Spend the Next Seven Days Around South Georgia
Majestic snow-covered mountains greet on arrival in South Georgia. Begin cruising the protected waters of the northeastern coast on the lookout for landing spots such as Elsehul Bay and Salisbury Plain. The highlight of both of these areas is the staggering abundance of king penguin adults and their young that live in these locations by the hundreds of thousands, covering every inch of the shore. At the height of breeding season this area is believed to have more wildlife per square foot than any other place on the planet. Joining the majestic 'Kings' are fur seals who can be seen poking their heads above the water, the elephant seals will enjoy lazing about the beach, while the skuas and giant petrels swoop and weave in the skies above.
Meanwhile, the albatross - the constant companion on this journey - is never far away.
Continue the journey deeper into the heart of South Georgia where the next expected stop is Prion Island, in the beautiful Bay of Isles. This island has been designated as a 'Specially Protected Area' by the South Georgia Government, due to the breeding wandering albatross colonies at this location. Boasting the largest wingspan of any living bird, typically ranging from 2.5 to 3.5 m (8ft to 11ft), they spend most of their life in flight, landing only to breed and feed.
The adventure next goes to Fortuna Bay, a majestic three-mile long and one-mile wide fjord. It was named after the ship Fortuna, one of the original vessels of the Norwegian-Argentine whaling expedition which established the first permanent whaling station at Grytviken, further down the coast. Here at Fortuna Bay expect to see king penguins, elephant seals, fur seals and there is an excellent opportunity for hiking excursions.
History comes into sharp focus at Stromness and Grytviken. From 1912 until the 1930's, Stromness (and nearby Leith and Husvik), operated as whaling stations and the rusted and ghostly remnants of these old stations seem out of place in such a pristine environment. This area is key to the Shackleton story and it was here, in 1916, that Shackleton and his companions, Worsley and Crean arrived after their epic crossing from King Haakon Bay on the south coast. If the weather co-operates, a hike is possible across the saddle separating Fortuna Bay from neighboring Stromness, in the footsteps of Shackleton and his men.
Journey further to the southeast and enter the broad expanse of Cumberland Bay. At the head of the bay lies Grytviken - the largest of the old whaling stations on South Georgia. A highlight of the landing here is a visit to the gravesite of Sir Ernest Shackleton and his loyal right hand man, Frank Wild.
The next few days will visit St Andrew's Bay and Gold Harbor - places that are teeming with wildlife including fur seals, elephant seals and massive colonies of the colorful king penguins. Gold Harbor is so called because the sun's rays make the cliffs yellow with their light in the morning and evening. It's an exhilarating location.
Drygalski Fjord has been called one of the most spectacular sites in South Georgia. If it is calm enough hear the glacier calving large chunks of ice, reminders of what early sealers, whalers and vessels needed to pay close attention to.
You will be staying at Akademik Sergey Vavilov, Full board