When it comes to pure Antarctic beauty, Paradise Bay remains the unrivaled champion. Mammoth glaciers spear out of the steel-blue sea, icebergs that have run aground lie shattered over the rocks like pulverized cathedrals. The water is thick with ice floes and whales, gentoo penguins and crabeater seals. The whole scene looks like the fantastic sculpture of some all-powerful ice spirit. Paradise Bay is located just north of the Lemaire Strait.
Some Background on Paradise Bay:
- Although the bay is definitely an Antarctic paradise, its name is not entirely accurate. Whale hunters used this bay as an anchorage for their floating factory ships in the beginning of the 20th century, and they named the location Paradise Harbour
- Paradise Bay is one of two places on the west side of the peninsula where you can easily set foot on the Antarctic Continent―at an Argentine research station called Almirante Brown
- Almirante Brown owes its name to the Irish-Argentine admiral William Brown, the founder of the Argentine Navy and a hero of the Argentine War of Independence. His namesake station is one of 13 Argentine stations in Antarctica
- The base was well equipped in the 1960s, but it burned down in 1984 and was only partially rebuilt as a summer station. It may not have been universally loved, however: Rumor has it the station’s on-site doctor set fire to the building to avoid spending another winter there, though an American ship saved the staff
- González Videla, a Chilean station, also occupies Paradise Bay. It is situated at Waterboat Point, which is on a land spit at the southern entrance of the bay. The name came from two British scientists who stayed here from 1921―22 in a primitive shelter built partly out of an upturned boat left by whale hunters. Their hut is now a historic monument
- When the sun is shining and the weather calm―not unusual in Paradise Bay―a zodiac cruise is like visiting a heaven of ice and snow. Blue-white icebergs, mountains flashing back at you from the bright blue water, and whales and seals common to this bay are eye-popping reminders of why travelers come here year after year