UshuaiaUshuaia

Day 11 Saint Andrew's Bay, South Georgia

March 30, 2015  •  2 Comments

I am an emotional being. I wear my heart on my sleeve more often than I should, or at least I used to do that. The trip thus far had tested my emotions in terms of what I was witnessing, the natural spectacles unfolding before my eyes, and the joy of being totally unplugged from the stresses of the world. Yet, what I was to witness on the afternoon of the 26th November 2014 will stay with me for a long, long time. I had not been moved by anything in this way for as long as I could remember. We were to land at St. Andrew's Bay. Home to hundreds of thousands of King Penguins. Mounds of adult Elephants Seals along the beaches and young Weaner pups everywhere to be seen. Fur Seals lined the shoreline acting as sentries along their patch of stony soil, and Petrels, Gulls, Skuas and Sheathbills patrolled the skies and nesting colonies in search of an easy meal. I could wax lyrical about this place all day. I could go on to describe the beauty, its silence and solitude, the often pungent smells, the sounds, the lack of contrails, the lack of humans, the absence of man-made noise and noise of man, the feeling of being the alien, of being the observer, of being the non-native, the stranger, of not belonging...but I do not have the vocabulary to give this place the justice it deserves. All I can do instead is present a selection of photographs here to allow you to get a peek into the domain of King Penguins and their mammalian companions 

MC__0125 Kings glacial streamMC__0125 Kings glacial stream MC__0128 Kings glacial flowMC__0128 Kings glacial flow MC__0360 King Penguin weanersMC__0360 King Penguin weaners MC__0140 Weaner haremMC__0140 Weaner harem MC__0289 Elephant Seal haremMC__0289 Elephant Seal harem MC__0430 Weaners fightingMC__0430 Weaners fighting

MC__0134 King Penguin pairMC__0134 King Penguin pair MC__0158 King Penguin pair AndrewMC__0158 King Penguin pair Andrew MC__0173 King Penguins Andrews BayMC__0173 King Penguins Andrews Bay MC__0180 King Penguin AndrewsMC__0180 King Penguin Andrews MC__0206 King AndrewsMC__0206 King Andrews MC__0258 Kings St. Andrews BayMC__0258 Kings St. Andrews Bay MC__0208 King Penguins AndrewsMC__0208 King Penguins Andrews MC__0214 King Penguin rowMC__0214 King Penguin row MC__0278 Antarctic Brown SkuaMC__0278 Antarctic Brown Skua MC__0294 King Penguin gangMC__0294 King Penguin gang MC__0467 Elephant maleMC__0467 Elephant male MC__0273 King PairMC__0273 King Pair MC__0454 King Penguin profileMC__0454 King Penguin profile And while I did manage to sit down, try to take all this in and shed a tear at the beauty and wonder of the place, I also smiled and laughed at the realisation of my disbelief of where I was standing. Surreal does not even come close. 

MC__0260 Mark CarmodyMC__0260 Mark Carmody

Huge thanks to Jim Wilson for taking the photograph of me (a rare thing) standing by the King Penguin colony. I had on three layers of pants, 4 layers of tops and the waterproof/windproof jacket. It was cold and my hands were numb at this stage. 

Despite the remoteness of this island, the impact of man on the global climate was quite evident by the retreating Ross Glacier in the background. Where I am standing in the photograph was once covered by the glacier. It has retreated many kilometres back up the valley in the past 25 years. The last thing I noticed as we left the area in our Zodiac was a single Wilson's Storm Petrel zipping past my head and heading up the glacial valley, no doubt going to its nest site. What a thrill. 


Comments

Stuart Price(non-registered)
Wow. Just wow.
Joan(non-registered)
Amazing and wonderful photographs . Thank you .
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