Saturday, 7 December 2013

(South) Georgia on my mind...

Georgia, Oh, Georgia!!!

I know the song refers to a more tropical place than this, but after such a wonderful day as the one we were lucky enough to enjoy today in this subantarctic island, South Georgia will undoubtedly be in everyone's mind!

 For starters, when we awoke this morning to a gloriously sunny day: we could clearly see the island's peaks and glaciers from the distance; and entered Fortuna bay with an equally beautiful weather. Moreover, there was no swell, so we were all able to disembark quickly and - after sorting the aggressive bravados of fur seals on the beach - arrived where we had all wanted to be: the king penguin colony close to the glacier's moraine at the end of the valley. It is wonderful to see one of these incredibly elegant and handsome birds - it's magnificent to see several thousand together, glistening in the sun...

The visit to the king penguin colony would have been enough to make a memorable day; but we had more exciting things in store. In particular, we must mention that several of our guests hiked the last section of the famous Shackleton Trail, from Fortuna to Strømness. The beautiful weather lasted into the afternoon, so our hikers enjoyed the sight that meant so much to Shackleton and his men: the vast panorama of Strømness bay, with the whaling station on the shore below the mountain pass. During the walk along the valley towards the station, our hikers also had the opportunity to get in contact with a further penguin species, the gentoos, that nest on the tussock grass. And they were greeted rather enthusiastically by the numerous fur seals and the occasional elephant seal at the beach, which is a rather exciting way to end the day.

All in all, I dare say that after such an exciting day out, we will all "keep South Georgia on my mind..."