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Signy Island - now this is REALLY off the map

Greater London...
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18 posts
267 reviews
182 helpful votes
Signy Island - now this is REALLY off the map

If you ever get to Signy Island, chances are it is because you are working there or on a supply ship, or a private yacht or the only expedition ship that ever goes there from time to time, namely the tall-masted sailing ship Bark Europa. A handful of staff from the British Antarctic Survey are based there from November to April, and offer a warm welcome to visitors - not that there are any! We called on Bark Europa in December 2016 and were the first and only expedition ship to do so in three years. the approach is past glacier-covered mountains rolling down to the ice-green sea, snow filled clouds hanging over the peaks, and broken icebergs littering the shores where they have been blown aground by the southerly winds and currents from the Weddell Sea. You can anchor just off the base in a sheltered bay and land via RIB at the tiny concrete jetty and wander around the rocks close to the scientific base (but not further), picking your way among the seals and penguins that may be ashore, depending on the time of year. The five staff living there on our visit showed us round their simple premises and bizarrely, offer a motley collection of T-shirts and sweatshirts to buy, and postcards and first day covers to send, which will go on the next supply ship (could be a couple of months or more!). It's a half-day visit, but the 'getting there' and the knowledge that you are among the very few who will ever see this place (we were the only 40 tourists in 4 years), A complete rebuild of the base is planned in the next 2-3 years - but don't expect that to include a restaurant, shops or hotel! Truly off the map.

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