South Georgia Island

If you plan a trip to Antarctica, do NOT skip South Georgia Island! It was the highlight of our trip by boat. If you are familiar with Sir Ernest Shackleton and the “Endurance” you have heard of it. On his epic journey to find help for his stranded crew he ended up there, crossed the island from King Haakon Bay to the whaling station at Stromness Bay.

The island is covered in snow and ice, a windy place.  We had to bundle up because of the wind chill, it really was not that cold there.The world’s largest breeding colonies of king penguins live here, close to 600 000. Their numbers are increasing. We visited several different bays and got to watch them. They, as well as the marine mammals on the beaches were totally fearless of human beings.

Life on the boat was great. Our room was comfortable and clean and soon we were settled in and enjoying the routine. This is not like a regular cruise, wake-up calls could be early, as early as 4.30 am one day. It all depends on the weather and tides. Bundle up, grab a quick cup of coffee and off you go. Not too much coffee though, because you are not allowed to go to the bathroom while on shore. The rules are strict when you step on the island, our boots get thoroughly cleaned before we leave the boat so not to introduce new plant material, even the velcro on the jackets gets checked for seeds. Rats have been a big problem here, they are slowly getting eradicated. (They did not check our pockets for rat babies 🙂

IMG_20171119_125716

 

IMG_20171116_084248

The Southern Elephant Seals rule the beach, our presence did not bother them at all. The hiking pole is also a way to keep the occasional pesky fur seal at bay.

IMG_20171116_154751

 

IMG_20171116_152520

King penguins

IMG_20171116_151943

 

IMG_20171116_103607Surfing King penguins

IMG_20171116_160248

“Oakum Boys” they call the fluffy brown King penguin chicks

IMG_8025

These chicks have already survived one winter and are still being fed by their parents.

IMG_8020

 

IMG_7994

 

IMG_7989One of the colonies of King penguins.

IMG_7958

Snowy Sheathbill

IMG_7939

 

IMG_8014

 

IMG_20171117_102323

Elephant seal are huge, the males grow to 6,2 m (20 +ft),  can weigh 3500+ kg. IMG_20171117_102215

 

IMG_20171117_100306

What looks like a rock in the water is a giant sleeping Elephant seal. He moved only once the whole time we forded the stream – and actually came closer.

IMG_8035

 

IMG_20171117_085114

 

IMG_8037-001Yes, that is Barbie at a photo shoot.

IMG_8056

 

IMG_8058

 

IMG_8060

Burnet is one of the few native flowers that can grow in this environment.

IMG_8105

That was a great day, tomorrow another bay with different penguins.

IMG_20171117_164633

Gentoo penguins nest way up on the hills. While Günter hiked up to a lake I sat up on the hill in the tussock grass for more than an hour watching their nesting behaviour. They keep working on the nest even though it is perfect, stealing material from other nests and getting pecked at for it. As I looked up to the ridge I saw a group of them climbing up that way. Whatever posesses them to go that high I don’t know.

IMG_8087

 

IMG_8082

 

IMG_8075

 

IMG_8097

 

IMG_8099

Reindeer were introduced by the whalers as a source of food about 100 years ago. The were devastating the plant life and since then have been eradicated.

IMG_20171118_053804

Hiking from Fortuna Bay to Stromness, following in  Sir Ernest Shackletons footsteps.

IMG_20171118_055741

 

IMG_20171118_065914

 

IMG_20171118_075108

Shackletons view when he finally reached Stromness.

IMG_8114

The waterfall.

IMG_20171118_074037

 

IMG_8111

Günter, Fred and Doris arriving at Stromness after the three hour hike.

IMG_8108

 

IMG_20171118_103225

 

IMG_8117

See Günter run, he almost stumbled over the fur seal under the propeller.

 

Larsen Harbor

IMG_20171118_130026

A whaling station with a big blubber rendering operation in its days.

IMG_20171118_141232

 

IMG_20171118_142146

 

IMG_20171118_142225

 

IMG_8135

The whalers built a church and ski jump, must have been Norwegians, they have their priorities.

IMG_8133

 

IMG_8142

Blue eyed shag

IMG_8144Fur seals

IMG_8151

A face only a mother could love

IMG_20171118_144821

 

Drygalski Fjord

IMG_20171119_073928

This is one of our great guides “Sean”, he lives in Juneau.IMG_20171119_054949

 

IMG_8199

 

IMG_8196

Antarctic terns

IMG_8177

 

IMG_8166

Weddell seal.

IMG_8158

 

Good bye South Georgia and on to the Antarctic Peninsula

IMG_20171115_174618

 

IMG_20171114_160859750_HDR

 

This entry was posted in South Georgia Island. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to South Georgia Island

  1. Kristina Koelman says:

    Meini Lieben, ich habe gerade die Fotos angeschaut und bin wieder total geruert von der Schoenheit der Natur abseits der Zivilisation! Sissi ich bleibe sprachlos bei diesen Bildern! Und neon es sind nicht zuviele, fuer mich wird es nie langweilig!Liebe Gruesse.

    Kristina

    >

    Like

  2. Sharon Mueller says:

    Grateful and Thankful to you for sharing your amazing adventure! The photos are like I am there too. Seeing South Georgia Island, king penquins, chicks, Elephant seals….which I may never have an opportunity to experience otherwise. Continued good health, happiness and safe travels. Sending positive, loving light.

    Like

  3. Tim stewart says:

    Great photos Sissi! Thanks for taking us along.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s