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Gould Bay Camp

Practical comfort in a remote and spectacular setting

Gould Bay Camp

ANI's Gould Bay field camp provides a simple, yet comfortable 'nest' from which to explore the nearby Emperor penguin rookery. The camp is on frozen sea ice, just in front of the Ronne Ice Shelf, roughly 420 miles (676 km) from ANI's main base at Union Glacier, making it one of the most remote camps in the world and the only Antarctic tourist camp on sea ice!

Gould Bay field camp is run each year just for the Emperor peguin viewing season. The site is very carefully chosen to avoid disturbing the penguins in any way. Tents are set up at least 1 mile (1.6 km) away from the rookery and, where possible, screened from the penguins' view by an iceberg or other natural feature. A flagged route marks the path between the rookery and our camp. At the end of the viewing season, the camp is taken down and everything, including human waste, removed.

Be prepared for all kinds of weather, from cold clear days, to warmer sunny conditions, overcast skies, or even snowstorms. Temperatures typically range from 23°F down to 5°F (-5°C to -15°C), but may dip as low as -25°F (-31°C).


Camp facilities are necessarily more modest than at Union Glacier. Equipment must be lightweight and portable, yet still strong enough to withstand Antarctic conditions. Facilities are designed to provide as much comfort as possible, while minimizing our environmental footprint.

Meals are served in a small, heated dining tent. We offer both set meals and available snacks, to provide penguin viewing flexibility. Accommodation is in two-person mountaineering tents like those used by ski expedition teams. The sleeping tents are unheated, but you will stay nice and warm with your insulated sleeping mat and polar-rated sleeping bag. The small tent size and double occupancy accommodation also maximize heat retention.

A shared, re-charging station is provided for camera batteries and other electronics.

Toilet facilities are housed in a snow shelter. They are basic, but kept spotlessly clean. All waste is returned to Union Glacier Camp for proper disposal.


The main activities are penguin viewing, photography, and guided walks in the local area. But you are also welcome to relax in camp and just take it all in. Other wildlife that may be seen includes Antarctic petrels, snow petrels, Weddell seals and, very rarely, leopard seals. A naturalist and guide accompany each Experience and will share their knowledge of this majestic wildlife.

Time Zone

We will have 24-hour daylight throughout our stay at Gould Bay. Our camp schedule will be based on Union Glacier/Chile time (UTC-3) but we may find ourselves keeping odd hours to take advantage of the best light and weather conditions. Often the light for photography is best in the middle of the 'night' and it is not uncommon to visit the colony at 2 or 3 am to take pictures in the soft, golden sunlight. Meal times are adjusted accordingly and there is always hot food available when we get back to camp.

Wildlife Viewing Guidelines

Be respectful of wildlife. Follow your guide's instructions, as well as guidelines set out in the Emperor Penguin Visiting Guidelines and the Guidelines for Visitors to the Antarctic.

Sea Ice Safety

Gould Bay camp is situated on multi-year sea ice. For your safety, always follow your guide's instructions. Do not stray from camp or wander away from flagged routes.

Gould Bay Facts

  • Gould Bay is located in the southern Wedell Sea. It is an entirely ice-fronted embayment formed by the Ronne Ice Shelf and the northern tip of Berkner Island.
  • Elevation: sea level
  • Gould Bay was discovered by the Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition (RARE) (1947-1948) which researched the area surrounding the head of the Weddell Sea. It was named for Laurence M. Gould, geologist, geographer, and second in command of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition (1928-1930)
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