Welcome to Jougla Point, a hidden gem nestled in the icy landscapes of Antarctica’s Palmer Archipelago. Imagine cruising on a Zodiac boat through pristine waters, surrounded by towering glaciers and snow-capped peaks, with the crisp Antarctic air invigorating all your senses. As you explore this remote corner of the world, your lens will be working overtime capturing all the breathtaking moments—gentoo penguins waddling gracefully on the rocky shore, ancient whale bones bearing witness to human activity in the area, and elusive minke whales breaching the surface in a majestic display. Yet, beyond the stunning photography opportunities lies a haunting history. Join us on a journey to Jougla Point, where we unravel the tales of both beauty and darkness that define this extraordinary Antarctic destination.
Jougla Point: a popular spot in Antarctica
Jougla Point is located on Wiencke Island, which is part of the Palmer Archipelago in Antarctica. This point is situated along the western coast of Wiencke Island, which is part of the Antarctic Peninsula region. Jougla Point is known for its scenic beauty and is a popular destination for tourists visiting the area. Besides a variety of seabirds and playful Gentoo penguins waddling around the coastline, Jougla Point provides a deeper insight into the dark history of whaling in Antarctica.
Our visit to Jougla
Date: Afternoon, 14 December 2022.
Conditions: Unpredictable weather. Sunny one moment, snowing the next. Very windy!
What We Did:
- Cruising around Jougla Point on a Zodiac boat.
- Wildlife and iceberg watching with the expedition team.
Notable Things We Saw:
- Gentoo Penguin colonies
- Remains of the whaling industry on the coast of Wiencke Island.
- Impressive icebergs and glacial ice.
- Minke whales.
Cruising around Jougla Point in Zodiac boats
After a morning of learning about the Penguin Post Office at Pork Lockroy, we were ready for an adventure! Whilst we were not stepping foot on Jougla Point, we had a chance to explore the shoreline on Zodiac boats.
When approaching Jougla Point, you won’t be able to take your eyes off of this rocky peninsula. We visited in the middle of December, but Jougla Point was still surrounded by ice and and highly crevassed snowfield. Later in the season, the rock is more exposed.
As you cruise by the shoreline, you are sure to spot large whale bones lying everywhere, reminding you of the dark whaling past in the region. Especially later in the season, when the snow melts exposing the granite stones and the weathered skeletons.
Whilst Gentoo penguins lighten the mood by jumping in and out of the water, fighting for stones to take to their nests and falling all over the place, it was sad to see them struggling to find exposed rocks to breed on. Even though it was later in the season, most of the area was still covered in snow, making it very difficult for Gentoo penguins to keep their eggs warm.
Landing Site on Jougla Point
Whilst we didn’t get to set foot on land ourselves, there are two landing sites. Typically, the area of boulders and rocks at the North East coast of the Point is used. However, smaller boats sometimes enter on the Western beach or Alice Creek.
Once on land, you’ll encounter the solemn presence of whale bones strewn across the landscape, marking the very spots where these magnificent creatures were once hauled ashore for processing during the whaling era.
But the historical landscape of Jougla Point is woven with more than just tales of the whaling industry. Amidst the ice and snow, you’ll also discover the reminders of the World War II era! Look out for the remnants of the anchoring points for a radio mast, erected by the British as part of Operation Tabarin during their stationing at nearby Port Lockroy.
Jougla Point’s origin traces back to its discovery by the French Antarctic Expedition of 1903–05, led by none other but Jean-Baptiste Charcot himself. Interestingly, Charcot initially regarded it as a “peninsula,” owing to its presence in the vast Antarctic expanse. The area remained relatively untouched, until…
In the early 1900s, Antarctic waters were dominated by whaling fleets and scientific survey vessels linked to the industry. They were primarily hailing from Norway and Scotland. Antarctica’s unknown allure and the challenging Southern Ocean conditions drove exploration, as traditional northern hemisphere whaling grounds were depleting. Bases were established in South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.
