South Shetland Islands

Added 07 Jan 2014

Back in 1819 a British merchant called William Smith was rounding Cape Horn in his brig Williams when he was blown south by a storm and first sighted the South Shetland Islands. Smith and Captain Edward Bransfield subsequently surveyed the islands naming them for their similarity in latitude to Scotland's Shetland Islands. They then crossed Bransfield's eponymous strait and sighted the Antarctic Peninsula. This was considered for many years to be the first known sighting of Antarctica, however it later transpired that Thaddeus Thaddevich von Bellingshausen, a Russian ship captain, had unknowingly beaten them by three days!

It is our second day on the Drake and by 5pm we are sighting the South Shetland Islands. In the meantime guests enjoy lectures, films and useful tips and guidance about visiting Antarctica. After dinner the officers and expedition team offer a fashion show of some of the clothing available for purchase in the shop. Thankfully for Richard, Dawn misses the Fashion Show so has no idea what is available in the shop.