St Andrews Bay & Ocean Harbour

Mar 16, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

After an early breakfast, we began our landing at St Andrews Bay to visit the largest king penguin colony—home to approximately 150,000 pairs—on South Georgia Island. For some reason, king penguins prefer high-energy beaches. That is, beaches with remarkably strong surf. Today we were amazed. We just drove straight in, like we were parking a car at a convenience store! We typically made stern-first landings, with four to six people to catch and hold the boat

As usual, there were a number of hikes offered: a hike to the colony, a photo hike to the colony, a long hike via a glacier face then to the colony, etc. Due to the king penguins’ unique breeding cycle, 14 months from courtship to fledging, it was possible to see bits of the entire cycle in one visit: courtship, eggs, chicks, and molting.

After lunch we found ourselves at Ocean Harbour. In the early part of the 20th century, there was a whaling station here. Now there are just bits and pieces left—an old steam locomotive and the wreck of the Bayard. We had the choice of a long hike up to top of a high ridge; an intermediate hike through the near the old whaling station, a waterfall, graves, and the wreck; a photo hike; or simply wandering on our own.

It was a beautiful afternoon, warm and sunny. On the medium hike, we picked our way around mostly very young fur seal pups and the occasional mom as we headed to the waterfall, the perfect place to sit or lie on the grass. It was a bit difficult to get everyone up and moving again, but there were elephant seals to be gawked at and an intriguing wreck to be admired and photographed. Just another day on beautiful South Georgia Island.

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About the Author

Dennis Cornejo


Dennis has spent more than half of his life working with Lindblad Expeditions. He first studied biology in the Sonoran Desert. It was his work with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum that brought him into contact with Sven Lindblad. Dennis was working with sea turtles in Mexico, desert tadpoles in southern Arizona and evaluating various legume trees for arid lands agriculture throughout the Sonoran Desert. Sven asked him if he would be interested in working on a ship as a naturalist in Baja California… a simple ‘yes’ turned out to be perhaps the most important decision he ever made!

About the Videographer

Eric Wehrmeister

Video Chronicler

Eric began his life on the far western edge of Chicago, where the concrete meets the cornfields.  His inspiration has always drawn from the expansive beauty of the natural world, as well as the endless forms that populate it.

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