Wilhelmina Bay

Between the glacial Gerlache Strait and the west coast of Graham Land lies Wilhelmina Bay, its expansive waters scattered with islands and icebergs

Wilhelmina Bay

Region: Antarctica

Destinations: Antarctic Peninsula

The royal history of Wilhelmina Bay

Although some of the islands in this bay bear names of famous explorers, it was a young Dutch queen after whom Wilhelmina Bay was named. Belgian explorer Adrien de Gerlache did the naming. No landmarks on the whole west side of the Antarctic Peninsula have been named after the Belgian royal family, in fact, as they did not support de Gerlache’s expedition. The Dutch royal family did, however, so the bay was named after their queen.

Wilhelmina Bay’s wondrous scenery

Wilhelmina Bay is high in the ranks of must-see Antarctic sights, and for good reason: The bay’s sheer ice cliffs and glacial sculpturing epitomize much of the Antarctic experience. Its waters are also sheltered, usually enabling Zodiac cruises between the islands and icebergs.

The many whales of Wilhelmina Bay

Wilhelmina Bay is sometimes called “Whale-Mania Bay,” as it is one of the best places in Antarctica to spot these large marine mammals. The waters of Wilhelmina Bay are filled with krill, the staple food of many whale species, and owes to the ample population of the animals there. Sadly, however, it also explains why Wilhelmina Bay was once a top whaling location.