Highlights of Half Moon Island
Antarctica’s Half Moon Island, one of the South Shetland Islands, is located in McFarlane Strait. It is the site of Argentine research station Cámara Base. During our landings on Half Moon Island, we might see Weddell seals, chinstrap penguins, and other Antarctic wildlife.
Half Moon Island animal and plant life
Designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International, Half Moon Island is known for its breeding colony of south polar skuas. But many other birds breed there: imperial shags, cape petrels, snowy sheathbills, brown skuas, Wilson’s petrels (and storm petrels), Antarctic terns, and kelp gulls, along with the aforementioned chinstrap penguins.
Picture by Esther van der Stappen
Several seal species may be spotted at Half Moon Island, including southern elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals, though Weddell seals are the species we most often see. It is not uncommon to also view whales (humpback, for example) in the waters around Half Moon Island.
As for Half Moon Island’s flora, several species of moss and lichen grow there. We also see Antarctic hair grass, one of only two flowering plants native to Antarctica. Its survival in Antarctica’s harsh conditions is owed to its deep root system, which holds it to the ground and is able to extract what little nutrients are available in the region’s rugged terrain.
Picture by Sara Jenner
Main image by unknown photographer