Antarcticas South Georgia Islands, Worth The Detour
What do you know about the South Georgia Islands? When I was booking my cruise to Antarctica, I was told by a friend that I had to go there mainly to see the King penguins and I’m so glad I did!
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British Overseas Territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands known as the South Sandwich Islands. No permanent native population lives in the territory although a very small non-permanent population does reside in South Georgia peaking at 35 people over the summer months. Overall it adds 6 days onto the Classic Antarctica itinerary and I am so happy we did it.
It is not very often I am lost for words but on our first landing at Gold Harbour in South Georgia Island I couldn’t really believe what I was seeing. One of the world’s biggest population of King Penguins were dotted along the beach as far as the eye could see, an estimated 25,000 pairs all chatting to each other, walking around, falling over, having a snooze, swimming and quite interested in all these new people arriving wearing bright red jackets. Six elephant seals were about 50 metres away from the zodiac landing site having a snooze as well as hundreds of sea lion pups playing with each other, falling over and learning to swim. We started to stroll along the beach and weaved our way through all the noise and activity, taking lots of pictures but also remembering to put the camera down and just watch and listen.
We had two more days of similar landings and lots of fun interactions including one penguin that had an interest in me and started pecking at my life jacket!
South Georgia is such a different feel and experience to the Antarctica Peninsula and is definitely worth the detour if you are lucky enough to be in the neighborhood!