Kerguelen Archipelago is a group of islands in French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
Grande Terre, the main island, measures 150 km east to west and 120 km north to south. It is very rocky and home to a permanent weather base - Port Aux Francais. The highest peak is Mont Ross, which is on the west side of the island and has an elevation of 1850 m. It is covered by Cook Glacier. The island has numerous peninsulas islets.
The following is a list of some of the most important satellite islands:
The Kerguelen Islands or the Kerguelen Archipelago is a group of rocky islands in the southern Indian Ocean. It is very far away from any civilization and was discovered in 1772 by a French expedition. Currently is a territory of France and is home to a weather base.
The Kerguelen Islands are located at 49°15′S 69°35′E. This places the archipelago just outside of the Antarctic circle. The main island, a very rocky place is known as Grande Terre, was originally called Desolation Island, a testimony to just how remote it is. Grande Terre is 6,675 km² and is surrounded by at least another 300 smaller islands and islets, forming an archipelago of 7,215 km². Together, the Kerguelen Islands are slightly larger than the state of Delaware. The climate is cold and very windy with very rough seas.
French, although most research staff will have at least some knowledge of English and possibly other languages.
This requires careful planning, as the islands are not easy to get to.
Tourists can book a cabin in the base support ship Marion Dufresne for € 8,300 per person for a double cabin, or € 16,500 for a single cabin. There are apparently four trips open to tourists per year.
The trip leaves from Réunion and takes about 28 days, half of them at sea and half on land. It covers 9,000 km in the Indian Ocean, visiting three or four islands in this order: Crozet, Kerguelen, and Amsterdam before returning to Réunion. If scientists need to go there, the ship stops near Saint Paul but nobody is permitted to set foot on land.
Although very infrequent, a few small cruise ships have made stops in Kerguelen. Heritage Expeditions, , offers a cruise visiting Kerguelen and other South Indian ocean islands in late 2012. Quark Expeditions has also visited the island a couple of times, but the Russian scientific ship they've used retired after the Dec 11/Jan 12 voyage and they aren't planning a similar voyage in summer 12/13, but check in the future.
It is almost impossible to visit any of Grande Terre's satellite islands including Île Foch.
There are also a number of historic localities, all on Grande Terre (see also the main map):
Since 1963, 49°22′S 70°14′E just east of Port-aux-Français is a launch site for sounding rockets (mainly Arcas, Dragon and Eridan).
There are many interesting animals and plants. These include penguins, seals, Kerguelen cabbages, rabbits, cats and fish.
There are about 3500 sheep on the Grande Terre, so look forward to lots of mutton. In addition, there is plentiful Kerguelen cabbage, native only to Kerguelen. Rabbits and salmon have also been introduced. They also eat penguins occasionally.
The population of these islands varies, but is rarely over 120. Most are French scientists and weather watchers. There is virtually no risk of crime. The only likely dangers are storms and getting lost.
The only way off the Kerguelen Islands is by boat as there are no airports. They also use helicopters time to time for researchers coming and going within a week.