The Weddell Sea extents far south and is therefore under the direct influence of the very cold Antarctic Continental Climate. The continental borders of the Weddell Sea are formed by huge floating sheets of ice. These ice-shelves produce the huge tabular ice-bergs that are so abundant in the Weddell Sea. Scientists have declared the waters of the Weddell Sea to be the clearest water of any sea on Earth. The clarity of the water is on par with distilled water.
The Weddell Sea is frequented by a large number of Orcas, Humpback, and Minke Whales as well as Leopard, Weddell, and Crabeater Seals. The area is also home to a large number of penguins, namely the Adelie Penguins - who have a colony of more than 100,000 breeding pairs - which nest on Paulet Island. Recently a colony of Emperor Penguins was also found nearby on Snowhill Island.
The Weddell Sea was discovered by the British sealer James Weddell in 1823.
Cruises to the Weddell Sea
Searching for the Elusive Emperor Penguins
OTL22-21 A true expedition, our Weddell Sea cruise sets out to explore the range of the Emperor Penguins near Snow Hill Island. We will visit the area via helicopter and see a variety of other birds and penguins including Adélies and Gentoos.
14 Nov - 24 Nov, 2021
Searching for the Elusive Emperor Penguins
OTL22-22 A true expedition, our Weddell Sea cruise sets out to explore the range of the Emperor Penguins near Snow Hill Island. We will visit the area via helicopter and see a variety of other birds and penguins including Adélies and Gentoos.
14 Nov - 24 Nov, 2022
Take an exploratory expedition through some of Antarctica’s most wildlife-rich waters.
PLA29-23 The great Weddell Sea not only features massive tabular icebergs, wildly dramatic landscapes, and fascinating historical sites, but it is also one of the best places in Antarctica for viewing iconic wildlife like whales, seals, juvenile emperor penguins,...
11 Feb - 22 Feb, 2023
Venture beyond the polar circle, visiting some of Antarctica’s most wildlife-filled waters and islands
HDS31-23 This expansive expedition takes you into the Antarctic Circle, combining the rich animal life of the Weddell Sea with the surreal shores and islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. Such key landing sites as the legendary Elephant Island and Crystal Sound...
14 Mar - 27 Mar, 2023
Weddell Sea wildlife
Weddell Sea cruise reviews
Weddell Sea FAQ
What animals can I spot at the Weddell Sea?
You can see enormous amounts of animals in and around the Weddell Sea such as Adelie penguins, Emperor penguins, Weddell seals and Orca.Read more »
What is the climate at the Weddell Sea?
The Weddell Sea has a big impact on the local climate. The area typically has strong surface winds, and this carries strong winds into the mountains and lower latitudes. These winds also have an impact on the South Atlantic Ocean because they tend toRead more »
How can I reach the Emperor Penguins?
Although we may not be able to reach the emperor penguin rookery of Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea (less than 50% chance) we have good chances to observe individual emperors on the edge if the pack-ice.Read more »
Where is the Weddell Sea Located?
The Weddell Sea is located between the land boundaries of the Antarctic Peninsula to the west and Coats Land to the east. When you travel to the Weddell Sea region, your cruise will take you through territorial areas that have been claimed by BrRead more »
How Big is the Weddell Sea?
The Weddell Sea takes up an area that is approximately 2.8 million square km (1.1 ×106 square miles). The widest part of the Weddell Sea is 2,000 km (1,200 miles).Read more »
Who Discovered the Weddell Sea?
James Weddell is believed to be the first person to discover and explore what would eventually become known as the Weddell Sea. Weddell and his crew reached the area in 1823, after mistaking some icebergs for land.Read more »
Weddell Sea Weather
The eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula (where the Weddell Sea is located) is known for its wild weather. At its warmest you can expect temperatures around 0°C. What you really have to dress for on your Weddell Sea cruise is the winds which can howl through the area to carry away your body heat.
If you scroll one third of the way down this page you’ll find a handy guide to help you pack for your trip.
Facts about The Weddell Sea
- The majority of the southern part of the Weddell Sea is permanently covered by sea ice.
- The Weddell Sea is the body of water that sits to the east of the arm that is the Antarctic Peninsula and the main body of the continent.
- The Weddell Sea (along with the Antarctic Peninsula) is the most diverse area for marine life in the Antarctic region. The food chain starts with the massive amounts of krill that are found in the waters.
- The Weddell Sea as a whole is claimed by both Britain and Argentina, and Chile also claims a portion of the area.
- The Weddell Sea is named after James Waddell who, on the Jane and the Beaufoy, was the first to be able to sail into the area in 1823.
- There are over 200 species of fish in the area, including the Channichthyidae which are known as “bloodless fishes.”
- The Weddell Sea is said to have the clearest water of all the seas in the world.
Travel to the Weddell Sea
Heading to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula, your Weddell Sea expedition takes you to an area of amazing wildlife depth and diversification despite the harsh conditions. On your cruise including the Weddell Sea you’ll have the chance to encounter whales, seals, birds, and thousands of penguins, all of which have adapted to the remarkably difficult yet beautiful environment.