Scotia Sea Toward South Georgia

Mar 13, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

The sea state began to moderate early in the day and improved with each passing hour as we made good time across the often-tumultuous Scotia Sea. The near-constant presence of wandering albatross, soaring alongside the ship, added to the relaxed feeling of our passage.  These magnificent birds call this ocean home and make landfall only to breed. With wingspans reaching more than 3.5 meters, wandering albatross have the longest wingspans in the world.

Days at sea are a wonderful way to get one in the proper mindset for what’s to come, while also allowing experiences of the day prior to simmer and take hold. There were also presentations to enjoy: “Penguins and Other Birds of South Georgia” by naturalist Doug Gualtieri; “A Grand Tour of the Universe” by astrophysicist and guest lecturer David Helfand; and “Shackleton’s Epic Voyage” by naturalist and historian Eduardo Shaw.

Finally, in preparation for our arrival in South Georgia, we had a mandatory briefing and biosecurity decontamination session. This session was the most important part of our day. We went over guidelines for shore activities regarding the wildlife, for our safety and that of the animals, as well as to ensure that we don’t bring any possible contaminants, foreign seeds, or organic matter to this pristine and fragile ecosystem.

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About the Author

Doug Gualtieri


Doug’s passion for the natural world started at an early age in his home state of Michigan. He received two biology degrees from Central Michigan University, and later went on to get a master’s degree in conservation biology. His education led him to study a diverse range of natural sciences, with an emphasis on ecology, animal behavior, and migratory birds. Shortly after leaving the academic world, Doug migrated north to Alaska with his trusty Siberian husky, Koda. He began working as a naturalist in Denali National Park in 1999. For over seven years he has shared his love of Alaska and Denali’s six million acres with Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic guests, as trip leader for the Denali Land Extension based at the North Face Lodge deep within the park.

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