The Chinstrap Iceberg

14th November 2015. Far south end of South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . . . . . . (11. Icebergs)).

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

An hour after sailing around the Acropolis iceberg, we encountered an iceberg with siz chinstrap penguins along for the ride.  There are two of them here, and six snow petrels in the background.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here are the other four, not far from the first two.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And from another angle, as the ship sails by.

Frank Zappa warned “Don’t you eat the yellow snow” (Apostrophe, 1972), though here it’s ice and there are no huskies (or eskimos) to be seen.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Snow petrels and chinstrap penguins.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here the are from a bit further back.  Hard to tell whether this is the bow or the stern of their ship.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

An overall view from the back.  So no penguins visible now.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Its shape looks quite different from different angles.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here they are again.  After they calve from an ice shelf, icebergs can melt in the sun, become unstable and turn over.  You don’t want to go too close to an iceberg because you never know when that will happen (though the penguins probably don’t greatly care).  That diagonal; grey strip is probably a previous water line.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here they are again.  They’ve shuffled their order since first encountered.

 

Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Maybe the two on top have moved.

Blue lines on icebergs can be caused by fresh water that is quickly frozen.  The brown lines.are probably from a layer of dust, perhaps when the ice was part of a glacier.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Those two penguins are certainly well away from the waves.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here are some cape petrels beside the iceberg.  Perhaps looking for some fish thrown up in the turbulence.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

All six of them in the one image.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And they’re not as close together as they seemed in the preceding image.

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Cape Petrel, Chinstrap penguins, Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, Snow Petrel, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Those big diagonal bands could be relics of rolling events.

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The Acropolis Iceberg

14th November 2015. Far south end of South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . . . . . (11. Icebergs)).

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

From Cooper Bay, we continued on towards Drygalski Fjord, near the southernmost point of South Georgia.  The clear weather of Cooper Bay continued, at least for a while.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

I thought we turned back from Drygaslski Fjord because of weather conditions but other accounts indicate we decided to study some icebergs instead.  In any event, we turned around and returned along the north-east coast the way we had come.  You might think it would be desirable to circumnavigate the island but the south-west coast offers no protection for the ship from the frequent storms so in the interests of safety we did not venture that way.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

Visibility was starting to decrease.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

The majestic mountains of South Georgia are retreating into the mist and fog.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

The varied shapes of several icebergs provide a contrast with the murky mountain background.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

Not a place out there where you’re likely to meet many people.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

Our first glimpse of part of the Acropolis Iceberg.  I’ll explain why I call it that soon.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

Another iceberg nearby.  These are all massive blocks of ice.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

Long and low and in front of the coast.  Most of it is of course under water.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

I’ll name this one soon for its appearance from another angle.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

Back with the Acropolis iceberg.  It is late afternoon, nearing sunset.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

Acropolis iceberg in the front (we’ve only seen a small part of it previously) and the Sphinx iceberg in the distance (as seen previously from a different angle).

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

This is why I call it the Acropolis iceberg.  the face of the big foreground block is like a frieze from the Parthenon.  Carved by penguins perhaps.  Click on the image to see greater detail.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

A view from round the corner.  The frieze is now facing out to the left.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

So is it the Acropolis or perhaps the Parthenon or maybe the British Museum where Elgin lost his marbles?

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

A section from the massive side.  The penguins have only just started carving out a frieze here.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

The sea breaking against the iceberg and the background is clearing a bit.  You can see the smooth band at the bottom of the visible part of the iceberg where it rides up and down against the sea.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

A convoy of icebergs including the Sphinx in the middle and the Acropolis at the right.

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Drygalski Fjord, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness

A last glimpse of the Acropolis.

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Macaroni Penguins at Cooper Bay

14th November 2015. Cooper Bay, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . . . . (9. Cooper Bay)).

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From Gold Harbour we continued south to Cooper Bay, with a landing for a Macaroni Penguin colony. This was to be our most southern landing in South Georgia.

 

Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is Cooper Bay, taken on shore after we had landed.  A wild and beautiful location though it would be not a good place to be shipwrecked.  (Click on the image to see it much larger).

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here is one of the macaroni penguins we came to see.

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

It’s easy to see how they got their name.

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

They are just standing round in tussock and since the tussock tends to be untidy, in what follows I’ve mainly zoomed in for portraits.

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There were also a couple of South Georgia Cormorants standing around on a rock.

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

… as well as a lone chinstrap penguin.

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Chinstrap penguins, Landscape, Macaroni Penguins, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Gold Harbour

14th November 2015. Gold Harbour, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . . . (8. Gold Harbour)).

