Gateway to Earth’s most remote, extreme and enchanting wilderness
Information about Antarctic Sound
A gateway to the ultimate adventure that only a few will be lucky enough to experience.
Located at the northerly tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the Sound is a remarkable onslaught for the senses as you come face-to-face with monstrous slabs of ice, now floating free as enormous tabular icebergs. These have broke away from ice shelves in the Weddell Sea and drifted into the Sound.
Treacherous to early explorers, the first vessel to successfully navigate the Sound was The Antarctic, the vessel of the Swedish Nordenskjold expedition of 1903. Unfortunately, she was trapped in the Weddell Sea by ice the following year and crushed - one of several vessels to have that fate over the decade.
Fortunately, modern polar cruising vessels have no such worries with their strengthened hulls and modern navigation technology. As you enter the monochromatic beauty of white ice and grey sea you will know that that you are soon going to experience some of the remarkable sights and encounter the wonderful wildlife that makes its home in these islands of snow, ice, and rock.
Interesting facts about Antarctic Sound
The Antarctic Sound is the way to get into the Weddell Sea and also a great place to see Adélie Penguins that have restricted rookeries in the nearby NW peninsula.
Amongst the Cape Petrels do look out for the all white Snow Petrel and the brown-and-white Antarctic Petrel. Along with the Adélie Penguin and the Emperor Penguin, these four seabird species only occur south of the Antarctic convergence. So do keep any eye out for a larger penguin amongst the other penguins on the ice floes, since there is a chance of seeing an Emperor Penguin here, and even all four Antarctic specialists the same day. But it should be stressed there is only an outside chance of spotting an Emperor. But keep looking, after all, the vista is stunning.
Quite often weather and ice conditions rule out a landing here, but a Zodiac cruise or ship's cruise of the Antarctic Sound can be one of the highlights of the whole cruise.
If you're planning your first expedition to the Antarctic make sure that you start brushing up your photography skills to allow you to capture this remarkable continent and its creatures in all their majesty. Early morning and evening can be spectacular in the Antarctic Sound with the sunlight on the tabular bergs. So do think of getting up early to be on deck.
Pictures of Antarctic Sound
Highlights Close to Antarctic Sound
Brown Bluff is a great example of a “tuya” - a volcano that has been flattened by erupting through a glacier! These are the rarest of all volcano types and only found in areas that have seen large-scale glaciation in the past.
Brown Bluff with its distinctive “tabletop” look, lies on the Tabarin Peninsula, in the northernmost part of the Antarctic Peninsula, and on landings when there is little snow, with the rock formations it is easy to think you are in Colorado rather than Antarctica!
The landing beach here is made of pebbles and volcanic ash, rising quickly towards steep reddish-brown cliffs. The cliffs are embedded with “volcanic bombs” - large pieces of lava that were thrown out during an eruption, cooling in the air to land as solid spherical or oval shapes.
As well as the fascinating geology, the other star of the show is the birdlife. Brown Bluff is home to over 20,000 breeding pairs of Adelie penguins, as well as a small colony of gentoo penguins. And long lines of penguins walk along the beach to the preferred location to get into the water - away from areas where Leopard Seals may be hiding in hidden gullies offshore. Other breeding residents for what is landing on the main peninsula, include storm petrels, Cape petrels, Snow Petrels and Kelp gulls.
Weddell seals often haul out on the beach here, and it’s also common to see Leopard seals hunting in the waters close to the shore.