Monday, February 18, 2013

South Georgia Island - Salisbury Plain.....

January 18, 2013 - Arriving at South Georgia Island (UK)
Good visibility, overcast. 
Wind: var 2; Sea Smooth; Air Temp. 5C (41F)

Land ahoy!  Arriving at South Georgia.
Click on pics to enlarge.

I was awake to capture this first view 
around 4 AM........mountains, icebergs, passing 
birds, and a rather foreboding sea at that early hour.

Each morning, around 5 AM, an automatic system 
sprayed the outside of my cabin's windows, washing 
off salt and dirt, such a treat as it was then 
easier to get clearer pics.

South Georgia and associated islands are visible parts of a submerged ridge of mountains. Glaciers formed 5 million years ago and the island was smothered by a huge icecap leaving only the mountains protruding. The ice, having gradually shrunk to the present state, has left over 160 glaciers filling valleys and creating large bays.

Our early morning landing was planned for Salisbury Plain, number 4 on the map, on the southern shore of the Bay of Isles. Full of anticipation, we were excited at thoughts of viewing many King penguins. There has been a gigantic population increase as only 350 breeding pairs were counted here in 1912 - now there are 60,000 breeding pairs in this particular colony which swells to 250,000 individuals during the moult of the chicks - which was occurring during our visit. We were there at the most amazing time possible.

Salisbury Plain, also home to fur and elephant 
seals, was a favoured hunting ground for sealers 
in the 19th century.

At anchor, with a Giant Petrel, for Salisbury Plain visit.

Adult Fur seal welcome.

Many penguins swam out to meet the Zodiacs...........
and onshore you can see the beginning of 
fabulous morning................

..........where more penguins, adults and their new chicks, were visible as far as the eye could see. Expedition team members were waiting to assist with the wet landing, one reason for wearing rubber boots - luckily a calm arrival.

I hope you're ready for penguin overload next time! 
Can't help loving these adorable birds...........and you've 
no idea how hard it will be for me to pick just a 
few of my favorite pics to 
share out of the hundreds I took here!


  1. Look at those penguins! They are so adorable. It looks really cold there Mary!

  2. I am enjoying your trip stories and pictures so much. The penguins are so cute...I can't wait to see what's in store for us.

  3. Now wishing for sound too. I can just imagine the sights and sounds were incredible. How beautiful. Loved being greeted by the seal, just a sweet face.

  4. When I saw those first photos, I thought, "what a foreboding sea." As I read further, I saw that you used the same word. But the sea is beautiful nonetheless. Looking forward to more penguins!

  5. It looks so darn cold and foreboding even with the penguins.

  6. It actually looks freezing (but beautiful), and I'm saying that whilst it's -8F here in CO today!


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