Mar 19, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer
Our last landing on South Georgia was particularly dedicated to the bird with the largest wingspan in the world—the wandering albatross. The wake-up call this morning sounded very early to allow for the landing of several small groups of guests at Prion Island. This island has remained among the few rat-free areas on South Georgia and is still one of the few nesting colonies for wandering albatrosses around the main island. The American ornithologist Robert Cusham Murphy, having seen the wandering albatross for the first time, was so moved by the encounter that he left this quote, now to be found in the historical museum at Grytviken: “I now belong to a new cult of mortals, for I have seen the albatross.”
Although the wanderers were the main attraction of the day, we also enjoyed observing several other seabirds and a myriad of adorable fur seal pups at the landing site. In addition to flying albatrosses, Wilson´s storm petrels, South Georgia shags, kelp gulls and Antarctic terns were seen during Zodiac cruises.
In the afternoon we enjoyed a couple of presentations in the lounge. Given the rather mixed weather forecast for the coming few days, naturalist Jamie Coleman´s lecture seemed reassuring: “Avoiding Insanity” (about life and science on an Antarctic research station). The next presentation, by our undersea specialist Paul North, engaged us with plankton: “The Importance of Small Things.”
We have spent some amazing days around South Georgia and will take with us loads of great memories from this remote and incredible gem in the Southern Ocean. Captain Aaron Wood and his crew has now set course towards the Falkland Islands.
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