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Half Moon Island

Latitude

60° 36′ S

Longitude

59° 55′ W

Description

Located on the Eastern side of Livingston Island, Half Moon Island is an ancient caldera which has steep raised beaches resulting from isostatic rebound of the earth’s crust after the melting of previous ice sheets.

It was used as a floating factory whaling site in the early part of the 20th century. Scattered whale bones are testimony to this activity, as is a deteriorating lifeboat on the beach. This copper riveted clinker built boat has been converted into a waterboat/flensing barge with bulkheads, flush deck and a hatch, the detached remains of which lie on the beach. Nearby is the Argentine Camara Station, opened in April 1953 by the Argentine Navy. Currently it is disused, although in 2012 it was loaned temporarily to Brazil to enable them to continue their marine biological research programs after their Ferraz station burned down earlier in the year.

What We’ll See

The landing consists of two raised beaches, their rounded stones mark the limits of the ancient beach.

The island is home to about 3,300 pairs of chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica) whose numbers have been declining in recent years.

Antarctic shags (Phaacrocorax brandsfieldensis), nest on the easternmost islet, and Wilson’s storm petrels (Oceanites oceanius) nest on the talus slopes of the highest points. Kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) and Antarctic terns (Sterna Vittata) nest in several closed areas around the shore.

Weddell (Leptonychotes weddellii), crabeater (Lobodon carcinophagus), southern elephant (Mirounga leonina), and Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazelle) frequently haul out on the island’s southern and eastern beaches. In late summer increasing number of fur seals also visit the island.

Rich growths of orange crustose (encrusting) Xanthoria lichen, fructicose (branching) Usnea lichens, some foliose (leaf-like) lichens and mosses cover the exposed rocks.

Historical sites include Camara Station, and the waterboat on the landing beach.

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