Not to be confused with the Orkney Islands, found off the north coast of Scotland, the South Orkney Islands are located just north-east of the Antarctic Peninsula and in-between there and South Georgia.
As with many of the islands in this part of the world, debate rages over sovereignty between Britain and Argentina. Although the Argentinians have laid claim to this group (which consists of four main pieces of land) since 1925, the South Orkneys were once under the dependency of the Falklands (a British Overseas Territory) and are now part of the British Antarctic Territory. The largest piece of land is named ‘Coronation Island’ as the archipelago was discovered by Scottish seal hunter George Powell in 1821, the year of King George the Fifth’s coronation.
The landscape here is largely barren, with much of it being glaciated rock. However, there are a couple of reasons why stopping here during your Antarctic expedition will prove to be an exciting experience. Not least of these is the fact that the South Orkneys are home to the rare snow petrel, a beautiful seabird. You’ll also find many other species of seabird along with various types of penguin.