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South Georgia Island

Photo journal (page 7)

Drake Passage
Prince Olav Harbour (west) and Blue Whale Harbour (east).

Blue Whale Harbor is a small, sheltered anchorage, an enclosed cove near the extremity of a peninsula reaching away from the island. Prince Olav Harbour is another small harbor, the site of a Norwegian whaling station was closed in 1931, making it the oldest ruins on the island and a portent of the destiny of the other stations.

Salisbury Plain, a hike of some five kilometers along the coast from the closest feasible anchorage, is one of the wildlife destinations of choice on South Georgia: the breeding site of over 200,000 king penguins, double that seen by ourselves earlier at Gold Harbour.

Blue Whale Harbour, Prince Olav Harbour, and Salisbury Plain

Blue Whale Harbour has picturesque surrounds, terrain that is softer than the steep and high mounts that dominate most other places in South Georgia. We anchored Kiwi Roa once again amongst the submarine forests.

Blue Whale Harbour
Blue Whale Harbour

There are is a colony of fur seals at Blue Whale Harbour, and like elsewhere their pups were getting big enough to be playful and inquisitive. This one came to practice his challenging in front of the camera.

Challenge
Challenge

Mother however was still in charge, and junior responded eagerly to the call-in for dinner.

Suckling
Suckling

The year-old young of the kings here have already nearly finished forming their adult plumage.

King juveniles
King juveniles

The delapitated ruins of Prince Olav Harbour are just visible from out at sea, at the foothills of the surrounding mountains. The clouds were lifting as we arrived.

Prince Olav Harbour
Prince Olav Harbour

Like the other stations, everything was left behind, despite the apparent value. Ship propellers litter one of the beaches like some bizarre modern art exhibit. The metaphor is lost in a world without flowers.

Propeller garden
Propeller garden

High above the station in the hills is a dam and still contained reservoir, treated as a convenient fresh water lake by these bathing seals which appear sufficiently enamored with it to make the climb.

Dam
Dam

The villa, built up on the hills overlooking the harbor, would have housed officers or administrators. Eyes of dead men seem to stare out at the visitor.

Villa
Villa

The 1,700 ton iron Brutus, built in Glasgow in 1883, was intentionally beached near the the namesake Brutus Island in the harbor to serve as a coaling hulk. Reminiscent of the story of the Bayard in Ocean Harbour, she was driven off her grounding by a severe storm and pushed onshore. The reader, if a sailor, is again invited to imagine the conditions necessary.

“Brutus”
“Brutus”

All that remains of this the oldest station is essentially debris, some of it just hanging onto the weak and fragile framework of former structures.

Prince Olav Harbour
Prince Olav Harbour

Along the coast is Salisbury Plain, home to one of the larger penguin rookeries. Birds are scattered around for miles either side.

King penguins
King penguins

Fights between adult and teenager are not restricted to the human world.

Juvenile and parent
Juvenile and parent

The mature juveniles were in various stages of molting. The birds, in their hundreds of thousands, fill the plain in a cacophony of squawking and screeching.

Salisbury Plain
Salisbury Plain

The last native creature we were yet to meet was the wonder of the sky. Albatross Island required the use of a precarious anchorage, in kelp with the anchor on a rock bottom, but it was to be worthwhile.

Albatross Island
Albatross Island