Port Charcot, Booth Island

Port Charcot, Booth Island

Noisy penguins watch you climb up to 120-year-old remains of early Antarctic exploration

Port Charcot is a small bay at the north end of Booth Island. Booth Island is a rocky and rugged Y-shaped island off the Kiev Peninsula in Graham Land. It was first mapped in 1904 when the French Antarctic expedition led by Jean-Baptise Charcot over-wintered here.

After building a few rudimentary shelters and the cairn that can still be seen at the top of the hill, the expedition used Port Charcot as its base for exploring the area. There is a wooden pillar with a plaque here where you can still make out the names of the first expedition members who wrote them almost 120 years ago.

The walk to the cairn is delightful, although you’ll be carefully led by guides as wandering off the path can be treacherous, with loose rocks and crevasses. Visitors can also walk to the east where there is a noisy Gentoo penguin colony. Chinstraps and Adelies can also often be seen on the beaches here.

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Interesting facts about Port Charcot, Booth Island

The location is the overwintering site of the French Antarctic Expedition, 1903-1905 onboard the Français under the command of Jean-Baptiste Charcot. Remains from the expedition are still visible in the form of a cairn with a wooden pillar (designated HSM 28), the stone built magnetic hut, the wreck of a tender and other artefacts.

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Highlights Close to Port Charcot, Booth Island

Wordie House, Winter Island

Nestled onto the only flat part of Winter Island, Wordie House is a hut built in 1947. It was named by a British Antarctic expedition of the time after James Wordie, who was the chief scientist on Shackleton’s famous 1914 Antarctic exploration. Winter Island is less than 1,000 yards long and is one of the Argentine Islands off the coast of Graham Land. Before it closed in 1954, the hut was used to take meteorological readings using instruments stored inside special screens, one of which still stands today. These readings were among the most important and longest set of weather data ever recorded about the Antarctic and helped scientists gain a greater understanding of the meteorology of the continent. Wordie House was made a “Historic Site and Monument” in 1995 and has been looked after by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust since 2009. There are almost 500 original artifacts still on the site, including original cans of coffee, records, pots and pans, plates, and many more £everyday” items. This makes Wordie House a true time capsule from the golden age of Antarctic exploration and scientific research. The hut is now fully weathertight, and work continues on preserving this unique station. Visits to Winter Island and Wordie House are managed by the nearby Ukrainian station Vernadsky, and you may well be briefed by the Base Commander or other official before you board your boats for the landing. Uniquely for such a historic site, visitors are allowed to roam freely under the supervision of their expert Antarctic guides. They will answer all your questions about the history of the hut, as well as the artifacts that you can find here. Visitors to Winter Island can also expect to see seabirds such as skuas and kelp gulls, as well as seals and penguins.

Animals in Port Charcot, Booth Island

Our trips to Port Charcot, Booth Island

Price
Minimum Price

USD 50

Maximum Price

USD 11000

Duration (days)
Minimum Days

5

Maximum Days

26

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