McMurdo Sound Antarctica might not be the most highly visited destination in the world, but the few tourists who manage to make it here every year would likely recommend it without delay. Spectacular scenery and a range of fascinating animals are just some of the things that you can expect to see while enjoying McMurdo Sound tours, and you're bound to feel the sense of adventure that past Antarctica explorers felt.
After being discovered in 1841 by a Scottish explorer by the name of Sir James Clark Ross, McMurdo Sound soon became a main access route to the Antarctic Continent. Ross Island, which designates the sound's eastern boundary, was a very popular jump-off point for explorers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The southern boundary of McMurdo Sound Antarctica is largely formed by the McMurdo Ice Shelf, and to the north of the sound is the Ross Sea. It's a dazzling area that is full of wonderful sights, which is why travelers around the world are starting to take notice.
The McMurdo Ice Shelf is part of the larger Ross Ice Shelf, and those who enjoy cruises to the McMurdo Sound will have a chance to view this imposing coastal ice mass. Most McMurdo Sound visitors arrive by way of cruise ships, and small Zodiac boats are employed for those who wish to go ashore. Views of soaring mountains are part of the experience, as the Royal Society Range rises up along the sound's western shoreline. The highest peak in the Royal Society Range tops out at 13,205, which is a little higher than the active volcano that can be found on Ross Island. Mt Erebus, which reaches an altitude of 12,448 feet, is the southernmost active volcano in the world, and it dominates the Ross Island skyline. Ross Island is also home to three other volcanoes, though they are inactive.
You can easily spot Mt Erebus from the McMurdo Station, which is Antarctica's largest research station and community. This American-run station serves as the logistics base for half of Antarctica, and it is the United State's Antarctic Program's main science facility. Also found on Ross Island is Scott Base, which is a research station that is operated by New Zealand. Staying in a dorm room at one of these bases is possible for those who are entertaining the idea of enjoying McMurdo Sound tours, and they are mostly available during the summer months.
Excellent views of mountains can also be savored if you choose to do some trekking in the McMurdo Station area, and you might head to Observation Hill to enjoy bird's eye views of the station itself. While exploring the area around the station, you can also consider heading to Hut Point. It's here where you will find Scott's Hut, which is a relic that history buffs won't want to miss. This historical attraction, which dates back to the early 1900s, has been well-preserved by the cold and dry Antarctic air, and it is maintained by New Zealand. Speaking of dry, those who are booking cruises to the McMurdo Sound might look to hop on land for the chance to visit the McMurdo Dry Valleys. These dry valleys can be found on the western shores of McMurdo Sound Antarctica, and they represent one of the planet's most extreme deserts.
McMurdo Sound tours are ideal for those who want to see more than the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula on their Antarctica vacations. When you're not taking in the stunning natural views on cruises to the McMurdo Sound, you can keep an eye out for wildlife. Killer whales and seals are among the most commonly sighted animals here, and you are also bound to spot some penguins. The penguins that can be found at McMurdo Sound Antarctica are typically adelie and emperor penguins. As for those who manage to do some scuba diving in the sound, watching the penguins as they swim underwater is a treat. Research scientists do the bulk of the scuba diving here, and penguins aren't all that they see. Other curious marine creatures include starfish, sea anemone, and sea urchin. Antarctic krill also flourish here, as do Antarctic Notothenioids, which are a bony fish that have antifreeze proteins in their bloodstreams.