a good station visit with penguins and an historic site.
Rating: * * *
Esperanza is a large, permanent Argentine Base. It is one of the few bases actually on the Antarctic peninsula proper, and has both Heroic Age history and wildlife to offer as well as traditional Argentine hospitality.
Where is it?
Esperanza is huddled on the slopes of Hope Bay, on the far eastern tip of the Trinity peninsula, in the middle of Antarctic Sound.
Antarctic Sound is known for its fast moving big ice and the rough weather that can quickly descend on the region, making it tricky to complete landings. The shore itself is usually full of welcoming Argentine nationals and easy to negotiate.
Up to half a million Adélie penguins inhabit a colony on the western and southern sides of the base, but access to it is restricted because of scientific research programs. Usually one or two penguins drift into accessible zones, and skuas and sheathbills live on the base.
Hope Bay was named by Otto Nordenskjöld, after three of his party inadvertently wintered there during 1903. The makeshift stone hut that was largely rebuilt in 1966–67 still stands near Esperanza’s dock.
The current station, Esperanza (Hope) was built and first occupied in 1952, and it claims many Antarctic firsts: first consecrated Catholic chapel (1976), first school (1978), and, a serious matter of national pride, first baby born in Antarctica, Emilio Marcos de Palma (born 7 January 1978).
The base currently fluctuates between around 50 in winter and 90 in summer, usually consisting of a few families as well as individuals visiting for shorter periods.
Photos, Voting and more coming soon!
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