Penguin Island, Antarctica Cruise Port, 2019 and 2020 Cruises to Penguin Island, Antarctica | The Cruise Web
 

Penguin Island, Antarctica Cruise Port

Also known as Georges Island or the Penguin Isles, Penguin Island is one of the smallest South Shetland Islands in Antarctica. The island was first sighted in 1820 by a British expedition under Edward Bransfield who named it after the first thing he saw bathing on the shores. This oval-shaped landmass is slightly more than a mile long and less than a mile wide and acts as the eastern entrance into King George Bay. Its shoreline is made up of low, lingering cliffs with an access beach on the northern side. Deacon Peak, the highest point, is a volcano once thought to have been inactive for more than 300 years, but a maar crater discovered on the island’s eastern side places the last eruption somewhere around 1905. BirdLife International has identified the island as an Important Bird Area because it supports a wide array of seabird species and houses a breeding colony.

 

  • The breeding colony consists of over 600 pairs of southern giant petrels. Also known as the stinker or stinkpot, this large species is unique to Antarctica and southern South America.
     
  • Other nesting and breeding birds include the Adelie and chinstrap penguins, Antarctic terns, and kelp gulls. Weddell and southern elephant seals can also be spotted on the beaches.
     
  • While cruise ships are welcome to the area, they must all have fewer than 200 passengers and only 100 people are allowed on shore at any given time to limit human interference.
     
  • Visitors are never permitted to roam free on the island; however, there are a number of guided tours they can partake in so long as their cruise is cleared in advance.
     
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