Snow Hill Island

This popular but seldom-visited island claims one of the largest emperor penguin colonies on the planet

Snow Hill Island

Region: Antarctica

Destinations: Weddell Sea

The suitably named Snow Hill Island

Located in Antarctica’s remote Weddell Sea, Snow Hill Island is almost completely capped in snow. It has a history as fascinating as its scenery, though it is typically the emperor penguin colony that draws the most visitors. In recent years, we have been lucky to see the Snow Hill Island colony, but we are especially at the mercy of weather and ice in this remote Antarctic area.

Stuck on Snow Hill Island: a brief history

In 1902 Otto Nordenskiöld of the Swedish Antarctic Expedition built a six-by-eight-meter cabin on the northeastern side of Snow Hill Island, away from the bulk of the ice. He and three members of his expedition then spent two winters there, though only the first was planned.

Nordenskiöld’s ship, The Antarctic, was crushed by ice while returning from the Falklands to relieve him and his team. The crew managed to reach Paulet Island, where they wintered in a primitive hut, but Nordenskiöld and his three crewmen were forced to spend a second winter on Snow Hill Island.

The stranded team was finally rescued by the Argentine Navy and reunited with the rest of the expedition after many months spent in arduous conditions. Nordenskiöld’s cabin on Snow Hill Island survives to this day. It is now the oldest hut in Antarctica and an official monument.

By probably Otto Nordenskjöld [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

More on the Snow Hill Island emperor penguins

The emperor penguin colony near Snow Hill Island is located just south of the island, though it is often unreachable due to rough weather and pack ice. Far-wandering penguins often perch themselves on Snow Hill Island’s numerous ice floes. Other wildlife, such as orca whales, humpbacks, and minkes, might show up on our Weddell Sea voyages in this area, along with leopard seals, crabeater seals, and Weddell seals.

Related cruises

Weddell Sea - In search of the Emperor Penguin, incl. helicopters

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.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

14 Nov - 24 Nov, 2022

Price:

11750 USD

Weddell Sea - In search of the Emperor Penguin, incl. helicopters

Searching for the Elusive Emperor Penguins

OTL23-22 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.

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

24 Nov - 4 Dec, 2022

Price:

11750 USD

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