SOUTH GEORGIA Cruises

SOUTH GEORGIA Cruises

South Georgia is one of the most stunning places on earth. This small archipelago rears up from the Southern Ocean to a height of almost 3,000 metres and is home to millions of birds. The rugged landscape forms a dramatic backdrop to the many beaches and coves which are home to millions of penguins and petrels, thousands of elephant and fur seals and hundreds of albatrosses.

In addition to its amazing wildlife South Georgia holds an important place in Polar history. In April 1915 Sir Ernest Shackleton sailed from the James Caird 1,500kms from the Elephant Island (north of the Antarctic peninsula) to King Haakon Bay on South Georgia. He then hiked across the spine of the island to Stromness whaling station before returning to Argentina to try to find a suitable ship to attempt a rescue of the crew of the Endurance. In August 1915 Shackleton made it back to Elephant Island where all of the crew of the Endurance had survived. Shackleton’s last expedition was in 1922, he died whilst off the coast of South Georgia and is buried in Grytviken cemetery.

To help you understand the options, and there a many, we have a specialist and dedicated Antarctic Luxury & Expedition Cruises web site featuring (Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia, Falkland Islands, Ross Sea and New Zealand Sub-Antarctic Islands).  Click here and you’ll be taken to this site.

The other option is to call us 1300 668 112 and we will share our first-hand knowledge of South Georgia and suggest ships and itineraries we think will best suit your interests, style and budget.  Most of the time the South Georgia will be part of a longer itinerary that also includes the Falkland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

South Georgia

SOUTH GEORGIA EXPEDITION SHIPS

If you know the ship upon which you would like to explore South Georgia on click on the image or button below and you’ll be taken to the page for that ship with all of its itineraries.

SOUTH GEORGIA EXPEDITION-LUXURY SHIPS

SOUTH GEORGIA LUXURY SHIPS

HIGHLIGHTS OF SOUTH GEORGIA

King Penguins

elephant-seal-amid-king-penguins-Gold-Harbour-South-Georgia-Jan-2018-Jack-Burridge-735-x-440

There are approximately 500,000 pairs of king penguins on South Georgia (and if you think that’s a lot South Georgia has almost 3,000,000 Macaroni penguins). King penguins, like all penguins, are very sociable, and live in large colonies, usually with many tens of thousands of pairs. There are many colonies along the east coast of the island with the largest colonies at Salisbury Plain, Fortuna Bay, Gold Harbour and St Andrews Bay. Their breeding cycle is such that you will always find adults and chicks at the colonies. The fluffy brown juvenile king penguins form into large creches whilst their parents are away at sea fishing. Once you have been fortunate enough to visit a colony it will only take the sound of their trumpeting calls to transport you back – a must!

Salisbury Plain

South Georgia - Salisbury Plain

In addition to being home to one of the largest colonies of King penguins on South Georgia, with over 60,000 pairs of these magnificent birds, the beach and surrounding areas are also home to gentoo penguins, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, snowy sheathbills, kelp gulls, southern giant petrels, northern giant petrels, white-chinned petrels, brown skuas, Antarctic terns, South Georgia pintails, elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals.

Grytviken

Grytviken Harbour South Georgia

Settled in a natural harbour, this settlement offers many wonderful opportunities to explore: the old abandoned whaling station and whaling ships, Shackleton’s grave, and a wonderful museum are all within an easy walk. Wildlife is ever present – King penguins, South Georgia pintails, Antarctic fur seals to name a few.

For those up for a trek there are numerous options: perhaps a hike to a higher vantage point to look down on the whaling station or, for the ornithologists, a hike along the cliff tops to where light-mantled Sooty albatrosses breed. For those lucky enough to witness their stunning synchronised flying displays or their haunting mating calls, the effort is very much worth it.

Beach Masters – Elephant Seals

It’s only on the very first voyages of the season that you can witness South Georgia’s Beachmasters – dominant bull elephant seals, going ‘head to head’ in the pursuit of passing on the genes. The one tonne plus males haul out onto South Georgia’s beaches in late October with the goal of corralling as many females as they can into their harem. They will be constantly challenged by other males until they are beaten either by a larger male or simply by exhaustion. By the middle of November, job done, they head out to sea to replenish their strength until they return to the beaches again next year.

Wandering Albatross

Wandering Albatross South Georgia

As Robert Cushman Murphy put it, ‘’I now belong to a higher cult of mortals, for I have seen the albatross!” The Wandering Albatross is among the most graceful and amazing birds in the world. Most at home on the wing, they will often be seen circling the vessel. These beautiful birds will circumnavigate the world many times during their lifetime.

On Prion Island a boardwalk has been built to afford easy and environmentally safe access (the boardwalk avoids trampling tussock grass and the resultant soil erosion) to areas of the island where several Wandering Albatrosses breed.

Zodiac Cruising

Zodiac Cruise Cooper Bay South Georgia

Just like on the Antarctic Peninsula some sites in South Georgia don’t lend themselves to a physical landing or may be best seen from water level. Zodiacs (rubber inflatable boats) offer a safe way to explore sites like: Drygalski Fjord, Elsehul and Cooper Bay. Many bays, natural harbours or fjords are quite calm and cruising along the shoreline is a fun way of exploring. Expert guides, often with years of experience, handle the zodiacs with ease and skill. Keen photographers need not worry as the guides will ensure everyone gets a good look.

Note: Please ensure you are adequately dressed as it can get cold; waterproof pants are essential

Kayaking

Kayaking South Georgia - Hayley Crowden

Just like on the Antarctic Peninsula some sites in South Georgia don’t lend themselves to a physical landing or may be best seen from water level. Zodiacs (rubber inflatable boats) offer a safe way to explore sites like: Drygalski Fjord, Elsehul and Cooper Bay. Many bays, natural harbours or fjords are quite calm and cruising along the shoreline is a fun way of exploring. Expert guides, often with years of experience, handle the zodiacs with ease and skill. Keen photographers need not worry as the guides will ensure everyone gets a good look.

Note: Please ensure you are adequately dressed as it can get cold; waterproof pants are essential

Call us today 1300 784 794

 

To discuss your luxury expedition cruise to Antarctica, The Falkland Islands or South Georgia, South America, Russia and beyond.

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