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The "Hesperides" is Spain's main Antarctic support vessel. She was built in Spain at the Cartagena Shipyards and delivered in April, 1991. She has 9 officers, 46 other crew and can carry 30 scientists. She has an endurance of 90 days.

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The "Hesperides" arrived in Punta Arenas in Southern Chile on December 24th as shown in the photo at left.

She then departed for the Antarctic to deposit scientists at the two spanish antarctic bases and also to undertake a marine science cruise.

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HESPERIDES 1.   2002 (December 24th) Envelope posted paquebot at Punta Arenas.  Price US$6

Note: the above envelope has been treated as paquebot mail as it bears Argentine stamps.

It also bears extra Argentine stamps on its reverse to make up the minimum postage of $5.20 to New Zealand.

Backstamped on arrival in Christchurch on 6th January, 2003.


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The "Hesperides' had come to Punta Arenas directly from Ushuaia which is in southern Argentina and hence the useage of Argentine stamps.

The Picture at right shows the "Hesperides" in Ushuaia the previous week.

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HESPERIDES 2.   2002 (December 24th) Expedition envelope posted at Punta Arenas.  Price US$4

Note: This envelope features at lower left the ships 2002-2003 Expedition cachet as well as a  label showing the Hesperides. This label was issued by the Bulgarian Post Office as a tribute to the vessel as the Bulgarian Antarctic team are usually transported to their base by "Hesperides".  Backstamped at Christchurch 7th January, 2003.

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HESPERIDES 3.   2002 (December 24th) Autographed envelope posted at Punta Arenas.  Price US$6

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Note: The above letter has been signed by Expedition head Carlos Pedro-Alio shown at left.

It also has the expedition cachet and the Bulgarian "Hesperides" label.  Backstamped at Christchurch 7th January, 2003.

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HESPERIDES 4.   2002 (December 24th) Autographed envelope posted at Punta Arenas.  Price US$8

Note: this envelope has been autographed by the ships doctor, Dr Alfonso Nunez and bears two aditional ship cachets which the doctor himself keeps.

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HESPERIDES 5.   2003 (January) Envelope posted from Deception Island.  Price US$8

Note: this envelope has been posted at the Spanish Antarctic Base "Gabriel de Castilla" at Deception Island.

It bears a Spanish stamp which has the special "Isla Decepion" postmark. It has been backstamped on arrival in Christchurch on 4th February, 2003.

The Spanish Base at Deception Island is shown at right.

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The "Hesperides" is shown at left waiting at Deception Island.

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