Published: May 1st 2006February 16th 2006
The seals and Penguins of Elsehul Bay
What a magical location. This is how our travel agent described it and I now I also believe this is the truth. Where else can you see Penguins, seals and reindeer in the one location. Day 11- Monday 13th Feb The Facts:
Arrival at South Georgia
Zodiac Cruise and landing at Elsehul Bay
Right Whale Bay landing
Many Fur Seals and King Penguins The longer version:
First trip of the day to Elsehul bay was supposed to be just a zodiac cruise. The waster was teeming with seals and often there is too many to land. Some Macaroni Penguins were spotted by some on the cliffs. The seals are very curious and playful and were coming quite close into the Zodiac, where they twist and turn in the water. Karen got some underwater shots, but the water appeared too murky with the seals and penguins living close by- very cool water! We did make a landing with some King Penguins and seals, and the cameras were clicking like crazy! We got a unique bit of footage: a fur seal sitting on a Tri-pot. These were used in the sealing days to cook the seals so
Fur Seal on Tri Pot
They used to cok seals up in these pots. Luycky for this one he is in the present day
lucky for this seal those days have been and gone.
In the afternoon we landed at Right Whale Bay (formerly home to many whales that were the right ones to catch). We had King Penguins greeting the ship as we were at anchor and waiting for the right weather conditions, and they were swimming out to the ship along with fur seals. On shore we were greeted by thousands of King Penguins and Fur seals. There were some curious creatures which wanted to see what we tasted like. Up the hill further we also saw Penguin chicks under mum or dad and some lazy elephant seals. We were informed that this was a smallish colony.
We then sailed around to the Bay of Isles for a beautiful sunset in smooth water and an easy night. Day 12- Tuesday 14th Feb The Facts:
Sun!! Seals!!! Mud!!! The longer version:
An early 6.30am start for a shore landing on Salisbury Plain, home to thousands more King Penguins, Fur Seals and Elephant Seals amongst other animals including the Skua.
With slight drizzle we headed up from the beach to the colony
where we got to see sme beautiful chicks that resembled Kiwis (no surprise the whalers thought they were two different birds), and chicks still under their parents. We also got up close with some Elephant seals and some King penguins got close to us. We had the pleasure of watching the King Penguins going for their morning swim and clean.
A big brunch with all the trimmings was served as our ship moved into position for a landing at Prion Island. It was also the viewing of our first iceberg (no camera lens was long enough to actually capture it effectively).
Prion Island is a restricted landing and we had to move around in groups of 10 only. The Wandering Albatross and giant petrels that lived and nested on the island were amazing. They were soaring over our heads and demonstrating courting behaviour, with one poor male being rejected and having to watch another male come and woo her. We got some nice video footage.
We headed out of the Bay of Isles to Fortuna Bay, where we were fortunate enough to have some sunshine whilst we watched on the Reindeers, King Penguins and Fur Seals. Yes, that right, Reindeers
King Penguins Galore
Can you count how many?
were introduced for hunting and meat purposes in the early settlement and around 2000 remain, so it is a scene that you will not get anywhere else in the world. This is also a part of Shacketons epic trip and was where he ascended to the whaling station of Stromness and alerted those to the plight of his men stuck on Elephant Island. The Fur seal pups in a section of the river were amazing and they were incredibly playful coming up to myself and camera on numerous occasions just to check us out. The video footage sometimes goes black as the seals attempts to take a piece of the casing with it! It is the landing such as this that make you realise South Georgia is a truly magical place. Day 13- Wednesday 15th Feb
St Andrews Bay landing
Grytviken landing and Shacketons Grave
BBQ on deck
A wedding The longer version:
This morning was truly amazing with the sun shining intensely, not a cloud to be seen and some big tabular bergs hanging around. We landed at St Andrews Bay, as seen in David Attenborough’s ‘Life in the Freezer’ and full
King Penguin and chick
And to think they used to believe these were two different birds
of King Penguins. With blue skys, glaciers, grren grass and curious penguins we could get some great shots as you can see. We also got to see a little Snowy Sheathbill attacking an abandoned egg, as well as parents nesting on chicks and eggs. A great place to observe Penguin behaviour and we have discovered they can be very nasty creatures, attacking each other and with a lot of wing slapping. They tend to wander around in 3’s.
The afternoon we headed out into the seas with storms and wind brewing. Roger was out and about, Karen heeded the warnings and took to bed until well inside Cumberland harbour and Grytviken, a former whaling station and the only permanently inhabited section of the island. It was here that Sir Ernest Shackleton (Explorer) is buried after dying on his way for yet another trip. We arrived on what would have been his birthday. After a toast that was rudely interrupted by the Elephant Seals we were able to wander around, up to King Edward Point (Scientific base) and to the museum. There were many reminders of the days gone with whaling boats and harpoons. The well done museum was also able
Trying out for taste
Thery dont know the IATTO Guidleines
to describe the days of old. Whilst we were wandering, unbeknown to us, the other young couple on the boat had arranged to be married in the Chapel. He being half Norwegian, she being named after the island as her father had worked there, though the Norwegian Chapel was the best place they could tire the know. At dinner we were all given this news by an elated Swedish expedition leader, who got to ring the chapel bells. It was only the 3rd wedding in the history of Chapel.
This evening we were alerted to something going on as aour daily program read” 18:29 No dinner is served in both dining rooms. Or anyway, it is a surprise”. Tonight with winds building and storm clouds brewing we dined on the deck with an old fashioned BBQ. Day 14 - Thursday 16th Feb
Dryglaski Fjord The longer version:
We awoke to strong winds and a call to stay in bed. Kattabatic winds had developed (140km.hr) and we weren’t able to make any shore landings for the day. Somewhat disappointing as we were to go to a Macaroni Penguin rookery, and we
Sunset in Rosita Bay
Smooth calm waters for sleeping
hadn’t got close to these birds yet. However, the strong winds flattened the seas and made form some great photographs with rainbows and icebergs for those brave / stupid enough to get out onto the bow of the boat. We lunched in the Dryglaski Fjord where earlier yachts had their sails ripped to shreds in the winds, but t did provide a safe anchorage and nice place to eat a meal. This was the last meal proper meal Karen ate for over 30 hours.
There are more photos below