People on Antarctica? Learn about some Antarctic bases!
In addition to penguins and seals, Antarctica is home to research stations and bases belonging to 29 countries. Some of the bases are open year-round, while others are just open during the summer months (usually from October-March). Many of the first bases were established by nations nearby to the White Continent like Argentina and New Zealand, but one of the newest bases was opened by Korea. Much of the research is dedicated to climate change and long-term monitoring. Here’s a preview of some of the bases you might visit on a Classic Antarctic Peninsula cruise:
● Location: Marina Point on Galindez Island in the Argentine Islands, Antarctica
● Ownership: Ukraine
● History: This base was originally a British base established in 1947, but was purchased by Ukraine in 1996 (for 1 pound!).
● What happens on the base? This base is currently a research station equipped with ozone and biological laboratories and meteorological equipment amongst other tools. Some of the ongoing research projects are related to climate change.
● Fun fact: This base is home to the southernmost bar in the world! The bar even serves vodka distilled on site with glacial water. You might be lucky enough to taste this homemade vodka!
● Location: Goudier Island, Antarctic Peninsula
● Ownership: England.
● History: This base was established in 1944 as part of a British wartime expedition. At the conclusion of the war, the base was used for scientific research. The research was primarily dedicated to the upper atmosphere. The base closed in 1962 and remained closed until 1996 when it was restored after becoming an officially recognized Antarctic historic site.
● Who lives there? A staff of four maintains the base and museum, runs the post office, and manages the gift store. They live on the base from November-March. The selection process is intense (this past year more than 2,400 applicants applied for 4 spots!) and involves group team-building exercises.
● Fun fact: This base is home to the Penguin Post Office. More than 70,000 postcards are mailed each year to over 100 different countries! There also sell a variety of Antarctic clothing, books & other gifts.
● Location: Menguante Cove, Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands
● Ownership: Argentina
● History: The base was initially established as an Argentine naval base in 1953. It closed in 1960, but re-opened on a summer-only basis in 1988. It is currently a scientific research station. Some of the ongoing research projects are related to the impacts of tourism on the Antarctic.