Gold Harbour, Cooper bay and Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia

Dec 09, 2017 - National Geographic Orion

Sometimes, even on vacation, it’s worth putting in a little extra effort to make the most of a day. Which is why most of us were up at 3:15 a.m. Gold Harbour, so named because of the light entering the bay, is a famously beautiful spot made even more stunning by getting there at the right light conditions. So, Shaun decided to really treat us to an early morning wake up so we could get dropped off at the beach to explore. Almost as soon as we landed on the beach we were “attacked” by swarms of weaners (elephant seal pups) who have now been abandoned by their mothers and are looking for anyone willing to feed them. After we cleared the area from the weaners, we were met by marching armies of king penguins, large adult elephant seals laying together belching, farting and sneezing while molting their old layer of skin and then the occasional fur seal just to keep us on our toes. As we got further along the beach we reached the outer edge of the vast king penguin colony – around 40,000 breeding pairs on this one beach. A truly spectacular landing, with wildlife, snow covered mountains, glaciers and calm weather.

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About the Author

Peter Webster

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Born in Scotland, Peter became fascinated with nature and wildlife from a very young age. This early interest led to him earning a degree in conservation biology followed shortly after by an M.Sc in marine and fisheries ecology. He is currently studying for another M.Sc in digital mapping. After working as a commercial diver for several years Peter was offered the position of Field Diving Officer with the British Antarctic Survey in 2012. He then spent the next 16 months in the Antarctic, stationed at Rothera Research Station, on the peninsula where he managed the dive operations and a team of scientific divers working on a wide range of research on climate change, ocean acidification, and increased seabed disturbance by icebergs. As well as diving Peter also spent several months in the Antarctic deep field working in aircraft operations, depot laying, and meteorological work whilst living in tents in conditions below -30oC. 

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