Coronation Island, South Orkney Islands

Dec 11, 2017 - National Geographic Orion


After a very calm crossing from South Georgia, we were fortunate to be able to make a landing at Coronation Island, which is home to a large amount of chinstrap penguin colonies. It is evident that we are that much closer to Antarctica as we spent most of the day navigating through and around various shapes and sizes of ice. Dozens of fulmars and petrels followed the ship, splitting off occasionally to steal some food from the surface of the ocean. Upon reaching our morning destination, we bundled up and embarked our trusty Zodiacs to the landing. We were greeted by hundreds of chinstrap penguins, with an occasional gentoo or Adelie in amongst the mix. 

The afternoon was spent cruising through the ice as we head south toward the continent. During our ship navigation, we happened upon about a dozen fin whales feeding on krill, which is always a welcome sight to see. As we continued our journey south navigating through the ice, we can’t help but be reminded about Earnest Shackleton and his men braving these same waters as they headed north to South Georgia.  

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About the Author

Robert Alexander

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Robert Alexander has quenched his thirst for exploring the world’s flora and fauna by captaining, interpreting natural history, and conducting research aboard ships.  He particularly developed a passion for the marine life below the water’s surface while attending the University of Oregon and becoming involved with their diving program.  The rich waters of the Pacific Northwest led Robert to change career paths, and locales, as a SCUBA Instructor based primarily out of Maui.  Utilizing any means of floating vessel, from kayaks and catamarans to small passenger boats and Zodiacs, Robert became a captain as he explored the behavioral patterns of the captivating marine megafauna throughout the world.  In between being a captain and naturalist, he strives to conserve and preserve all forms of life- be it our very own species as a firefighter and EMT, assisting in shark-tagging projects for NOAA, or researching hawksbill turtle populations with the Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

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