South Orkney Islands Port gets its name from the Orkney Islands of Scotland. A meteorological station and several research stations are located here. The islands uniquely share jurisdiction as a British territory and an Argentine province. The climate is wet and windy all year, with cold temperatures. Passengers are tendered to the shore via inflatable boat. The attractions can be reached on foot, and locations that are difficult to walk to can be reached by one of the zodiac boats. Photos are allowed and you'll want to take advantage of the nice scenery and interesting wildlife.
The regular inhabitants in the South Orkneys work at the research stations and bring their supplies in with them. There are no stores available to tourists.
Things to See
There are several research stations in the South Orkneys. Signy, which is located on the island of the same name, and Orcadas, on Laurie Island, are most likely to be open to visitors. Orcadas is the larger of the two and hosts about 45 researchers. Some of the subjects studied here include glaciers, weather conditions, and seismic activity. Visitors can learn a lot about this area by visiting one of the stations.
Several animal species found only in the Antarctic region make their home here. The once-endangered elephant and leopard seals have been making a comeback and are a regular fixture on the beaches. Be sure to give them plenty of space, since they're very territorial. Large penguin colonies are on the islands, and you stand a good chance of seeing many of them. A large portion of the wildlife population is located on Coronation Island.
A large majority of the four islands in this group are glacial, and temperatures usually stay low enough to keep the ice from melting. The Sunshine Glacier is the largest in the islands and is often photographed. There are several mountains on the islands, the highest being about 2000 feet high. If you've always wanted to see icebergs up close, you might get your chance here. If the weather permits, passengers can usually be taken on a zodiac boat to see and photograph the icebergs.
Hiking is easy during the warmer months, and cruise lines typically have experienced guides who can travel with hikers. Overnight camping is allowed when the weather is fairly good. If you want to see wildlife in more remote areas, but don't want to ride in a zodiac boat, you might be able to rent a sea kayak. A new experience for many visitors will be diving. Some ships include the special equipment onboard that's needed for scuba diving in cold temperatures. You might get to see several fish species that wouldn't be found in warmer waters.
Restaurants and Bars
Your cruise line might allow a picnic or barbecue on the beach if the weather conditions are good. There are no restaurants or bars located on the islands.