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

 

The next morning we landed at Gold Harbour, another wildlife hotspot.  Here is a group of penguins wandering down the beach in the dawn light.  As I was in one of the last zodiacs I only caught the last of that light.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Behind the parade of penguins is our ship, out on the horizon.  Near it, improbably is a yacht.  It must take an adventurous person to sail to South Georgia in a fairly small yacht.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A huddle of king penguins, parading along the beach.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I think this is a small river, rather than a lagoon.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

King penguins and elephant seals.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A giant petrel on a nest, taking advantage of a rare patch of shelter.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

King penguin chicks in front of a colony.  It is raining and some rain has gotten on the lens.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Lots of chicks now.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Captions seem redundant for many of these images.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

An elephant seal in front of a king penguin colony.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There is a skua in left centre, on the lookout for a meal such as a dead chick.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A skua again, walking around the elephant seal.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A couple of penguins preparing to prostrate themselves.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Definitely a demigod to worship here.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Hold on a second.  Maybe not.

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Elephant seals, Giant Petrel, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A farewell party not long before we left for the ship.

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Moltke Harbour

13th November 2015. Moltke Harbour, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . . (7. Moltke Harbour)).

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here we are heading from St Andrews Bay towards Moltke Harbour.  This is taken from the Bridge and the window is covered in water (as you can see if you look closely or click for a larger image).  This means that in the open ocean, waves have been breaking over the bow onto that window.  We are now in a sheltered sea, though.

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This image and the following seven show the majestic power of the wild South Georgia landscape, the high jagged mountains covered with snow rising up out of the sea, the banks of fog and cloud, and the mist rising from the sea.

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Now we have landed.  We are onshore at Moltke Harbour.

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I went for a long walk up the valley towards the hills.

 

Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There were a group of king penguins beside the river on the way back.

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Nearby there were three fur seals, perhaps two females and a pup, amusing themselves in the shallows of the river.

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I am on my way back with a view of the beach. There are many people and zodiacs at the left hand end of the beach, though also a few people at the mouth of the river.  one zodiac is heading back towards the ship.  It looks like I have enough time to get back.  Click the image if you want to see more detail.

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St Andrews Bay (Take 1)

12th November 2015. St Andrews Bay, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . (6. St Andrews Bay)).

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Our next stop sailing down the coast of South Georgia was St Andrews Bay, where we would return some days later.  We all got up well before dawn and piled into the zodiacs for the landing but I was in one of the last zodiacs so arrived just for the last of the dawn colours.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The wildlife in this post is almost entirely king penguins and elephant seals.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And sometimes some humans.  The elephant seal pups can be very friendly.  They start off about 80 kilos but they are quite harmless because they don’t yet have teeth.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Three king penguins in front of a varied vista in the early morning.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The one in front probably knows where they’re going….

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Nothing like a nice comfortable place to sleep in the early morning sun.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Penguin city.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Threading past the elephant seals.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A couple of youngsters having fun.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This bull elephant seal wants to be taken a bit more seriously though.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Threading past the seals at the edge of the waves….

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

The upside-down face of the elephant seal at top left looks almost like the face of some strange Japanese toy (if you imagine it as being the right way around).

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

One group going in; another swimming past.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I’d walked for a long while along the beach and past a small river to get to a raised viewpoint for this view.  It gives you some understanding of the amazing profusion of wildlife there.  I probably would have preferred it without the photographer but I’m not going to try to get rid of him.  The bird coming towards us at the edge of the sea is probably a skua. Click the image if you want a larger view.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Promenading at the water’s edge.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

There is a lot of noise going on in these colonies and a lot of calling.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Taken out of context, this image would become almost abstract.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Quite crowded in places.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

That’s a snowy sheathbill in front.  Not the most attractive of birds if viewed close up but surviving here well enough.

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Elephant seals, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Snowy sheathbill, South Georgia, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I had left my camera bag on the beach while taking off with a few cameras and lenses.  I returned to find it was being guarded.  And he wasn’t too happy about giving up his nice comfortable pillow.

 

Godthol

12th November 2015. Godthol, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . (5. Godthol)).

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

From Grytviken, we sailed south along the coast towards a small harbour called Godthol.  The first three images are views of icebergs and the shore along the way.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A recently wounded bull fur seal, encountered just after disembarking from the zodiac.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

It was Spring and at many places along the coast, male fur seals were fiercely defending territory while they awaited the arrival of the females.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

This is a young fur seal.  You had to be careful walking though the knee-high tussocks by the beach, so as not to stumble into a fur seal.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Not so much of a problem asleep in the open, though.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Here Roy Mangersnes is having a close encounter with a female elephant seal.  Elephant seals are not a problem in the same way as fur seals.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Gentoo penguin.

Most of our party headed off over the hills seeking nesting birds, possibly albatrosses, I don’t remember.  I stayed at the beach which turned out to be fortunate.  I managed to score a zodiac ride in the bay with just a few others, as the approaching sunset cast a glow in the water, partly reflected off the yellow grasses on the hills.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Fur seal and elephant seal.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Elephant seal.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Antarctic tern …

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

… diving for small fish (or having just dived in this case).

