Arctic - Antarctica
23 °F / -4 °C
Half Moon Island (Antarctica) is located approx 1,4 km (0,8 ml) north of Burgas Peninsula (Livingston Island) in South Shetland Islands. The island is uninhabited and covers a total area of approx 1,7 km2 (0,7 ml2).
Argentina's scientific research station "Camara Base" is on the island (at Menguante Cove), and features a helipad (no airport). The location is accessible only by helicopter and by ship. Camara Base is a naval base and operational only during the summer. It is among Argentina's all 13 Antarctic bases.
Plants found on Half Moon Island include Antarctic Hairgrass, also several moss and lichen species. The island has been identified as an IBA (Important Bird Area) by BirdLife International due to its support to a breeding colony of around 100 pairs of south polar skuas. Other nesting seabirds found on the island are kelp gulls (40 pairs), Antarctic terns (125 pairs), chinstrap penguins (2000 pairs), brown skuas, snowy sheathbills, imperial shags, Cape petrels, Wilson's and black-bellied storm petrels. Antarctic and Weddell fur seals regularly haul out on the beaches. Whales are often seen here. Southern elephant seals have also been recorded.
Half Moon Island is used as a stop during Antarctic cruise itineraries, with peak season November through March. In the island's southern part there is a walking track (length approx 2 km / 1,2 ml) allowing cruise tourists to get close view of the wildlife and the surrounding mountainous scenery of nearby Greenwich and Livingston Islands. The path starts on the south side of Menguante Cove and runs westwards (along the beach) to the Camara Base. Then it turns north along the head of the cove, and eventually ascends northeastwards to Xenia Hill's top.