Snow Hill Island
Snow Hill Island is located off the east coast of the Antarctic Peninsula and is home to a rarely-visited colony of 4,000 pairs of breeding Emperor penguins and their offspring (think nature documentary, March of the Penguins). That’s about 10,000 penguins in one relatively small space. Nature-lovers have long been fascinated by the survival and breeding habits of this particular type of penguin. Not only do they thrive in bitterly cold temperatures – as low as -60°C (-76°F) – but they’re the only species of penguin to breed and incubate their eggs on ice rather than on shore.
You’re signing up for a true adventure when including Snow Hill Island on your itinerary, as reaching the island is a challenge that only a handful of travelers have achieved. In addition to crossing the notoriously rough Drake Passage, determined travelers must embark a polar ship to navigate the icy Weddell Sea, and then take a helicopter flight before completing the final leg on foot to the emperor penguin rookery.
A key part of this journey to Snow Hills is the legendary icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, which was built to navigate the Antarctic pack ice. It’s unlikely any traveler would reach this remote ice-covered island without the strength of this mighty vessel, which has circumnavigated both the Antarctic and the Arctic. The Kapitan Khlebnikov is equipped with two helicopters for ice reconnaissance and passenger excursions.
Review our recommended Antarctic Expeditions and Cruises if you’d like to visit Snow Hill Island.