We had come to our final day in beautiful South Georgia. Very early in the morning of 6 March, we cast off from the dock at King Edward Point for another couple of stops on this lovely island before heading across the South Atlantic to Tristan da Cunha.

Picture

Narrative

St. Andrews Bay As we awoke, the weather was glorious, for a change, and I took a picture before going to breakfast. Good thing. By the end of breakfast, it had begun to cloud over again.

South Georgia was the high point of our trip. I wish we had seen more of it in the sun. Imagine the Alps at sea level.

St. Andrews Bay

We are heading for our first stop of the day: St. Andrews Bay. Our destination is the low land behind the headland in the center of the picture. It is the location of the largest King Penguin colony in South Georgia.

Elephant Seals

Our first sight as we climbed out of the Zodiacs was this group of Elephant Seals. This is the time of their molt and until it is over they do nothing but lie around, burp, poop and fart. They neither eat nor fight during this period. After their new fur coats are complete, they will head out to sea until the beginning of the next breeding period.

King Penguins & river Penguins are crowded along the beach and a river that we must cross to reach the main colony.
Melanistic penguin Just before the river we saw this rare bird: a melanistic penguin. This is a genetic variation that is the opposite of albinism.
River crossing Here we are crossing the river. I had to chuckle because on the way over, the expedition staff were very solicitous -- helping us all over and admonishing everyone to be careful. When it became time to return, however, we were strictly on our own! Not that it was a big deal, but it would have been a drag to fall.

The pale color of the water is due to the river being glacial runoff.

King Colony Just how many penguins did you want to see? The size of this colony is estimated at 250,000 birds, give or take.
King Penguin Love Triangle Although almost all of the penguins we saw were very peaceable, there were occasional "love triangles" where two males were competing for the affections of a female. The two suitors would whack at each other with their flippers and throw in the occasional peck. The female was generally aloof from the fray.

Jim got a great video of one such triangle. Someday I'll figure out how to get it online.

Drygalski fjord We reluctantly bid farewell to the penguins and embarked for our last excursion on South Georgia: Drygalski fjord at the south-eastern tip of the island.

The Zodiac is hanging at the ready because some of our number planned to take a trip into one of the smaller inlets of the fjord. There they met a Scandinavian couple who were planning to overwinter in a sailboat. More power to them!

Hot chocolate This is more down my alley. We were out on deck watching the ice and glaciers and freezing, when one of the cruise staffers came out with a tray of steaming hot chocolate! It really hit the spot. This was just one example of the great care and service of the Corinthian II staff. After every landing we were met with warm drinks or hot soup. Since we were invariably damp from the Zodiac ride and chilled by the sub-Antarctic weather, it was quite welcome.
Drygalski Fjord

The rocks here are the oldest on South Georgia and date back to the massive Gondwana continent.

Numerous glaciers come down to the water and are the source of the ice that we cruised through almost to the end of the fjord. The luminous blue color is due to the tremendous compression of the ice.

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