Salisbury Plain is sometimes called the “Serengeti of the South” and is a wildlife site without parallel. Several large glaciers provide a dramatic backdrop for the tens of thousands of king penguins that nest in the tussock grass of this remarkable ecosystem. The wide beach makes for excellent walking as you visit the colony, where you are literally surrounded and delightfully outnumbered by throngs of curious, gentle penguins. Elephant and fur seals also abound, as well as southern giant petrels and the occasional wandering gentoo penguin. Prepare for an awe-inspiring experience.
On the tussock-grass covered islet, visit a breeding colony of wandering albatross. Ascend to the summit on a wooden boardwalk, offering comfortable viewing platforms.
Once a thriving whaling station, the ruins of Grytviken stand as a reminder of an era of exploitation that grows more distant by the day. In Grytviken, visit the interesting Museum of Natural History and Whaling, as well as the last resting site of Sir Ernest Shackleton at the nearby graveyard in King Edward cove. Join the MV Ushuaia's team for a graveside toast honoring this remarkable explorer and venerated mariner.
Visit gentoo penguins on the tussac plateau, then light-mantled sooty albatross while exploring the natural cliff amphitheater that encircles the harbor. Discover fascinating relics from the whaling era, as well as the impressive collection of whale and elephant seal bones scattered along the beach.
Take a stroll down the fine dark sand beaches of St. Andrew's Bay, which are bounded in the interior by the Cook, Buxton and Heaney Glaciers and covered with penguins and seals. St.Andrew's Bay is home to the largest colony of king penguins on South Georgia, as well as elephant seals, leopard seals and a wide variety of voracious scavengers such as sheathbills and cape petrels. There are also opportunities to see white-chinned petrels, light-mantled sooty albatrosses, brown skuas and Antarctic terns, all who nest on the Bay.
Another highlight could be a visit in Cooper Bay at the southeast extremity of South Georgia. There is a wealth of wildlife at this site, in a spectacular setting. Chinstrap, gentoo and macaroni penguins dot the tussock slopes and there are plenty of fur seals on the beaches. Fascinating volcanic rocks tower over small fjords, providing a stunning backdrop for a thrilling wildlife watching zodiac cruise on the waterfront.
Although Drygalski Fjord´s glaciers have retreated significantly in recent decades, they remain one of the most striking features of this coastline, particularly the Risting and Jenkins Glaciers. With a little luck, you might see the glaciers calve and witness the birth of a new iceberg.
Argentine Antarctic Station Esperanza
Sail the passage to the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which traverses the Antarctic Sound and runs northwest-to-southeast. Hope Bay and the Argentine Station Esperanza are located on the western side of the Sound.
Brown Bluff, a promontory on the Tabarin Peninsula, is located south of Hope Bay. Both of them might be possible landing sites. The Weddell Sea represents the center of the Peninsula´s Adélie penguin population.
The numbers of penguins are breathtaking, and the region also teems with vibrant exploration history. The most bizarre of these tales involves the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of 1901-03 under the command of geologist Otto Nordenskjöld. Nordenskjöld´s expedition was the first to overwinter in the Peninsula. His ship the Antarctic, under the command of the famous Norwegian whaling captain Carl Anton Larsen, was trapped in the ice and sank, but the men survived on different locations and even managed to carry out significant scientific research in the area.
This region of broad straits, mountainous islands, protected bays, and narrow channels offers moments of solitude.
Hydrurga Rocks is a small group of islets which lie east of Two Hummock Island in the Palmer Archipelago, at the northern entrance of the Gerlache Strait. Chinstrap penguins, blue-eyed shags and kelp gulls are confirmed breeders here.
Cuverville Island lies in the scenic Errera Channel, in the center of the Gerlache Strait. A well-defined raised beach forms a nesting site for many gentoo penguins here. On the way north the ship may explore the South Shetland Islands.
Deception is the largest of three recent volcanic centers in the South Shetlands. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing. Once inside, the rising slope of the black, cinder-covered volcanic rim can be walked uphill to a rather spectacular vantage point.
Half Moon Island
This crescent-shaped island, in the entrance of Moon Bay between Greenwich and Livingston Islands, is home to chinstrap penguins in breathtaking surroundings.
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