Our last day in South Georgia, the “Serengeti of the Southern Ocean,” was an archetype of expedition. We began the day with a cloudy and atmospheric Zodiac landing at Prion Island, one of the Bird Islands on the northern side of South Georgia. The clouds steadily cleared and let in some sun for the second half of the landing, when guests went ashore at the legendary stronghold of the wandering albatross and the South Georgia pipit. Two titans of the avian family, these birds could not be more different, but both were conserved on Prion Island during the height of invasive species introduction.
For the afternoon we visited Fortuna Bay, where Shackleton stumbled to the shore in a miscalculation, right before walking the last few miles to the Stromness whaling station. We were interrupted on our transit by two Southern right whales—gorgeous and rare marine mammals. We mingled with them for a few minutes and took many photos.
The weather changed its tune by the time we arrived at Fortuna and began to give us a real Southern Ocean soaking. Wind and rain made sure we were all evenly drenched, but trudge on we did. The king penguins and fur seals didn’t seem to mind, so we followed their lead; besides, we knew we’d be dry and warm inside the ship soon.
After a great dinner, a special show from the ship’s band, and a rendezvous with National Geographic Orion, we all collapsed into bed. What an amazing place this is, and what a time we’ve had!