White rounded corner
White rounded corner
Aim, Focus, Shoot - The HyPyC blog
Neko Harbour – My official Antarctica continent landing

Neko Harbour – My official Antarctica continent landing

After so many amazing shore landings such as seeing Gentoo Penguins at Danco Island and visiting the US Palmer research station I really didn't think things could get any better. Neko Harbour proved me wrong and turned out to be an unforgettable and fun adventure. Antarctica was full of surprises, and something would always pop up to amaze me or exceed my expectations of the trip. Neko harbour was also the first official landing we had where we would be stepping on the actual continent itself!

About Neko Harbour

Neko Harbour is an inlet on Anvord Bay, which is located on the west coast of Graham Land on the Antarctic Peninsula. It's difficult to put a place into perspective in Antarctica, but the Peninsula is the protruding arm that reaches up to the tip of South America, and Neko Harbour is just a tiny little piece of that Peninsula. The harbour's name is taken from a Scottish whaling boat "The Neko" which operated during the early 1900's, and was discovered by a Belgian explorer, Adrien de Gerlache (who incidentally is the namesake of the Gerlache straight that we also sailed through).

The beauty of Neko Harbour

The actual inlet itself consists of a semi-circular bay walled partially by towering ice-shelves, which are in turn topped by imposing snow covered mountains. The MS Expedition anchored in this bay and we took Zodiac boats to the shore. There were Gentoo Penguins, Blue Eyed Shags, and a single Weddell Seal present and the expedition team arranged a hike for us up the side of one of the smaller mountains to a beautiful vantage point that offered breath-taking views of the harbour.

Mixing it with the wildlife

When my Zodiac boat landed I spent some time watching and photographing the wildlife at Neko Harbour. The skies were clear and blue and the sun was shining so it was quite relaxing to just sit and take it all in. There were several groups of Gentoo Penguins going about their daily business and popping down to the water for a swim. In and around these intriguing characters were a pair of Blue Eyed Shags and a Seal; the Shags have a beautiful distinctive blue ring around their eye and are quite rare to see.

A single Seal rests on the shore Gentoo Penguins and a Blue Eyed Shag A Gentoo Penguin cleanes itself in the sun A Gentoo Penguin at Neko Harbour

A gruelling hike, for an awesome descent

Once I had snapped the wildlife and took in the surroundings I embarked on the hiking trail that our expedition staff had arranged. I found this hike even more challenging than the one at Danco Island due to the steeper incline, warmer weather, and the slippery slopes closer to the pinnacle. We were walking sideways across the mountain and as I was one of the middle groups to take the hike, the path was quite compacted and treacherous! Needless to say I slipped over quite a few times!

The MS Expedition anchored at Neko Harbour

It was bliss reaching the end of the hike; mainly for the stunning views, but also to have a sit down and regain my breath. Below me the whole bay was unfurled, it was spectacular; the colours, the icebergs and the mountains all looked so perfect. I could also appreciate how high up we had travelled; the boat and people below looked tiny! Paradise Harbour may have been the most beautiful landscape I witnessed, but Neko Harbour was definitely what I would consider the most authentic Antarctic landscape.

Reflecting on the amazing scenery before me Getting bombarded with snowballs

After drooling over the scenery I got my photo taken right at the edge of the mountainside and everyone decided they would pelt me with snowballs! It was so much fun trying to get a decent photo while punching and kicking snowballs out of the way. I also had a moment of madness and stripped down to just my thermal leggings – It wasn't actually that cold! Finally we made our way back down, but not in the usual style. We slid down the mountainside!!!!! Wow!!! It was so much fun, several people had already made a decent track to slide down, so I simply strapped my bag to my chest, took a run and launched myself down the slope. My fellow Englishman Jamie did the same before me, and went to fast that he collided into someone at the bottom and took them out! I tried to video my slide, but the lens just got covered in snow, I have uploaded it regardless (see below).

Sailing through perfection

During the Zodiac ride back to the MS Expedition our driver took us on a scenic route through the icebergs that were stranded in the harbour. Some of them were colossal, towering above our tiny boat; the shapes, lines and colours were outstanding. It was clear to see how the icebergs had moved over time – diagonal lines meant that the berg had tilted at some point, whilst horizontal lines meant that the berg had sunk or risen in the water.

The MS Expedition hiding behnind an iceberg A huge iceberg in the harbour Stunning scenery at Neko Harbour

The photos I took during this short Zodiac ride are some of my favourite from the whole trip – The water was still and a beautiful shade of dark blue, the mountains were lit by just the right amount of sun, and the icebergs created some really interesting shapes and contrast. Neko harbour proved to be a welcome surprise and one of the most enjoyable shore landings I had.

Comment Box is loading comments...

What is Aim Focus Shoot? My travel blog! Aside from travel reviews I also maintain a regular blog with different travel & photography articles such as photo essays and memorable moments.

Simply click on the "read more" button to read the full article, and use the numbered buttons above to navigate through the pages....Enjoy!

Regular blog features
Hotel Reviews Photo Essays Photo of The Day Travelling with an Illness Travel Insights
Bkpk.me Traffic Exchange
White rounded corner
White rounded corner

Have you Packed the Camera? © is a blog dedicated to travel and photography