February 3rd, after a rough night at sea (our only one on the entire
21 day cruise), we made a pre-breakfast landing at St. Andrews Bay
so that photographers could enjoy the low morning sun lighting conditions.
The weather was gorgeous and this turned out to be our favorite
spot on the trip.What
an amazing place! The beach was littered with huge elephant seals,
hundreds of female fur seals and their energetic pups, and thousands
of majestic King Penguins.There were so many photo opportunities,
it was hard to decide where to stand.
female elephant seals were mostly laying lazily in the sun, seemingly
oblivious to the activity of the penguins and fur seals all around
them. But several of them were staking out their territory in the
pond and we were witness to their bellowing, belching and fighting.
fur seals nest in the tussock grass mounds and the young pups were
running everywhere, practicing their barking and being playfully
did have to be careful not to get too close to the female adults
but usually a strong hand clap would send them scurrying away.
the biggest attraction of St. Andrews Bay was our first encounter
with King Penguins. This area has the largest king penguin rookery
in South Georgia with over 150,000 birds.
There were still some with eggs, many young chicks with their rich
brown, downy feathers (aptly nicknamed the Oakum Boys), and some
chicks starting to molt.
We loved watching the kings strut all over the beach
area in pairs and in groups of 3 or more. It looked like a scene
straight out of March of the Penguins as they headed out
to sea for a day of fishing.
breakfast, we happily returned to St. Andrews for more enjoyment
of this beautiful place.
time, we saw a herd of reindeer cross through the area. They were
initially brought over by the Norwegians for their fur and meat
and they have survived through the years.
a great introduction to South Georgia. It is said that South Georgia
rivals Africa's Norongoro Crater and the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge as a bastion of untamed wildlife and natural splendor. Frank
Todd, one of the great bird biologists said: "If God were to
take a vacation on Earth, he'd take it on the island of South Georgia."
So far, we would have to agree.
For more photos of St. Andrews Bay, go to St.
Andrews Bay Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited,
go to Ocean Harbour.
Locations Visited Photos