The spatial distribution, biogeochemical cycling and external sources of dissolved iron and dissolved manganese (DFe and DMn) were investigated in Ryder Bay, a small coastal embayment of the West Antarctic Peninsula, during Austral summer (2013 and 2014). Dissolved concentrations were measured throughout the water column at 11 stations within Ryder Bay. The concentration ranges of DFe and DMn were large, between 0.58 and 32.7 nM, and between 0.18 and 26.2 nM, respectively, exhibiting strong gradients from the surface to the bottom. Surface concentrations of DFe and DMn were higher than concentrations reported for the Southern Ocean and coastal Antarctic waters, and extremely high concentrations were detected in deep water. Glacial meltwater and shallow sediments are likely to be the main sources of DFe and DMn in the euphotic zone, while lateral advection associated with local sediment resuspension and vertical mixing are significant sources for intermediate and deep waters. During summer, vertical mixing of intermediate and deep waters and sediment resuspension occurring from Marguerite Trough to Ryder Bay are thought to be amplified by a series of overflows at the sills, enhancing the input of Fe and Mn from bottom sediment and increasing their concentrations up to the euphotic layer.This article is part of the theme issue ‘The marine system of the West Antarctic Peninsula: status and strategy for progress in a region of rapid change’.