Seven Sublime Antarctic Bays

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Antarctica’s seven most scenic bays

It’s pretty well known that Antarctica is very well known for its glaciers, icebergs, and panoramic colonies of penguins. But less obvious is the fact that the Great White Continent is positively peppered with beautiful crystal-clear bays, many of which we visit on our exploratory Antarctica cruise routes.

Whether they’re found in the Ross Sea, Weddell Sea, or punctuating the prototypically polar coastline of the Antarctic Peninsula, these beautiful Antarctic bays form a centerpiece of our deep Southern Hemisphere sailing program.

Here in totally unbiased alphabetical order are seven of these one-of-a-kind bays. Some we sail into, some we drop anchor in, some we simply see from a distance, but all are indispensable to the ideal Antarctic experience.

1. Dallmann Bay

Keep a close lookout for humpback whales in this quintessential Antarctic bay. Situated between Anvers Island and Brabant Island, Dallmann Bay was discovered in 1874 by a German whaler, Captain Eduard Dallmann. Jean-Baptiste Charcot, who led the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903 – 05, later charted the bay.

2. Duse Bay

We sometimes see this wonderful Antarctic bay on our Weddell Sea helicopter trips, which focus on sightings of the emperor penguin. If the weather cooperates, our helicopters will deposit you on a rocky hillock close to an old refuge hut overlooking Duse Bay. From there we like to take walks along the lichen-covered terrain.

3. Hanusse Bay

This Antarctic bay not only affords you a fine view of scattered icebergs, but also a good chance of spotting whales. It is located between the northern Arrowsmith Peninsula and Adelaide Island, and was discovered by Charcot during the French Antarctic Expedition of 1908 – 10.

4. Marguerite Bay

Found on the western Antarctic Peninsula, Marguerite Bay is yet another eye-popping discovery of Charcot’s. In fact, he named this expansive Antarctic bay after his wife. Horseshoe Island, Pourquoi Pas Island, and Lagotellerie Island lie within Marguerite Bay.  

5. Paradise Bay

Arguably the most visually stunning bay in all Antarctica, Paradise Bay (also known as Paradise Harbor) is a good place to spot humpbacks and minke whales. We shoot for this stellar bay on multiple Antarctic voyages, endeavoring to take our Zodiacs through its brilliant blue waters while enjoying the dazzling display of ice formations around us.

6. Whalers Bay

This famed Antarctic bay is a designated Historic Site or Monument (HSM 71) due to the remnants of the past century’s whaling industry found there. Wooden boats, abandoned houses, and bleached whale bones speak of the not-so-peaceful side of Antarctic history.

7. Wilhelmina Bay

Another winning place to watch for humpback whales, this Antarctic bay is likewise a fine spot for Zodiac cruising. You may even see the ghostly wreck of the Guvernøren, a whaling vessel that caught fire there in 1915. Though the bay was named for the queen of the Netherlands from 1890 to 1948, Wilhelmina Bay is nicknamed “Whale-mina Bay” due to its abundance of humpback whales.

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