Once in South Georgia, we count on approximately six days to enjoy this remote and spectacular oasis in the Southern Ocean, offering one of the best wildlife spectacles on earth. The island is well known for its changeable weather and harsh conditions, located as it is in the middle of the Scotia Sea and completely exposed to the weather systems passing by, predominantly from west to east. It is for this reason, that the chances for visits ashore are highly dependant on the weather and sea conditions.
During this week, we will have the opportunity to make several landfalls exploring the impressive landscapes that the island offers. We will try on several occasions to visit a variety of different landing sites, mixing activities themed on history, wildlife, glaciology and geology. For example, we may visit some derelict whaling stations from the golden age of whaling in the Antarctic area at the beginning of the 20th century (keeping a safety perimeter of 200m around the remains). Also, we could have the opportunity to visit Wandering Albatross nesting colonies where strict rules apply.
The incredibly vast King Penguin rookeries spreading over the beaches and lower slopes of the mountainous landscape provide another highlight we hope to enjoy. Other penguin colonies may be visited, including those of the Macaroni penguins. But we need to have in mind that usually they nest in swell exposed areas amongst steep cliffs, making their colonies difficult to reach. Ifthe weather allows us, we also plan to do some hikes, for example one following Ernest Shackleton’s footsteps on the last part of his epic crossing of the whole island. We may pay a visit to his grave in Grytviken, where he lies side by side with his right hand during their expedition, Frank Wild. There we have the opportunity to walk around the whaling station, which has been taken care of, cleaned and prepared for visitors. In Grytviken, we can also visit the station’s interesting museum on the natural history of the island and its whaling era. On the island’s shores, we can also find several shipwrecks, like that of the Bayard. She was a fully rigged ship - one of the first to be built of steel in 1864 in Liverpool. In 1911 she was blown from her moorings and, despite rescue efforts, ran hard aground. This was the very same year the Bark Europa was launched.