The Balleny Islands are an extremely remote series of islands extending for about 160 kilometres in a northwest-southeast direction straddling the Antarctic Circle some 270 kilometres north of the Antarctic mainland. The volcanic islands are heavily glaciated and have received few human visitors since their discovery in 1839. Their isolated location within the rich waters of the Southern Ocean has resulted in a species diversity rivalling the entire Ross Sea region. Humpback, fin and minke whales are regular visitors to the rich feeding grounds along with Crabeater, Weddell, elephant and leopard seals. Several of the islands are home to significant colonies of Adélie and Chinstrap penguins. If time and weather permit, guests will have the opportunity to explore the spectacular coastal environments and view the prolific wildlife from our fleet of Zodiac® .