Antarctica and Uruguay- Exploring Artigas (WAP URY-Ø1)

El País is a national Uruguayan daily newspaper one of the most important source of information in  Uruguay. It is based in the capital city of Montevideo and is regarded as the newspaper with the largest circulation in the Country. It was first published on September 14, 1918 and previously belonged to the same media group as the television network Teledoce.  and  an important newspaper il Uruguay.

Recently, El Pais has pubblished a series of articles about Antarctica, an interesting work carried out in collaboration with the Instituto Antártico Uruguayo (IAU) and the Ministerio de Defense Nacional.

WAP is happy to share the first one which starti with a trip on the Hercules plane and a view of the Artigas Base inside. Fly with us and enjoy the trip.

To get to Antarctica from Uruguay you need to make two flights on a Hercules Air Force plane. After eleven hours you arrive at the Teniente Marsh Airport, close to the Artigas Base, the only access to King George Island by air.
Uruguay has two Bases in Antarctica: Artigas (WAP URY-Ø1) and Teniente de Navió Ruperto Elichiribehety Station (WAP URY-NEW).
Artigas Base is the most popular and has the greatest presence of people: in summer about 50 people can live there while in winter only eight live there. Scientists and the military coexist in this place where the development of science is the priority. Uruguay is present in the area and has been part of the Antarctic Treaty for 40 years. El País traveled to Antarctica in February 2024 to learn first-hand how the Artigas Antarctic Scientific Base works, who travels to that place, why Uruguay has a presence and how people live on this Continent.


Thanks and credit to: Istituto Antartico Uruguayo and El Pais


Refugio Aeronaval “Capitán Estivariz”  (WAP ARG-NEW)

The “Capitán Estivariz Aeronaval Refuge”,  is located on Watkins Island in the Mikkelsen islands group (see a note below)  within the Argentine Antarctic Sector.  In the 1955-1956 Antartic Campaign, an intense hydrographic activity on the South Shetland Islands was achieved. To support the scientific activities (mainly aerial photographic survey of the entire western coastal area of the Antarctic Peninsula above 65º South, was carried out).
A Shelter located at 66°23′ South, 67°13′ West was built on a small islet between the southwest coast of Watkins Island and Belding Island, and opened on February 29, 1956. The Icebreaker ARA General San Martín did participate in its construction during the 1955-1956 Antarctic campaign.

The Refuge Hut was named in honor of Captain (C) Eduardo Aníbal Estivariz, of the Argentine Navy, who did contribute to the success of the Argentine revolution of 1955 and who was killed in an aircraft accident. The Argentine Captain Estivariz Air-Naval Refuge in Antarctica, is managed by the Argentine Navy.  In the early 1960s the Shelter, consisted of a wooden building was occupied in the summers of 1955-1956 and 1956-1957, with provisions for three people for three months.

Watkins Island    is a low lying, ice-covered island 5 miles (8 km) long, lying 3 miles (5 km) southwest of Lovoisier Island, one of the Briscoe Islands. The island was first mapped by the French Antarctic Expedidition under Jean-Baptiste Charcot (1903–05 and 1908–10), but remained unnamed until resighted in 1934–1937 by the  Rymill, who gave the name Mikkelsen Island in honor  of the Danish Arctic explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen,. In applying the name, Rymill was unaware of the existence of Mikkelsen island, 75 miles (121 km) southwestward, named in 1908–1910 by Charcot. To avoid confusion of the two, the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee (UK-APC) recommended in 1952 that the Rymill naming be amended. The new name, Watkins Island, commemorates Gino Watkins, leader of the British AntarcticAir Route Expedition(1930–1931).

WAP is still in search of a picture of Refugio Aeronaval “Capitán Estivariz”  and will be grateful to anyone who can find one and send it for our archive. Thanks a lot in advance!

