27 March, 2013 from mv Ortelius, by expedition leader, Delphine Aurès
What a great time of the year to be in South Georgia! Maybe the best time of the year actually! The wildlife is plentiful and the light is just magical for photographs. Kings, Gentoos, Chinstraps and Macaronis are all present on the shorelines. So are the many Elephant and Fur seals! Wandering albatrosses are having their chicks just hatching while the non breeders are actively involved in their courtship, practicing a ritual dance. Light-mantled sooty and Grey-headed albatrosses are still feeding their fluffy chick, and so are Giant petrels. We have been fortunate with the weather and found ourselves at the right place at the right time to succeed in all our landings and zodiac cruises so far.
After a successful landing of our ski crossing party at King Haakon Bay, we were blessed with a first full day of wonderful times in the Bay of Isles, visiting our first King penguin rookery at Salisbury Plain and then the Wandering albatrosses at Prion Island with sunshine and blue sky, offering a spectacular scenery. We also went for a hike on the moraines behind the rookerie and on a zodiac cruise where we observed lots of South Georgia pipits.
In the afternoon when we got to Cooper Bay the mist prevailing in the morning was still lingering over Cooper Island and the bay. But again and just suddenly it all lifted and we spent the rest of the day by the Macaroni penguins on shore and in the zodiacs, cruising in the bay amongst seals, terns, penguins and icebergs.
Tomorrow we will start our day in Fortuna Bay and reunite with our ski party who successfully crossed South Georgia and will hike the last bit of their journey to Stromness.