On our second day in South Georgia we stopped in Fortuna Bay to follow the footsteps of the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. He went on a journey to the Antarctic peninsula when his ship Endeavour got stuck in the pack ice and his crew was shipwrecked on Elephant Island. He then set off in a little nutshell to South Georgia to organise help. Even in a big ship like the Plancius I am on at the moment the sea looks and feels scary. I don’t want to imagine how it must have been a hundred years ago on a small boat like the J Caird.

When he landed on South Georgia he had to walk the last bit to get to the whaling station in Stromness. Our plan was to follow the last 6km of his walk today. When we got up we were treated with blue sky and sunshine – a very rare happening here. The walk was beautiful and of course I couldn’t resist…

Back in my hiking shorts 😎

The walk in a big group was of course not really a challenging hike and of course I would have loved to just run off and climb the one or other ridge and peak. But it was anyways great to be out, to be hiking and to feel the warming sun. Probably unnecessary to say that I was the only one thinking it was appropriate weather for shorts since everyone else was wearing Arctic gear… 😂

The landscape was beautiful – just what I love. Alpine scrub, rough terrain, spiky peaks and exposed ridges. A paradise! And as you can see this is probably why people were not so much into shorts on the hike. The lakes were still frozen from the night.


I also found some bearded bro’s!

When we got over the little ridge of 300m we had to climb and we could already see the bay of Stromness – Shackleton’s rescue. It’s a beautiful and sheltered bay.

Well, his friends of course didn’t join us for the hike. But Pengu also enjoyed hiking again.

On the way out we had to to through a small fur seal colony and did get the usual greeting. But we also got some cute sceneries as this little pup.

Back on the boat and for a little sail to Grytviken – the capital of South Georgia. The water colour soaked by the sun looked like in the Caribbean. The entire “city” is made out of a small graveyard hosting Shackleton’s grave, an old big whaling station, the museum and post office with currently 11 residents.

And then we encountered the gigantic Elephant Seals. These huge animals are amazing. The pups are born with 45kg and measure 120kg after two month already only from the very thick and fat milk.

A good scale between a normal fur seal and an elephant seal


Of course it had been a different time and setting but I still don’t like these old whaling stations and their history. Very interesting was to learn about the eradication project of reindeer, rats and mice which had been introduced during the whaling times. South Georgia actually managed to get rid of over 7.000 reindeer, all mice and (hopefully) all rats. The program has run already and now it’s about monitoring and hoping for the baiting to have been successful. If you have a spare 145$/120€ you can secure 1ha of rat free South Georgia. A tiny little bit to secure this amazing place. Since I don’t and can’t carry any souvenirs I decided to leave my footprint on South Georgia by supporting the project. If you are interested as well – here you can sign up as well and donate: Habitat Restoration Project

Looking at the documentation of the entire thing and learning that only this station has “processed” 175.000 whales during its operation just hurts if these giants could still just swim around in these waters. So I was quite glad to leave the place again. We anchored in the bay for a fantastic barbecue on deck freezing our butts off…

The weather had turned again during the night and when we woke up Godthul all mountains were covered in snow and it was still snowing and raining. No shorts today.


We landed on the beach for a little stroll and just got soaked. It was just a small taste of what you can and what we will probably get on this trip. Nevertheless the animals didn’t care at all.

And then we went on a little zodiac cruise in the bay. It felt like a bad idea from the beginning. We were wet already, the wind had picked up, it was still raining and windy so it was very predictable that we would get even wetter. But of course – the more time you spend outside the higher the chances to see things. And we were already on our way back after a rather unspectacular sail when we got a radio call from the only other zodiac still out that they found something feeding on a penguin. So we cruised across the bay to actually see a Leopard Seal which had caught a penguin and had to share it with a bunch of Giant Petrels. A very, very rare sighting which at the end justified being soaked.

Torrential rain as you can see but the sighting of this predator made up for it.


We went back on the ship and warmed up. A long and warm shower and a good heating system to try all of our gear did their job. And just after lunch and when we were dry again we went out again. Next stop Moltke Harbour. The rain luckily stopped and we were dropped in a valley which we were free to explore.



The rain and the amazing moss gave me a little playground for some pictures.


The valley was framed by a very narrow gorge with a waterfall coming down. I tried to go further but was stopped by one of the guides who ran after me and caught me before I could sneak out… 😂

…and more Elephant Seals. There was even one puppy which was so curious that it came up to us resting his head on our labs and even laying on one of the women legs. Another spectacular interaction with the wildlife – considering that the puppy had more than 100kg already.

An adult bull.


Final stage of the day before the lights went off and the curtains were closed – which happens every night to make it a dark ship to avoid bird strikes:

Continue with part 5