Hobart’s role in Antarctic Exploration

People may not be aware of the historical richness of Hobart in Tasmania in relation to Antarctica. Most of the greats of Antarctic exploration had a connection to this town. Biscoe, Dumont D’Urville, Ross, Bernacchi, Borchgrevink, Weddell, Mawson, Amundsen, Franklin, Furneaux, Crozier and others. As a staging point for Antarctic expeditions, Hobart was in an ideal position and is still today one of the Antarctic gateway cities. Not everyone used it though and Scott and Shackleton never came here but they still had some connections to it.
The author of this article tells  one story from its rich history. Roald Amundsen is probably most famous for being the first to reach the South Pole in the ‘race’ against Robert Falcon Scott. Tragically, Scott and his companions died in their attempt. While they were still trudging through the snow, Amundsen had completed his mission and returned to his base camp, boarded his ship, Fram, and headed back to Hobart.
On his trek to the Pole, Amundsen slept in a small, cramped tent with his companions, while the Antarctic winds battered it from all sides, but I don’t recall him ever complaining. However, when he arrived back in Hobart on the 7th March, 1912, after his epic adventure he described his hotel room as ‘miserable and small’. He wrote in his diary that he was treated as a tramp.
This wasn’t so surprising when you consider that he didn’t announce his arrival, was wearing a seaman’s sweater, peaked cap, speaking with a foreign accent and perhaps looking worse for wear after 99 days of trekking in the ice. To the owners of Hadley’s Hotel he looked like someone who might skip out without paying but they gave him a cramped room under the stairwell anyway.
The next day Amundsen went to have photographic plates developed and sent a coded telegram to his brother to give to the King of Norway announcing his success in reaching the Pole. A few days later when the news reached the media his hotel lobby was crowded with reporters. He was no longer the foreign tramp but Amundsen the great explorer. A thanksgiving service was held for him in the cathedral opposite the hotel and boat races held in his honour. Amundsen hosted a dinner for his entire crew at Hadleys and his earlier treatment was forgiven and forgotten.
If you go today to the Grand Mercure Hadleys Hotel you’ll find the Amundsen Suite, a grand double suite, which is nothing like the small room Amundsen actually spent a few nights in.

Thanks and credit to Robert Evans at:

Horseshoe Island Base  (WAP GBR-14)

The Base “Y” at Horseshoe Island  (WAP GBR-14) was established by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey in 1955. Its position,  Latitude 67° 48′ South, Longitude 67° 17′ West,   located on Sally Cove, Horseshoe Island, Bourgeois Fjord, Marguerite Bay This was part of the push to increase UK scientific activity ahead of International Geophysical Year, 1957-58, with a number of bases opened during this period.

Horseshoe Island Base “Y”  did open on 11 March 1955 and closed 21 August 1960 when personnel were transferred to Stonington Island  Station  “E”  (WAP GBR-Ø5). Reopened briefly from 7 March 1969  through  11 July 1969  to complete local survey work.

VP8DLM operated by Mehdi F5PFP  was active from this rare site on March 2011, giving many of the Antarctic hunters a real “New One”!

Now Horseshoe Island Base “Y” stands almost fully equipped from the time it was in service and is the destination of polar cruises as it’s often included in the programs of polar tourism as it has been open as a museum for tourists and scientists.
Base Y is visited by over 2,500 visitors every year despite its remote location away from the main travel routes. The site was used occasionally by BAS personnel on field trips from Rothera (Station “R”, WAP GBR-12). It was cleaned up by BAS in 1995 and designated Historic Site and Monument no. 63. Managed by UKAHT since 2014.

Thanks and credit to: UKAHT – Horseshoe

Read more on: Base Y from the 1950s turns into museum | Polarjournal


Polish Refuges in Antarctica (WAP POL-NEW)

Polish Demay Refuge  provide limited accommodation capacity for  4 people with field medical kit available during summer for emergency use. The scientific use, is subject to the permission of the appropriate authority. The refuge (wood hut) is situated on a flat marine gravel terrace in Paradise Cove between Demay Point and Uchatka Point, ca 10 km from Arctowski Station (WAP POL-Ø1) . The refuge can be reached both by Zodiac and by foot. It is located within the Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA No.128

Demay Refuge (Poland) WAP POL-NEW, Paradise Cove, Admiralty Bay, King George Island Lat: 62°13’South,   Long: 58°26’30” West  

Lions Rump Refuge  
Accommodation capacity for  4 people with field medical kit available during summer for emergency use. The refuge (wood hut) is situated on a flat marine gravel terrace on the western shore of King George Bay near Lions Rump (ca 35 km from Arctowski Station). The refuge can be reached only by Zodiac. It is located near the boundry of the Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA  No 151)

Lions Rump Refuge (Poland) WAP POL-NEW, Lions Rump, Martello Tower, King George Bay,  King George Island. Lat: 62°06´South   Long: 58°05´West  

Both Refuges are visited yearly by Polish researchers… We always hope one day or another someone can be “On Air” from one or both this two rare spots, as they seems not so difficult to activate!

