Gold Harbour & Royal Harbour

Feb 28, 2018 - National Geographic Orion


The early bird catches the worm. We awoke at 0500 a.m. to get ashore before dawn at Gold Harbour. As the sun rose over the Scotia Sea our landing site lived up to its name with the sky ablaze and the cliffs and glaciers lit beautifully by the warm light. We shared the moment with tens of thousands of busy king penguins as well as South Georgia pintails (endemic ducks), elephant seals, and fur seals. Not content with one landing here, we landed again after breakfast! En route to our second landing site for today, we encountered a southern right whale which approached our bow and put on a wonderful display of pectoral fin-slapping, fluking, and even spy-hopping (raising its head). Royal Harbour was moodier with rain, rainbows, and dramatic evening light illuminating the king penguin colony. The Zodiac ride ashore was exciting as we cruised over a submerged terminal moraine to access the shore. 

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About the Author

Conor Ryan

Naturalist

Conor Ryan is a congenital ecologist. His career began in the late 1980s, when he developed a keen interest in intertidal ecology, undertaking almost daily field trips to the seashore across from his home in Cobh, Ireland. Though he logged significant hours searching beneath barnacle-studded rocks for eels, his publication record on this seminal research was sorely lacking because he was five years old. As he grew, so too did the size of the marine creatures that he was preoccupied with. 

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