To the east of southern Argentina and the Falkland Islands lies a natural paradise, relatively unknown to world tourism. South Georgia, a part of British Overseas Territory, is far from unimportant, however. Amid its vast, icy mountainscapes and bounteous wildlife lies a truly fascinating history, not to mention a most excellent destination for a polar expedition cruise. These are some of the marvels you might see in South Georgia.
There are many historic locations dotted around South Georgia, each of which played a vital role in the early 20th century.
There are many historic locations dotted around South Georgia, each of which played a vital role in the early 20th century. In 1916, this small island was to be the saving grace of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s fabled Endurance expedition. The explorer and five of his crew – Frank Worsley, Tim McCarthy, Thomas Crean, John Vincent and Harry McNeish – landed here seeking rescue, but had to trudge through freezing alpine conditions to get it.
On a modern sub-Antarctic exploration cruise, you’ll be able to see locations such as Peggotty Bluff and Cave Cove, both of which were key shelters for Shackleton and his crew. You can also hike to Stromness Bay, where the eponymous, but now abandoned, whaling station is located. The Norwegians here helped Shackleton, and were instrumental in rescuing the Endurance’s crew.
In the township of Grytviken, another stop on your amazing journey, is home to Shackleton’s grave, as well as an insightful museum that contains a replica of the Jaimes Caird. You can read more about this in our blog post ‘Celebrating Shackleton’s centenary: A truly heroic Antarctic voyage‘.
Despite being of a smaller land size than most major world cities South Georgia is home to an enormous amount of wildlife. For example, elephant seals can often be seen lazing around on the beach, usually with one large male to a harem containing upward of 50 females.
South Georgia is also home to extraordinary king penguin rookeries. For example, the second-largest can be found on the Salisbury Plain, which you can visit for yourself with Aurora Expeditions to see the locals. Heads up: Sometimes the group here can grow to as much as 250,000 penguins!
And that’s not even remotely all. You can also see fur seals, giant petrels, macaroni penguins, Antarctic terns and the wandering albatross – the bird with the largest wingspan on Earth..
Imagine an island of towering mountains, capped with luminous white snow and vast glaciers. Below is a rocky, tussocky place with undulating hills, deep valleys and dramatic cliffs – home to hundreds of nesting birds. The ocean laps at these rocky shores, where icebergs roam free and smaller bergy bits wash up on land next to slightly eerie, but fascinating abandoned whaling buildings.
— Karen Edwards (@KarenNEdwards)
November 24, 2015