St Andrewโ€™s Bay


I had the pleasure of visiting the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia aboard the Hans Hansson. One of the highlights was a visit to the massive King penguin colony of St. Andrew's Bay. On the first morning, the zodiac dropped me off on the beach at sunrise... but I wasn't alone.

King penguins coming ashore with full bellies after foraging in the sea.

The beach was crowded with life! Mostly 3 ft (1 m) tall King penguins and 4 ton Southern elephant seals.

Southern elephant seals certainly know how to clear a path! And abruptly collapse from the effort!

Lacking this skill (and tonnage), I decided to try my luck with an inland path to the colony. This meant navigating through Southern elephant seal territory.

Tip-toeing past the lumpy but comfy looking harem...

The King penguin colony was still in the white distance - surrounded by glaciers and snow covered mountains. Marching onward to the foothills through a few melt water rivers. Yet even here, in the suburbs, the King penguin population was beginning to sprawl.

Even before reaching the top of the last hill, I could hear the volume rising. It was the sound of hundreds of thousands of penguins chattering over each other to be heard. Next came a chilly wind gust packed with an overpowering and distinct smell of... And then I SAW it!

It was the sight of this penguinopolis that completed my sensory overload!

This was merely springtime. The population is estimated to reach 500,000 in summer.

Often it's one or the other, but here, the journey and the destination were equally thrilling! After two days, the weather changed. So we raised anchor and headed down the coast, continuing our exploration of this fascinating island.

๐Ÿ“Œ More snaps & stories from this expedition on #SouthGeorgia #Antarctica #penguins #steller #stellerstories #stellerplaces #animals #animalkingdom #epixtrip