David FT4YM ready for another Antarctic campaign

Probably,  the old days, those in which CW and SSB were the best expression of the world of Amateur Radio will never come back, but fortunately, there are still young people that, to the most modern digital transmission/reception techniques (such as FT4/FT8, in which is the PC that makes QSOs), those youngs prefere the traditional ways, those that truly have the charm that takes you inside!

Well, David Brunet F4FKT-FT4YM, despite being relatively young,  must be one of the old fashioned Hams; we met him “On Air” during his past two seasons in Antarctica where he gave many radioamateurs the pleasure of several QSOs including a couple of “New Ones”.

WAP has recently received  a mail from David  on which he express his appreciation for our Antarctic website: “I relive good memories as I read her lines, emotions arise and fingers frozen too” was his comment!
David said he should go back to Antarctica this year  with a little better equipment: “Yes it is a chance to go, quite hard to transmit after work; I have the pleasure to give pleasure to the OM who have the chance to hear me and especially to answer me. I would not fail to inform you via Mehdi F5FPF

Wonderful to know that David  will be again in Antarctica and for sure, Hams worldwide  will be pleased to log FT4YM again, perhaps from some “New Ones”.  For now, while waiting the season to come,  WAP and the thousand  of Antarctic chasers wish David a great time  on the Ice!

TNX and good luck  to David Brunet F4FKT/FT4YM

Base Petrel  (WAP ARG-17) Argentina builds  its most modern Antarctic Base

Petrel Base opened in 1967 but has been used as a temporary summer base since 1976, after a fire destroyed its main accommodation building. Petrel Base (WAP ARG-17) is one of the Argentine research stations located  on the Antarctic Peninsula. Established as a permanent research station in 1967, it has been a temporary base since 1978, housing scientists only part of the year. Petrel Base is found on Dundee island, among Graham Land’s Joinville island group.

The project that involve the build of a totally renewed structure on Petrel Base was conceived by the Tandanor shipyard,  a building with several modules, with a total of 800 square meters covered, and weighing 300 tons, The material arrived at the Petrel Base aboard the Icebreaker Almirante Irízar  last February 2024.

A team of engineers from the Argentine Army was deployed this summer to Antarctica to assemble the new habitable house of Petrel Base, a set of thousands of pieces, bolts, nuts and washers of 300 tons of steel , which was designed and built by the Tandanor state shipyard to tolerate the climatic challenges of the white continent.
The project is a multi-module building of which the foundations were installed during last year’s Antarctic campaign, while this year progress is being made on the first habitable structures.

José Luis Oca, the naval and mechanical engineer, head of the infrastructure sector of the Infrastructure and Construction Directorate of Tandanor did sail to Petrel Base, to coordinate the first stage of construction last January.

Oca said that, what they are developing in Petrel is the habitable house that will be occupied by the scientists and the personnel who provide service in each campaign- Iit’s a structure of six modules of which the foundations were placed and, this summer, the first is planned to be built: a construction of 800 square meters covered.

The New Petrel structure took into account all the technological innovations of recent decades and all the scientific knowledge about the climatic and geographical conditions of Antarctica that was produced at this time. We also studied the projects of Countries that built Antarctic bases in recent years.

The head of the Joint Antarctic Command, Brigadier General Edgar Calandín, told Télam that the tasks of supporting science and technological developments carried out in our bases and in collaboration with Antarctic programs of other Countries are an exercise of sovereignty; The progress in the recovery of  Base Petrel materializes a new gateway to the Argentine Antarctic Sector, which is much more than a logistics point because, in addition to being able to operate with planes and ships, it will have the most modern infrastructure to function at the same time.

