Below are descriptions of walks we have enjoyed on previous Antarctica tours.
Some of these walks will almost certainly be part of our itinerary, but because landfalls depend largely upon weather and navigation factors, these descriptions are given only as examples of the kind of walking we will do during shore excursions along the Antarctic Peninsula and in the South Shetland Islands.
WHALER’S BAY, DECEPTION ISLAND ~ 5 KM, RATED 2B
Whaler’s Bay in the caldera of Deception Island offers a few options for discovery. One direction takes us along a sandy beach for a short climb over lava flows to the viewpoint at Neptune’s Window. A second spur trail climbs Ronald Hill, with an elevation gain of just over 300 feet, providing outstanding views, in good weather, of the island and sea-filled caldera.
HANNAH POINT ~ 3.5 KM, RATED 2B
Hannah Point offers a marvelous out and back hike from the landing beach, around penguin rookeries, past blubbery piles of elephant seals, cutting across the sloped hill of cinder and gravel back down to a beach where we have the chance to discover fossils.
CUVERVILLE ISLAND ~ 2 KM, RATED 2B
Cuverville Island is a stone’s throw from the mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula and is home to one of the largest Gentoo penguin colonies in Antarctica. Walking here generally takes place along the shore, with the option to climb a hill that gains us close proximity to the penguin rookeries and provides stunning views out over the iceberg-strewn water (where our ship awaits us) and over to the mainland.
NEKO HARBOUR ~ 1 KM, RATED 2B
The hike here passes penguin rookeries and ascends a snow field to a rock outcrop with commanding views of the bay. Glaciers feed into the bay here, often calving while we are in the area. When conditions are right, some of our best photography takes place on this hike!
JOUGLA POINT ~ 1.5 KM, RATED 2C
This walk is normally paired with a visit to Port Lockroy, the British scientific station boasting the only post office on our journey. The route begins with a detour of 100 meters to a blue-eyed shag rookery. Retracing our steps, we climb to a high point on the island, with awesome views of the Neumayer Channel. This involves crossing a snow patch and tricky footing, at times, over loose stone, sometimes stepping from stone to stone.
PETERMANN ISLAND ~ 2.5 KM, RATED 2B
A hike on Petermann Island leads to Petermann’s southernmost point. The route has two spur trails. The first spur takes us to a small rock promontory past the world’s southernmost Gentoo penguin colony. Crossing a rocky stream, snow patches, and rocky areas takes us to a viewpoint with a nice view of the colonies. We return to the start point and go left on the longer spur, (twice the distance of the first) that passes colonies of Gentoo and traverses partially melted snow fields to a rock outcrop with views of the other side of the island.
PLÉNEAU ISLAND ~ 1.5 – 2 KM, RATED 2C
The visit here generally goes first to see a Gentoo penguin colony, where Elephant seals are also known to lounge. Retracing our steps, we climb through rock outcroppings, used earlier in the year as penguin rookeries, to the summit of this small island. Breathtaking views can be had here of the iceberg-bejeweled bay on the opposite side of Pléneau. This hike has tricky footing in several places, and the rock surfaces can be slippery. The second half of our visit to Pléneau typically involves a Zodiac iceberg cruise where we’ve had encounters with leopard seals in the past.