After leaving Stanley on the Falklands we had a two day journey through the Scotia Sea ahead of us. What can I say – the sea days were rougher and busier than expected. We followed the low pressure system which was ahead of us and gave us quite a severe swell and winds. The waves and the wind were one thing – but the direction of the swell gave the ship a severe roll. Normally the water is a couple of meters below level two. During the heavier times with 8+ meter waves the entire 3 level was flooded and the port holes and underwater lookout. Luckily I was not to much effected by it and didn’t feel any seasickness at all. Only at night I bumped my head approximately 68 times sliding into the headrest and back into the lower end keeping me awake the entire night. It looks a lot smoother than it was…

But the rest of the day was exhausting as well. We went from one lecture to briefing and instruction. I didn’t even have time to sort out my pictures and write. But the lectures were just to good to be missed. There is also a lot of focus on safety – especially for the sensible environment. We for example had to vacuum clean all our cloth which would go on shore in South Georgia to make sure we don’t bring any seeds or other invasive species on land. Also our boots have to be disinfected every time we go and come from land for the same reason. There were also a couple of videos on how to behave on shore, e.g. not stepping on the sensitive vegetation, safety distances to animals and so on. I really like the approach. It gives you the feeling that it will be preserved for a longer time event with tourists – like me – going there and different to other areas.

Along the way we had the first interesting spottings. Seals, penguins, fin wales, humpback wales and also a group of killer wales. But mostly we were followed by a lot of birds like the albatrosses. They are impressive flyers and gliders with enormous wings – the Wandering Albatross with 3.50 meters wingspan!


In one of the lectures one of the guides emphasised on the impact of plastic in the oceans. I am sure we are all aware of it and know somehow but the facts that were presented really shocked me! Just a few shocking facts which I noted down during the lecture.

When you only think about the little plastic bags we constantly use in our daily lives – 5 billion are used every year which means over 1 million per minute. The average working life time of a plastic bag is 15 minutes. In 2014 100 billion plastic drinking bottles were of which 57% were water bottles. It takes six times the amount of water to produce one bottle compared to what will be stored in it later. In total 300 million tons of new plastic are used every year – 50% of this is only used once for less than 12 minutes and unfortunately 8 million tons per year end up in the ocean. In some places with high concentration plastic outnumbers plankton by 26:1!

Why is this a problem? Plastic is consumed accidentally by many fish, sea mammals and birds with horrible effects in many ways. Due to the increased usage of plastic the problem is also getting worse every year. Currently already 90% of sea birds have plastic in their stomachs. In 1967 74% of sea bird chicks were fed with plastic. In 1995 it were already 98%! This is a problem for the entire food chain. Birds get eaten by by fish and end up in their stomach. And eventually they also end up in us when we eat fish or seafood.

For the birds themselves it’s also a big problem. They eat plastic pieces and for example also the caps of bottles. This fills up their stomach and they feel stuffed. So they can’t eat any more. Since they don’t digest plastic and they – especially the juveniles – also can’t choke it up. So they literally starve to death with a full belly of plastic.

I wasn’t aware how big of a problem it is myself. But if you just think about our daily life and how much plastic we use. Shopping bags, wrapping and packing paper, single-use coffee cups and lids and much more. I guess it’s going to take a massive joint effort to clean up but especially to avoid more plastic getting into to ocean. But everyone of us can make conscious decisions every day to not use some of the stuff. Just a thought…

In the afternoon of the second day finally the sun came out. So everybody went on deck and enjoyed the sun. We do have a professional photographer and travel writer on board – Dietmar. I had the pleasure to be his “model” in a few shots on the journey so far which is really cool. Finally I also get other than selfie pictures from myself. Here one of the making offs.


And then we arrived in South Georgia. Just to give you an idea how far out it is…

The crew was still excited and we went for our first landing – Salisbury Plains. I don’t know how to really describe this. The beach looked like it was made of bright sandstone which reached up the hill and the sea was boiling close to the shore. The closer we got with the zodiac you could see that the rocks actually were penguins and the boiling came from thousands of penguins and seals staring through the waters. Incredible!

And then we came on shore. We actually almost had to “fight” our way up the beach. The penguins were so curious and came very close to inspect us. The seal puppies were playing fake attacks and growled at us. An overwhelming setting. Salisbury is the second biggest King Penguin colony in South Georgia and host more than 300.000 penguins!

Inspecting our life vests.





So I made my way through the beach and the first outskirts of the colony to get to the main breeding grounds. On the way I encountered all different stages of penguin chicks. Since King Penguins breed for 13 month their schedule is always different and you always have different stages of chicks in the colony. So you also have close relatives of the German comedian Atze Schröder here 😎

And you meet more young seal puppies. Some of them are very adventures and actually try to scare you off when others are just chilled and do their things.

More inspection took place before we got to the breeding grounds. It is amazing to see that since these animals have no predators on land and so far have not made any bad experiences with humans have almost no fear and are really curious to get to know you. The general rule is to stay at least five meters away from all wildlife and if they are in big groups even more to give them space. But if you sit down or stand still and the animals come closer and are interested in the encounter this is of course their call. Some of them came up as close as maybe the length of a hand away or even picked on your shoes and pants to see what we were. What an amazing feeling to be so close with these graceful creatures!

Hey brew! What ya doin’ here?

And then you stand in front of this. It was even impossible to capture the entire colony on one picture. It was unreal – but see yourself!


The brown and fluffy ones in the middle of the crowd are not a different species but the chicks. The early explorer thought that they were a different species at the beginning. You can’t blame them – they really don’t look like a King Penguin in that stage…

Most of the time I just stood around or sat on the ground and took the spectacle in. Once you rested for a few minutes and where not chased off by one of the bigger seals the penguins usually came up to you to interact. There was always one or a small gang who after a short period of time would come up to you. It was really special. Hard to capture on photos especially since I focused on the experience and took it all in…

Inspecting my boots. He actually gently nibbled on it..



The gang and me. These fellows came as close as half a meter.

I took almost one thousand pictures of this colony – but only a few more impressions here.



We received a proper farewell from this amazing spot before we went on back on the Plancius for the night. Tough to put in words but incredible amazing. It’s great to see that there are still places like this on our planet…