Day 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10:
South Georgia: Prion Island, Salisbury Plains, Fortuna Bay, Leith Harbour, Grytviken, Royal Bay, Cooper Bay & King Haakon Bay
You have arrived at your first South Georgia site. Keep in mind the weather in this region can be difficult, and largely dictates your program. Sites you might visit include:
Prion Island - Home of the wandering albatrosses. Wandering albatross chicks from the previous summer are nearly ready to fly, while adults seek out old friends after spending a year-and-a-half at sea.
Salisbury Plains, St. Andrews Bay and Gold Harbour - The three biggest colonies of king penguins in South Georgia are also the largest breeding beaches on the planet for the southern elephant seal. This is the only time they reach their peak breeding. The four-ton male bulls will keep constant watch (and fight occasionally) on territories that dozens of pregnant females are defending. Here you can see many Antarctic fur seals.
Fortuna Bay - A stunning outwash plain near Fortuna Glacier hosts a number of seals and king penguins. It is possible to walk the last leg of Shackleton’s route, which leads to the abandoned village of Stromness. The path follows the pass that lies beyond Shackleton’s Waterfall. It is a bit swampy and you will need to be ready to cross some small streams.
Leith Harbour - Stromness & Husvik - The sites are a reminder of how large the whaling trade was in the first 20th century. Here, elephant seals and fur seals moult and breed. The landing areas are also home to Gentoo Penguins. Antarctic prions, South Georgia diving petrels and the Husvik area are all good places to observe them.
Grytviken - Elephant seals and king penguins roam the abandoned whaling stations like it's their home. You may be able see Shackleton’s grave as well as the South Georgia Museum.
Cobblers Cove is located in Godthul - We will head to Rookery Point at Cobblers Cove in order to observe macaroni-shaped penguins. Along the coast, giant petrels and light-mantled albatrosses can also be seen. Godthul, Norwegian for "good cove", was named by Norwegian seal and whale hunters. Bones can be seen along the coast. Gentoo seals and penguins live on beaches.
Royal Bay (Moltke Harbour Will Point and Brisbane Point) - The German International Polar Year Expedition named Moltke Harbour in Royal Bay in 1882. Some of the remnants of their homes are still visible. Royal Bay has a beautiful landscape, with dark sandy beaches followed by green tussocks and then the Ross Glacier. Royal Bay is one of the most windy bays in the entire island. Zodiac cruises are spectacular. Approx. Around 30,000 pairs live in the area.
Cooper Bay - The largest population of chinstraps, gentoos and macaroni are found here. Antarctic terns can also be seen, as well as blue-eyed shags, light-mantled albatrosses, and white-chinned pentrels. Drygalski Fjord offers breathtaking landscapes while the ship sails through the narrow fjord. Mountain peaks up to 2 kilometers high are visible at close range.
King Haakon Bay - The British explorer Ernest Shackleton, who was rescued by his party at Elephant Island after they had left the Weddell Sea where their ship got crushed by ice and crossed to Stromness from Elephant Island in an open boat named "James Caird", reached King Haakon Bay. He crossed the Weddell sea to Stromness and asked for assistance to save his group at Elephant Island, after their ship was crushed by ice. The beaches are dominated by elephant seals. Birdwatchers can look for South Georgia pipits and Antarctic prions, as well as blue petrels, common diving petrels and Antarctic prions.