an area of approximately 2,8 mio square kilometres / 1,1 mio square miles. From one shore to the other, the widest line measures about 2000 km / 1250 miles. Its eastern, southern and western land-side are composed of huge shelf ice areas. James Weddell himself penetrated this sea which would later bear his name and reached the position of about 74°15' S / 34°17' W on 20th February 1823. However, Weddell respectfully named the icy ocean Sea of George IV or King George IV's Sea, after George IV (1762-1830), then King of England. Later in history, the Weddell Sea became famous globally, when Shackleton’s expedition vessel Endurance sank here in November 1915.
Until recently, extensive shelf ice areas covered most of the Weddell Sea. Large parts of these, however, have collapsed or melted such as the Filchner Ice Shelf, Ronne Ice Shelf or Larsen B Ice Shelf. The Weddell Sea area, and the Weddell Gyre in particular, is one of the largest sources of cold (between 0°C and -0,7°C / 32°F and 30,7°F), very dense water masses. The so-called Weddell Sea Bottom Water, in fact, is one of the densest water masses in all the world’s oceans and spreads from here throughout the deep parts of most other oceans worldwide affecting global circulation and thus the world climate. In the Atlantic Ocean, cold bottom water from the Weddell Sea can be identified even north of the Equator.
From a tourist point of view, most parts of the Weddell Sea are out of reach due to ice. Fortunately, its north-western parts are accessible by Antarctic cruise ships, and are the location of many exciting islands such as Paulet, Devil, Snow Hill, Seymour and others. It here, too, where some of the more approachable colonies of Emperor penguins can be found.

Wilhelmina Bay

Located on totally glaciated Danco Coast, between Cape Anna and Gaston Islands, off the northern end of Reclus Peninsula. Wilhelmina Bay is quite large, and its coast line is completely indented by countles smaller bays and coves. Antarctica cruises entering Wilhelmina Bay often have to zigzag between ice bergs of all sizes freshly calved off from one of glacier tongues and ice cliffs flowing from the glaciated plateaus down into the bay. Besides the breathtaking Antarctic scenery, Wilhelmina Bay features in its northern section Nansen and Enterprise Islands where Foyn Harbour (see there) is located. The bay was sighted by Gerlache on his Belgian Antarctic Expedition, on 29th January 1898. He named it after Wilhelmina (1880-1962), Queen of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948, whose government assisted the Belgian expeditioners.

Yalour Islands

A low lying group of islands and rocks located in the southern section of the Antarctic Peninsula’s west side, on the eastern side of Penola Strait (see there), Graham Coast. The Argentine Islands (see there) is the neighbouring archipelago to the west. Yalour Islands are inconspicuous and do not provide much shelter in windy weather. Nevertheless, this 2,5 km / 1,5 miles long scattered group is home to thousands of Adélie penguins. The islands were named by the French Antarctic Expedition after Jorge Yalour, an officer of the Argentine Navy who was onboard the Argentine corvette Uruguay as delegate of the Instituto Geográfico Argentino when, in November 1903, they rescued the members of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition from Paulet Island and Snow Hill Island (both see there).

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