We Get To Land On South Georgia A Wildlife Paradise Just Mind Blowing

Landing on the beaches of South Georgia, arriving in paradise!

Saturday the 22 November 2019 had seen us reach the island of South Georgia north of Antarctica but poor weather and large numbers of Antarctic fur seals on the beaches had thwarted our first attempts at landing. We had been able to get out on the Zodiac boats from the main ship and had marvelled at the ranks of King Penguins on the shore. We also saw distant views of a Macaroni Penguin colony but we really wanted to be on the island with them.

Wonderful King Penguins line the shore and waddle in and out of the sea.

Luckily on the 23 November the day dawned bright, sunny and pretty calm, we were out on the Zodiac boats before breakfast! Our group got to go on a cruise just off the beach and what a sight! Thousands and thousands of King Penguins were on South Georgia, just mind-blowing to see so many. We could get really close to the beach and enjoy amazing views in the morning sun, we could also see a lot of massive Antarctic elephant and fur seals here, we hoped we would be able to land later. We were also lucky enough to see our first South Georgia Pipits, the only passerine bird this far south, from the Zodiac, several of these typical pipits were flying around pretty close to us.

A tiny part of the King Penguin colony stretching up into the hills.

After another superb breakfast on the ship we again donned our warm clothes, very warm, and headed for the Zodiacs again. The sea was still calm and some sunshine still so we quickly made it to the beach. Our expedition team had landed ahead of us to find a way through the seals and even marked out a trail with flags, top work. The Antarctic fur seals in particular can be very aggressive so good to know where was safe to walk.

It really is impossible, for me at least, to put into words just how amazing it is to land on South Georgia. The sheer numbers of birds and seals is overwhelming, nothing prepares you for it. We had seen the TV documentaries, read the books, listened to the lectures, talked to folk who had been, no, nothing had prepared us for the sights we saw. It was like something from a battle scene from Lord of the Rings, a vast “army” of King Penguins stood facing us, shoulder to shoulder! We almost expected the King of King Penguins to shout “Charge!” and we would be pushed back into the sea by the overwhelming numbers of birds. But no, they stood and watched us approach, some penguins walking past us as the went about their daily lives. We got closer to the main colony and it stretched away into the distance, a mass of heads, flippers, backs and huge balls of brown “fluff”, the young from last year, now bigger than their parents. It was hard to take in, was this real, would we wake up from this fantastic dream? We were right in the most amazing wildlife encounter we could ever imagine, no we had never imagined it this good!

South Georgia is totally and utterly wonderful. If you ever have the slightest chance to visit grab that chance and go! We are so, so lucky to have walked on this magical island and the memories will always be with us. Just, well, I don’t know what words, but go if you can.

Lots more of our South Georgia and Antarctica adventures to come soon, please check back. If you have any questions at all or would like information about any of our Birdwatching Trips please email us here....


We look forward to sharing amazing birds, wildlife and special places with you! Alan and Ruth

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