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South Shetland Islands Antarctica Cruise Port Guide


As cruise ships are not able to dock here you will be tendered by inflatable zodiac boats.

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The South Shetland chain of islands lies off the north western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. They were discovered by William Smith in 1819, claiming the islands for the British King George III. The usual act of sealing took place of course - when William Smith returned to the South Shetlands for a fifth time (1820-1821), his two vessels alone took over 60,000 fur seal skins. By the end of 1821, the fur seals were almost completely gone. Some of the first Antarctic tourism took place in the South Shetlands: the first Antarctic tourist flight flew over the islands and the Antarctic Peninsula in 1956 The islands in the chain are largely glaciated and include Deception Island elephant Island, King George Island, Livingston Island and Penguin Island. You may also visit the Aitcho Islands, Half Moon Island or Yankee harbor on Greenwich Island. The waters are home to humpback whales, southern elephant seals, leopard seals, and Weddell seals. On the shores, you can find lichens, mosses, a few grasses and higher plants grow in crevices in the cliffs. The land-based vegetation of Antarctica is the most diminutive on earth. The greatest numbers of plants are the microalgae which migrate through capillaries in the ice. Antarctica has only a handful of hardy insects, and one species of spider.

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