On the next day our goal was to land on Ocean Harbour early in the morning and then to continue to St. Andrews Bay to visit the largest King Penguin colony. But when we arrived the swell was just to strong to even get the zodiacs from the ship into the water. So we continued further on to the Royal Bay. Also here we couldn’t attempt a landing but the views were just spectacular. And probably the views from the boat were even better than from one of the beaches.

There was still snow on the mountains and it’s funny to see how the relevant difference in temperature must have been just less than a hundred meters. The weather was nice, the sun was out but the swell still to high for a landing. So we just anchored in the bay for a little while and enjoyed.

 

 

The picture of the island changed a bit. It felt like a few more mountains and rougher terrain. But this could have been influenced by the snow and low hanging clouds as well. The game of light, reflection and colour was just astonishing!

 

 

 

Breakfast scenery

And one of my favourites. Probably because #ilovemountains I am a bit subjective on this one. But I love the beauty of this one. Reminds me a bit on the Matterhorn.

A few more impressions from the coast line on our way to the southern tip of South Georgia.

 

And then we entered the Drygalski Fjord – the last fjord on the southern tip and probably the most narrow one. The clouds pushed in a gain and were quite low which gave this really mystic atmosphere in the fjord. Also the glacial ice and melted water which feeds the fjord gives it this unique colour. We went all the way in with the Plancius to were the Risting Glacier calved into the fjord. Even a couple of hundred meters away from the glacier the fjord was still 240 meters deep. You can see how the radar on the lower right corner pics up the edges of the fjord and the beginning of the glacier.

 

 

On the way back from the way back out I was able to capture this beautiful Blue Eyed Comoran.

You can tell that it is getting colder and rougher. More and more glaciers reach directly into the sea. Even though even these glaciers are all shrinking in a shocking speed.

 

 

Can you spot the penguin in the rock? It’s not a real one…

After lunch we went for a zodiac ride into a side arm of the fjord called Larsen Harbour. We spotted a few Weddell Seals which are quite uncommon so far up north and usually are only found on the Antarctic Peninsula. And of course the side arm has also been formed by a glacier which now reaches and floats on the sea.

As you can see the there are a few lines on the upper part of the middle blue section of the glacier. They look like stripes which curve down from the left upper part to a little low point in the middle. This is because the flow rate of glaciers is always the fastest in the middle on the top. Why? The viscosity of ice on ice is usually a lot higher than when ice has to go over rocks. Here also uneven ground slows the glacier down which makes it go faster in the middle and slower in the outskirts. Therefore also sediments which have deposited at the same time will flow faster in the middle and create these curved lines.

And then it was time to go leave South Georgia. I can only say it again – everybody said beforehand it is a special place and I can only agree. It is! The massive amount of penguins especially and these beautiful mountains embedded in this rough environment. It’s the stuff you usually only see in these documentaries which look like from a different planet. It again reminded me on how important it is to safeguard these last remaining hot spots on the planet.

So we set off sailing again with course south-west to the South Orkneys. A one and a half day sail. The first outskirts of the Antarctic. We had just passed the Cape Disappointment when two amazing Fin Whales which are the second largest whales in the world came up close to inspect the boat while they were hunting krill. You could even see the red krill clouds in the water around us. The two whales came to about 10 meters to our boat dived underneath it a few times and just checked us out. It felt like they came to say good bye and wish us a good journey. Thank you South Georgia for this wonderful experience!

 

Continue with part 6