Paradise Bay: Five Facts You Should Know
If you like frozen landscapes, you'll find paradise in Antarctica’s Paradise Bay — a harbour near Lemaire and Bryde Islands on the Antarctic Peninsula’s west coast. Home to huge whales and fluffy penguins, Paradise Bay is a must-see for your Antarctica trip. Here are five facts about this ice-covered land.
It's paradise on ice.
Many of the reasons whalers considered Paradise Bay to be so idyllic nearly a century ago still apply today. In fact, little has changed in terms of the scenery and wildlife — you’ll witness big swimming whales (though perhaps not many), and penguins diving off ice floes. You’ll glimpse jagged, rock-like chunks of ice overlooking the placid bay. Now’s as good a time as any to experience Antarctica in all its serene, otherworldly glory.
It’s one of two mainland harbours used as a stop for cruises.
Apart from Neko Harbor, Paradise Bay is the only Antarctica harbour used as a stop for cruise ships. The glaciated mountains and gentoo penguins make it crystal clear why it’s such a popular cruise destination. In fact, cruise ships are the only way to get there.
It’s the location of two scientific research bases.
Argentina’s Almirante Brown Antarctic Base has been in operation since 1951 (although only open in summer since 1984). It sits on top of a rocky perch, providing a great bay view. The other base — Chile’s González Videla Antarctic Base — was active from 1951 to 1958, and briefly in the 1980s. This Chilean base is notable for a nearby shelter that was designated a Historic Site.
You can check out the ice floes in a “zodiac” boat.
The lightweight inflatable boats that ferry tourists around Antarctica are known as “zodiacs.” Taking a zodiac tour around Paradise Bay is a great way to see the icebergs and ice floes that come in every shade of blue. You can also check out the seals and penguins, and maybe even a whale if you’re lucky. Zodiacs can also reach smaller channels that are inaccessible to bigger boats.