“We are also building new physical foundations for the presence in Antarctica, while the construction of the new buildings at the Petrel Base progresses, an initiative to develop the new infrastructure of Carlini  (WAP ARG-2Ø) and Brown (WAP ARG-Ø2) Bases  “University’ in Antarctica” through agreements so that the young people who winter at the Esperanza Base (WAP ARG-Ø4) can study there, taking some content in person and others remotely, and that this mechanism of study can also be used by the crews of other bases in the north of the Antarctic Peninsula,” he highlighted.

Today Argentina is redesigning its Antarctic policy and that will materialize shortly with a new Antarctic policy directive, which has research, development and evolution as its center of gravity, this will allow us to finalize a new master plan of evolution with a search for cooperative integration of all state agencies as an expression of sovereigntyconcluded Calandín.

TNX and credit to: Argentina builds its most modern Antarctic base in Petrel – (


Antarctica learns its “Religious Tourism” options

Antarctica, a Continent of all of us who inhabit this planet, has temples surrounded by ice and snow that can also be visited. 60 cruise ships surround yearly the white Continent, some of those departures will offer the tourists to see its chapels. The women and men who are in Antarctica live their faith in a very special way in chapels belonging to the different installed bases.

Battered by climate change, the native organisms of this continent include a myriad of types of algae, bacteria, fungi, plants and animals, the true inhabitants of its landscape. However, decades of research around the latter, including its organisms, has established a more or less standard population scattered throughout many of its corners, and in order to make sense of the world, even there, and even among science, there is a need for faith, there is a need for religion, there is a need of prayer.
Among the ice in all its forms, in addition to more ice, there are some Churches. They are few, but each one more curious! One of the southernmost buildings in Antarctica is, curiously, a religious building. Let’s think about the St. Ivan Rilski Chapel, the first Eastern Orthodox edifice in Antarctica and the southernmost Eastern Orthodox building of worship in the world. Located at the Bulgarian Research Station, San Kliment Ohridski Base (WAP BUL-Ø1) on Livingston Island, in the South Shetland, it has been the first Orthodox temple on the Icy Continent and the southernmost until the construction of St. Vladimir’s Chapel at Ukraine’s Vernadsky Base (WAP UKR-Ø1) in 2011.

It is not only its location, but also its peculiar shape that catches the eye: St. Ivan Rilski Chapel it’s a small trapezoidal building measuring 3.5 meters by 12 meters made of red metal that rests on small pillars.

Built in 2003, among its features a bell donated by Nikola Vasilev, former deputy prime minister of Bulgaria, who worked as a doctor at the base between 1993 and 1994, also a cross donated by Bulgarian artist Dicho Kapushev, an icon of Jesus Christ betrothed by Bulgarian artist Georgi Dimov and an icon of St. John of Rila donated by Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov.

But, Did you know that Argentina built the first church in Antarctica?
Although it is not the site where the first mass of the “White Continent” was organized, it is the oldest Catholic temple. Touring the facilities of the huge Esperanza Base (WAP ARG-Ø4) which Argentina has managed since December 17, 1952, a visitor can’t avoid to see the structure of the first church in Antarctica. This small temple, known as “St. Francis of Assisi Chapel” has stood at the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula for almost half a century and still surprises those who observe it for the first time. Currently, it is part of the small list of Catholic churches in Antarctica and preserves some very important religious objects, which were given as donations from Pope Francis in the last decade.

The first church in Antarctica is the colorful Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi, which opened its doors on February 18, 1976. At that time, its priest was the Jesuit Buenaventura De Filippis, who was born in Italy and spent an important part of his life at the Esperanza base in Argentina. And, curiously, this chapel was also the place where, two years after its inauguration, the first religious wedding in Antarctica was organized.

The first Mass in Antarctica was celebrated on February 20, 1946 and was organized by the Jesuit Felipe Lerida, in the Stella Maris Chapel of Argentina’s Orcadas Base (WAP ARG-15). After the Mass, the priest sent a telegram to Pope Pius XII: “First Mass celebrated. Cross erected”. But, for the next 30 years, the continent continued without Catholic temples on its territory.

Thanks and credit to:Las iglesias más australes del mundo están en la Antártida (  and ¿Sabías que Argentina construyó la primera iglesia de la Antártida? – Billiken