After a couple of very smooth sailing days, very early in a gorgeous morning, we have land in sight. It’s the south side of South Georgia Island. We venture towards King Haakon Bay. A dramatic scenery of a weather-beaten fjord, surrounded by snow covered mountains with glaciers arms sliding down, awaits us. Our first expedition moment of the day was a rare chance to approach Cape Rosa. At the southern entrance to the fjord lies a very small beach, Cave Cove, where Shackleton and 5 of his crew landed after 16 days at sea on board the James Caird. Looking for a more sheltered area, they went in towards the head of the bay and set camp at Peggotty Bluff.
We landed on a beach and were greeted by a group of king penguins, fur seals, and elephant seals. As we made our way hiking towards the large glacier coming down from Murrey Snowfield, we had the privilege of seeing all these animals close up, keeping an eye on us as we passed them. We also got to see the South Georgia pintail and the South Georgia pipit, two species on the decline for a long time but currently growing in numbers. A successful tale of conservation!
The afternoon was spent on the ship as we navigated our way around the northern part of South Georgia. We reached Willis Island and Trinity Island, home to thousands and thousands of macaroni penguins, black-browed albatross, and grey-headed albatross. Our amazing bridge officers took us as close to the rocks as possible, rewarding us with great views of these fantastic birds and the very scenic islands they inhabit.
The main discussion amongst the guests on the deck was how impressive those little macaroni penguins are, jumping from the ocean all the way up those steep rocks to get to their nests!