Stunning icebergs and wildlife-rich shorelines.
Information about Pleneau Island
Pleneau Island is one of the less-visited Antarctic visitor sites but is well worth it. First mapped in 1903 by the French Charcot expedition, it’s a beautiful location that overlooks what’s known as an “iceberg graveyard”, with a Zodiac cruise often favoured over a landing (see fascinating facts). Whether viewed from the island itself or from a Zodiac, there are always stunning ‘bergs to photograph here.
The island itself is less than a mile long and lies just off Hovgaard Island in the Wilhelm Archipelago. Pleneau is home to terns, and your expert Antarctic guides will make sure that you avoid disturbing them in the breeding season.
The permanent ice cap at the top of the island looks stunning, but it’s riddled with crevasses and not safe to walk on.
The northern end of the island hosts a breeding colony of Antarctic Shags, and you will almost certainly see penguins and seals among the stunning icebergs.
Interesting facts about Pleneau Island
Many ships (if they get through the Lemaire Channel), choose to anchor or drift just to the north of Pleneau Island, and to the western side of Booth Island. The reason for this is to do one of the most stunning Zodiac cruises in the whole of Antarctica. Huge icebergs drift up the outside of the peninsula and then get stuck and caught on shallow banks and rocky ridges on the seabed to the west of Booth Island. Icebergs of all shapes and sizes move around, bump together, and get stuck in iceberg 'traffic jams' in what is fondly known as the iceberg graveyard.
As well as the stunning scenery with the icebergs and the back drop of Booth Island, there is wildlife. The chance to find seals resting on ice floes with countless Crabeater Seals and some massive Leopard Seals. Antarctic Terns resting on icebergs (look out for wintering Arctic Terns). Snow petrels feeding amongst the ice floes. Penguins washing in the sea and on ice (mainly Gentoo Penguins but the chance for other species). And the chance to observe Antarctic Minke Whales and Humpback Whales up close, and even Orca. There are some deeper channels and the deep diving and elusive Arnoux's Beaked Whale has even been seen. A stunning location!