Hope Bay – 63° 23’ S, 56° 59’ W

Hope Bay (Spanish: Bahía Esperanza) on Trinity Peninsula, is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) long and 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) wide, indenting the tip of Antarctic Peninsula and opening on Antarctic Sound.

The bay has been identified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports one of the largest Adélie Penguin colonies in Antarctica with around 125,000 pairs. Other birds nesting at the site include Gentoo Penguins, Brown Skuas, Antarctic Terns, Wilson’s Storm-petrels, Kelp Gulls and Snowy Sheathbills.

The present Argentine Esperanza Base was established in 1952. It is operated by the Instituto Antartico Argentino and has an average of 55 inhabitants in winter. The base installations have displaced part of a penguin rookery. The first known birth of any human being in Antarctica occurred here in 1978, when Emilio Palma was born to the wife of an Argentine naval officer.

Hope Bay/Esperanza was also the scene of the first ever shots fired in anger in Antarctica in 1952 when an Argentine shore party fired a machine gun over the heads of a British Antarctic Survey team unloading supplies from the John Biscoe. The Argentines later extended a diplomatic apology, saying that there had been a misunderstanding and that the Argentine military commander on the ground had exceeded his authority.