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Elephant seal.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

And this is a South Georgia Cormorant, very similar to the King Cormorants we saw in the Falklands.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I took a whole series of these graceful birds swimming around and diving in the golden water.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Shaking off the water after a dive.  You may need to click to a larger image to see it properly.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife Down we go…

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Fur seals.

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Fur seal, Gentoo Penguins, Icebergs, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Elephant seal.

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Grytviken Part 2

12th November 2015. Grytviken, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . (4. Grytviken)).

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Continuing the walk from the last post, here is an elephant seal bull recovering from a challenge for a harem.  Whaling detritus behind.  They used to hunt elephant seals as well as whales.

 

Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Another male elephant seal lurking in the shallows.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Whalebones that have probably been there a very long time.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Remains of a ship that wasn’t going anywhere soon.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Shackleton’s tombstone.

For those who aren’t aware of the history:  Sir Ernest Shackleton launched an expedition to walk across Antarctica, from one ship to another, via the South Pole, in 1914, just before the first World War started.  Unfortunately, his ship was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea before they got to land.  They left the ship and camped on the ice floe until it began to break up so they sailed 560 kilometres in three ship’s lifeboats to reach Elephant Island off the Antarctic Peninsula.  Elephant Island was seldom visited by ships though, so Shackleton had one of the ship’s boats strengthened and with five others set of on a 1,300 kilometre journey to whaling stations on South Georgia, where he would find help.  They survived a savage storm that sunk a 500-ton ship in the general area, to land on the south coast of South Georgia.  Rather than try to sail round, in another incredible feat, Shackleton and two others climbed over the the mountains to reach assistance on the other side.  Eventually, all were rescued and the only death was a sailor who was injured when the ship was crushed.

He died on board ship in harbour in South Georgia in 1921 at the start of another expedition and was buried there.

The 1914-1916 expedition was also remarkable for the photographs of Frank Hurley.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Once a whaleboat.  I’d turned around by this stage, back towards the zodiacs.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

It’s no surprise from this view that Grytviken is the most sheltered harbour in South Georgia.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I head back past the whaling ship “Petrel” again.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

… and past the decaying factories of death….

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

They might look like elephant tusks in the foreground but they are the rib bones of whales.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Still chained to the past…

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

… and walking past more rusted relics of a less than memorable past.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Almost back where we started, now.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Waiting zodiacs, whale bones and dead ships.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

And here he is, still in place, the King Penguin from the beginning of the previous post.

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Grytviken Part 1

12th November 2015. Grytviken, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . (4. Grytviken)).

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

We are now approaching the great metropolis of Grytviken, in fact the only place in South Georgia where the population is greater than zero, not counting seals and penguins.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

A closer view.  A small number of British scientists live here, though Argentina briefly captured the place in the early eighties.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

A king penguin was hanging around on shore, on the somewhat muddy ground.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I was not the only person to photograph him (or her).

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

These I believe are casings for the explosive heads of harpoons, fired from harpoon guns at the front of whaling ships.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

This place is probably a paradise for scrap metal dealers, were they allowed to remove anything.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Grytviken was founded in 1904, initially as a Norwegian whaling station.  It closed in 1965 when virtually all the whales were gone and in the intervening period processed 53,800 slaughtered whales.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Many relics of that period remain.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I would think that the purpose of this huge pile of massive chains was to haul whale carcasses ashore.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

… though in this case, to anchor a ship.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Ancient machinery whose purpose probably doesn’t bear too much thinking about.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I went for a walk along the shore quite a way past the settlement.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

There are also remains of various wharves….

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I understand the road accident casualty rate is quite low on South Georgia, much lower than India for example (though actually they usually drive pretty slowly in India in my experience).  For all I know, this may be the only vehicle on the island.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

There are also a couple of old ships moored beside the bay.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

This one is an old whaling ship.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

You can see that the end of the harpoon does appear similar to the rusted sections we saw further above.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

And finally, here are a few shots of rust and paint on the side of the ship.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Prion Island

11th November 2015. Prion Island, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . (3. Prion Island)).

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife

From Salisbury Plain we sailed to nearby Prion Island on the afternoon of the same day.  Based on the time stamps, the first two images were taken from the ship on the way there.

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife

The reason we went there was the possibility of photographing wandering albatrosses and indeed, there was a chick on a nest and a few others further away.

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife

When an adult, this bird may have a wingspan of up to 3.7 metres (12 ft), the largest for any bird.

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife

This one isn’t flying anywhere yet but in due course it will fly huge distances, soaring on the air currents.

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife

… but no reason not to try out the wings…

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife

This on the other hand, is a giant petrel.  Colouration and plumage are very different, and also the nostril case above the beak.

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife

The others were concentrating on the birds (after all, most of them are specialist wildlife photographers) but I was also transfixed by the distant background.

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife

The moody shapes in the distance presented a mysterious and changing tableau.

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Giant Petrel, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Wandering Albatross, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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