Saturday 15 October 2022

Antarctica's Best Landing Sites

#expeditioncruising .

Guests sailing on Antarctic expedition voyages will have opportunities to step ashore and explore many of the most beautiful and interesting sites on the Antarctic Peninsula. The following list has been compiled by Seabourn's expedition leader, Robin West, which will give visitors the chance to view different species of penguins, seals and whales; visit sites of historical and geological interest; gain first-hand insights into regional scientific research; see a variety of types of ice features and enjoy scenic cruising of spectacular waterways and passages.

Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands offers views of breeding chinstrap penguins, blue-eyed cormorants, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, terns and skuas, and the mesmerizing calls of Wilson’s storm petrels returning to their crevice nests to relieve their mates. Southern elephant, Weddell and Antarctic fur seals regularly haul out on the beaches. 

Neko Harbor, Errera Channel affords expansive views of the Gerlache Strait. First seen and charted by the Belgian explorer, Adrienne de Gerlache during the Belgian expedition of 1897, the bay was named after a whale factory ship, which operated in the area. View nesting gentoo penguins, kelp gulls and skuas, and likely Weddell and crabeater seals. 

Cuverville Island, Errera Channel is a small, rocky island with fascinating geological formations. View the region’s largest colony of breeding gentoo penguins, as well as southern giant petrels, kelp gulls, Antarctic terns, snowy sheathbills, Antarctic brown skuas and south polar skuas. Weddell and Antarctic fur seals are often seen on the island’s shoreline.

Yankee Harbor, Greenwich Island, South Shetland Islands is known for its gentoo penguin rookery on the raised terrace beaches and artifacts of sealing era, including try-pots. See a plaque in memory of Capt. Robert McFarlane, who explored the Antarctic Peninsula in 1820. 

Almirante Brown is a small seasonal Argentine station in Paradise Bay -- without doubt, one of the more spectacular sites in Antarctica and aptly named. An excellent site for a continental landing, or a hike up the slope for panoramic views. Zodiac tours thread the icebergs and “bergy bits” to view seals on ice floes and look for whales which frequent the bay.

Waterboat Point/González Videla Station, is another opportunity for continental landing and also to meet a Chilean research team. The station is named for Chilean president Gabriel González Videla, the first head of state ever to visit Antarctica, in 1950. Gentoo and chinstrap penguins breed here. Kelp gulls, skuas, blue-eyed cormorants and seals may also be seen.

Brown Bluff, Tabarin Peninsula. Located just off the Antarctic Sound, where huge tabular icebergs float northwards from the Weddell Sea, the ice-capped Brown Bluff is reminiscent of the North American “Badlands” - except with 20,000 nesting Adélie penguins! Occasionally emperor penguins are seen among the ice.

Esperanza Station, Hope Bay is an alternative landing site on the eastern side of the peninsula, where guests see first-hand how researchers live and work in this environment. Base personnel bring families here, including some children who live here year-round! The site also holds the remains of a hut built by Otto Nordenskjöld’s 1901 Swedish Expedition. 

Arctowski Station, Admiralty Bay, King George Island. A number of research bases are sited on the island, including U.S. scientists at the nearby Pietr Lenie Field Station. The rare assemblage of breeding chinstrap, gentoo and Adélie penguins, allows comparative breeding and feeding ecology studies. Fur seals and Southern elephant seals are often seen.

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