Nelson Island is situated about 700 km from Cape Horn and 110 km from the Antarctic continent. It is part of the South Shetland Islands, and is about 200 km2 in size. The widest part measures 15 km, the longest part is 22 km and the highest point is 313 m. It is formed mainly from volcanic rocks, 90% of which is covered under ice. About 10% of the land form colorful oases without ice. There are lakes and streams taking water from icebergs, broken rocks (scree) and snowfields. 75 km of coast has very various kind of look. You can find beaches full of sand, pebbles, little boulders and smooth steep rocks.
Shelf icebergs and snowdrifts make the line between the oases on the peninsulas. Also the other islands and rocks which belong to the Nelson Island group have the character of oases: Two-Summit Island, Withen Island, Dart Island and Pig Rock. The whole coast skirt floating icebergs (more than 5 m high) and growlers (less than 5 m), which bomb the coast during high tides and storms. So the seabed is mainly very smooth and not good to come to anchor. The Edgell Bay (which is part of the bigger Maxwell Bay) and Harmony Point are partly covered ports.
Nelson Island is divided from the King George Island by the narrow (about 400 m) Fildes Strait; (which is not passable for bigger ships) and from Robert Island by the 10 km wide Nelson Strait. The Bransfield Sea divides Nelson Island from the Antarctic continent (110 km).

The temperature of water is quite stable, about -1,6°C. In winter, the small bays are usually frozen. The large Maxwell Bay has been freezing approximately once in every five years. The yachts can reach the island from December to May. The climate on the Island is characteristic for the area with small temperature differences (it can rain or snow any time in the year).

The average temperature in January about +3°C,
In July -11°C.

The recorded maximum and minimum temperatures in the last 20 years:
Minimum -29°C
Maximum +15°C.

The average wind speed is 8m/s; which is also the optimal speed for the local wind
power station. Winds come mainly from the west, but there can be exceptions like in
years 2000/2001, when 90% of the winds came from the east.
40 % of the time the wind blows 0-5 m/s
30% 5-10 m/s
10% 10-15 m/s
10 % 15-20 m/s
10% 20 m/s and more.
The strongest wind recorded was 40 m/s. The change of wind speed about 5m/s can
be expected in the period of 20 minutes.
On the other hand the sea, especially in the bays, calms very quickly even after a big storm. The calmest winds and most of the clear days are usually in July. The average precipitation is about 500 mm, usually in the form of wet snow, which is then taken by the wind into the sea. So the cover of snow depends on the wind. In average it is about 40cm, but on the leeward side it can even be a few meters.

Flora is represented by grass (Deschampsia antarctica) and Colobanthus quitensis, lots of lichens, mosses and sometimes you can even find some mushrooms.

Fauna depends on the sea. The most common cetacean is seiwhale -Balaenoptera borealis (it is 20m long and can swim up to 60 km/ h) and humpback (keporrkak - Megaptera Novae Angliae). On the seashore can be found elephant seals (Mirounga leonine), weddell seals (LepUmychotes Wedellii), crab-eater seals (Lobodon carcinophagus), and fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella). The tops of the icebergs are the home to leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx). They live mainly on penguins (Pigoscelis papua, antarctica and add ie). Macaroni penguins, Emperor and King penguins are rare to see there. Among flying birds belong skuas {Cataracta Maccormicki), cormorant (Phala crocorax), Chinois alba, Larus dominicanus, Sterna vitae, Oceunicus oceanites, Daption capense and albatrosslike Macroncctes giganteus.
The animals except of some of the seals are not aggressive or viscous. Swans rarely come over from South America.

The coast waters are rich with fish of the Notothenia kind. They live in the holes between the big stones. At low tide you can find lots of mussels and seaweed on the rocks. There are almost no insects, which are common for polar areas.

Nelson Island has as well as the whole Antarctica no original population, even though in one Polynesian myth there is mentioned a man called Hui-Te-Rangiora, who was supposed to reach the Antarctica in the 8th century. The South Shetlands with its number of animals and quite good climate could be a suitable place for several thousands of people to live on. Obviously the early contact made by the Polynesians was an exception. It is believed that fishermen and seal hunters discovered the island. It is also believed that the first ship to reach the Antarctica had been "San Juan Nepomuceno" from Buenos Aires (September 1819). The traces of fishermen can be found all along the seashore of the island.
The first station to be was on the neighboring King George Island in the 50s of the 20th century. Till now, altogether there are eight stations manned by people throughout the whole year, a few seasonal stations and numerous survival camps.
The biggest station is Chilean base where about 200 people live; they have their own airport, hospital, bank, post office, church, school, kindergarten, shop with souvenirs and ski lift. The first-rate station is Polish base, which is also used for people from the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic and others.

You can get there either by boat (yacht),from November till May, there is an anchorage{buoy} in front of the station, or fly by plane to the neighboring King George Island and than take a boat to Nelson.