First day in South Georgia

Our voyage from the Antarctic Peninsula to South Georgia is mighty far from Shackleton's journey here in terms of raw discomfort, but no matter. The island is infused with his spirit. (More on Shackleton by a click of your cursor on the menu bar.)

We rounded Cape Disappointment and cruised up Drygalski Fjord for a glimpse of the glaciers at its head. The next morning, Gold Harbour was our first landing on South Georgia. We found King penguins by the thousand-fold, along with some gentoos, skuas, and fur & elephant seal pups galore. Sometimes the penguins harried the seal pups because they felt like it. Here are some photos from the Fjord, Gold Harbour and St. Andrew's Bay.

Map from Google Images.

Drygalski Fjord

Gold Harbour and St. Andrew's Bay

We had two wet landings at Gold Harbour, one very early (5:15 AM!) and one later that morning, with St.Andrew's Bay in the afternoon. St. Andrew's Bay is home to the largest King Penguin colony in South Georgia, some say numbering over 100,000 pairs. There were so many king penguins that ... (speechless!) See for youself! What you can't get is the ruckus these penguins make, and the smell!

 


          
     



A penguin progresses from egg to tiny chick to brown-feathered adolescents to full-fledged adults. Eggs and tiny chicks are vulnerable to predators, the skua for example. Experienced penguin parents stay in the middle of the crowd where it is more difficult for skuas to land and steal. First-timers are at the edge of the crowd where skuas lurk. I know, because I was told and then I saw a skua steal a chick and devour it. Skuas have chicks, too, and must hunt for prey, and there are thousands of king penguins, but still...

      

Parents will be parents wherever they are, and adolescent changes are a bummer, whatever you are..

    

Jay Dickman, noted National Geographic photographer, took our photos - she kissing him, he kissing her.


Going back to the ship, amid fur seal pups with a penguin and an elephant seal pup thrown in ...

Look at the map on the "Ernest Shackleton" page for the location of these bays.