Floating factory ships removed the need to transport whales to shore for processing, aided by whale catcher boats armed with explosive harpoons. Whalers charted extensive Antarctic regions, and their intense activity left a lasting impact on the exploited ecosystem.
Over 1.5 million whales met their death in Antarctic waters before the International Whaling Commission prohibited commercial whaling activities in 1986. However, it is important to note that the decision was mainly due to a decrease in demand and, thus, lower profitability, rather than concerns for over-exploitation.
Jougla Point is not only for history enthusiasts! It is a wildlife photographer’s paradise, offering an array of Antarctic creatures in their natural habitat.
1. Penguins: Charming and curious Gentoo penguins are plentiful at Jougla Point. With their distinctive orange beaks and white-feathered caps, they create delightful photo opportunities as they waddle along the rocky shoreline or dive gracefully into the frigid waters. Our Penguin Photography tips and tricks here!
2. Seabirds: keep an eye out for blue-eyed shags. These birds have striking blue eyes and iridescent plumage. They often nest in the area and can be seen flying gracefully above the coastal cliffs. Kelp Gulls can also be spotted in the skies and scavenging along the shoreline, making for dynamic shots in flight or during their daily activities. Head to our Antarctic Seabird Photography Guide for tips and tricks on capturing these creatures on camera.
3. Seals: Keep your camera ready to capture the serene and plump Weddell Seals lounging on the ice or rocky outcrops. These docile creatures are often seen basking in the Antarctic sunshine.
4. Whales: Minke Whales and sometimes Orca Whales are spotted in the waters around Jougla Point.
Jougla Point is a photographer’s dream come true, offering an abundance of captivating subjects and dramatic landscapes that beg to be captured through the lens.
1. Gentoo Penguins in their Element: The charismatic Gentoo Penguins that breed on Jougla Point provide endless photo possibilities. Their inquisitive nature often leads to close encounters, allowing you to capture intricate details of their striking orange beaks, inquisitive eyes, and not-so-pristine white plumage. Be ready to photograph their playful antics as they navigate rocky terrain and take the plunge into the icy waters.
2. The Legacy of Whaling: The scattered whale bones along the shoreline tell a haunting story of Antarctica’s past. These eerie relics offer a stark contrast to the pristine environment, making for powerful and thought-provoking images that convey the impact of human history on this remote land.
3. Majestic Icebergs: Jougla Point is surrounded by breathtaking icebergs in all shapes and sizes, especially earlier in the Antarctic season. The interplay of light and ice creates mesmerizing shots, with opportunities to capture the shades of blue and intricate textures of these frozen giants.
TOP TIP: Don’t shy away from adverse weather conditions; instead, use them to your advantage. Moody, overcast skies and swirling snow can add a sense of drama and atmosphere to your shots. Even if you have to stay on the ship, get out on deck – you will be surprised at how much you can spot from afar! Capture the raw, untamed essence of Antarctica when the elements rage, revealing the continent at its most furious and awe-inspiring.
Are you going on an Antarctic expedition?
If you are planning an expedition cruise to Antarctica, you are in for a journey of a lifetime! In order to learn more about places you may visit on your trip, have a look at the stunning locations that we explored on our Hurtigruten “Highlights of Antarctica” itinerary:
- Yalour Islands: a stunning Antarctica expedition spot
- Petermann Island, Antarctica: Penguins & Iceberg Graveyard
- Port Charcot, Booth Island: stunning Antarctic destination
- Port Lockroy, Goudier Island: history and penguin post office
- Danco Island: Errera Channel and playful Gentoo Penguins
- Orne Harbour: continental landing site on Antarctic Peninsula
In summary, Jougla Point offers a captivating blend of history and wildlife, creating a unique photographic experience in Antarctica. From Gentoo penguin colonies to remnants of the whaling industry, Jougla Point has something for everyone. Explore whale bones, penguin colonies, and WWII-era radio masts’ remains as history and wildlife converge. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, wildlife lover, or landscape photographer, Jougla Point invites you to document the essence of this extraordinary Antarctic destination.