The Antarctic Sound is a stretch of water that separates the Antarctic Peninsula from the Joinville Island group. First navigated in 1902 by the Swedish Antarctic Expedition, it was named after the first vessel to sail successfully through, the Antarctic. The sound, which is about 56 kilometers (35 miles) long and 13 to 22 kilometers (eight to 14 miles) wide, is difficult to navigate because of the prevalence of barrier bergs—chunks of flat-topped pack ice with clifflike sides, most of which have broken off from the Larsen Ice Shelf. In fact, within a year of successfully passing through it, the Antarctic got trapped and crushed by ice, leaving its crew to spend the winter at Hope Bay. In 1920, another ship attempting passage couldn’t get as far as Hope Bay, which was a British post at the time. Today, a permanent Argentine research base called Esperanza Station is situated there.
Cruising through the Antarctic Sound affords amazing views of the Joinville Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, hundreds of icebergs and such native animal life as gentoo penguins and Weddell seals.