South Georgia is a tiny island in the Southern Ocean, one of the most isolated places on our planet. A steep mountain range traces the spine of this long, narrow island, creating a breathtaking backdrop when wildlife watching and photographing.
Unlike Antarctica, where hardly any remnants of human activity can be found, South Georgia has a long and turbulent history of human interference. In Grytviken, the Elephant Seals sleep amidst the ruins of the buildings of the old whaling factory. The famous polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton was laid to rest at Grytviken where we can pay respect to the ‘Boss’ as he was called. As we explore South Georgia, we will have the opportunity to reflect on Shackleton’s epic journey with his ship the ‘Endurance’ which was recently found in the Weddell Sea where it sank in 1915.
Places we might visit:
St. Andrews Bay - The sandy black beach is a resting place for hundreds of Elephant seals that haul out on the shore to moult. Behind the beach, the sight, sound and smell of thousands of King penguins at different stages of their breeding cycle will be overwhelming. The glacial river that runs into the sea here will be alive with penguin chicks and Elephant seal pups testing their aquatic skills. If we lift our gaze from the wildlife for a moment, we will glimpse the snow-capped peaks of some of the world's most spectacular mountains and glaciers.
Godthul - Imagine indented bays lined with bleached whalebones, teeming with Fur seals and penguin chicks waiting for their parents. Here you have the opportunity to clamber through the tussock to a spectacular plateau offering magnificent views across the island and the waters beyond. A careful descent leads us to a magnificent Macaroni penguin rookery.
Prion Island - We will aim to visit Prion Island where we can sit quietly to see serene albatrosses sitting proudly on their eggs or watch their cute downy chicks. We may be blessed by the performance of an intimate courtship dance, or may witness a youngster being lovingly fed. We might see adolescents exercising their wide wing spans, trying to launch themselves into the air, as they realise that mum and dad will no longer feed them and they must leave the island in search of food.
Salisbury Plain - With around 60.000 pairs of King Penguins, Salisbury Plain is home to the second largest colony in the world. No surprise is has been the focus of countless nature documentaries throughout the years. It is one of our favourite sites on South Georgia, even though landing here is not always possible since the area is not sheltered from the large ocean swells.