South Georgia Island and the King Penguins

May 26, 2014 1 Comment »

Stunningly beautiful and rugged, the South Georgia island is a wildlife sanctuary that is hard to be described. On a world map, the island may be a speck in the ice-cold South Atlantic, but if you zoom in you will be captivated by the snow covered peaks, crystal glacier ice and emerald green bays.

Antarctica South Georgia

South Georgia’s Coast
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

The Sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia is some 170 kilometers long and up to 40 kilometers wide. The two mountain ranges on South Georgia rise to 2,934 meters and about 75% of the island is covered with snow fields, ice caps and blue glacier ice. Despite its isolation, the island is far from pristine. South Georgia was a whaling hub in the Southern Ocean until the middle of the last century. The island’s wildlife was left devastated due to the unsustainable harvest of whales and seals.

South Georgia and South Sandwich Island

King Penguins at Salisbury Plain
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

Travel to Antarctica

King Penguin Chicks at Salisbury Plain
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

King Penguins in the wild

King Penguin amid Tussock Grass
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

The native population on the island is not quite the one you would expect. The present inhabitants include scientists and support staff from the British Antarctic Survey, but the only permanent residents, are the nearly 400,000 King penguins that form the largest penguin colony in the world. Other species include the Macaroni penguins, Gentoo penguins, Fur Seals, Elephant Seals, Brown Skua and Albatrosses.

South Georgia island

Wandering Albatross tending its nest on Prion Island, South Georgia
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

South Georgia island

Southern Elephant Seal and King Penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

South Georgia and Falkland islands

Southern Elephant Seals at Moltke Harbour, South Georgia
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

South Georgia expedition

Antarctic Fur Seals, including a leucistic one. The blond fur seal has a condition called leucism that results in reduced pigmentation.
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

South Georgia island

South Georgia coast
Photo credit: Liam Quinn

Getting to South Georgia island is not an easy or cheap task to do. The only way to reach the abundant shores of the island is by sea. There are few cruise companies that would include South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in their itinerary to the White Continent, with prices varying from $10 000 to $40 000 per person. All expeditions to South Georgia are required by law to have a support vessel and the passengers are required to have a valid insurance coverage that includes emergency medical evacuation from the vessel.

One Comment

  1. Jacqueline Dowe Monday May 26th, 2014 at 5:12 pm - Reply

    Excellent ♥

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