The History of the Bay of Whales | Alaska Whale Watch

by | Oct 8, 2022

The Bay of Whales: A Brief History

Blog Introduction: The Bay of Whales is a stretch of water in Antarctica situated perfectly between the Ross and Weddell Seas. It is most notable for its large icebergs which often attract wildlife such as seals, penguins, and whales – hence its name. The bay is a popular tourist destination for those who want to experience the unique landscapes and wildlife that Antarctica has to offer.

The History of the Bay of Whales

The bay was discovered in 1903 by American explorer Benjamin Leigh Smith. He named it after the number of whale sightings he made in the area. In 1911, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott built a base camp on one of the icebergs in the bay, which he named Castle Rock. This would become an important base for many subsequent Antarctic expeditions.

In early January 1912, Scott and his team left Castle Rock to embark on their journey to the South Pole. However, they were forced to turn back just 11 days later due to bad weather and deteriorating health conditions. They were eventually beaten to the pole by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team. Despite this setback, Scott and his team continued their journey back to Castle Rock, where they arrived in March 1912. Unfortunately, they never made it back to civilization; all five members of Scott’s team died from exhaustion and exposure before they could be rescued.

What to See at the Bay of Whales

The main attraction at the Bay of Whales is, unsurprisingly, the whales. humpback whales are particularly common in the area, although other species such as minke whales and orcas have also been known to visit. Penguins are also a common sight; both Adelie and Gentoo penguins can be found swimming and sunbathing on the icebergs.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot a seal or two lounge about on an iceberg or among the pack ice. Weddell seals are the most common type of seal in Antarctica, but you might also see leopard seals or crabeater seals if you’re lucky. These animals are truly fascinating to watch; Weddell seals have been known to dive up to 2,000 feet deep in search of food!

The Bay of Whales is a must-see destination for anyone interested in experiencing the best that Antarctica has to offer. With its stunning scenery and diverse wildlife, there is something for everyone at this unique location.

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