After leaving Fortuna Bay, we set sail for Stromness Bay which is a former whaling station. We will be stopping there for a brief visit – which is great as I will get to see more of this wonderful island.
As we sailed along the coast, we were able to see the beauty and grandeur of South Georgia – mere words cannot describe how wonderful it is. Quite often, you would see someone on the deck of the ship getting a photograph of the coastline.
We arrived at Stromness Bay and the conditions were great so we were able to take the zodiacs ashore. Here is one of our expedition leaders at the helm of the zodiac (do zodiacs have helms?).
Once ashore, we removed our life jackets and got our bearing. I wonder what this Fur Seal thinks about the explosion of yellow parkas that have come ashore?
It was getting fairly late in the afternoon, so we only had an hour or two to explore. I just gazed at the scenery (and not to forget, the odd seal or penguin that I passed) and tried to take everything in.
The Fur Seals had just given birth to their pups about two weeks ago. They are so adorable and would stay close to their parents’ side. This one seems to be getting a lecture from her mother.
I mentioned in a couple of posts that male Fur Seals, even young ones, can get quite aggressive defending their territory.
This little guy (in the next image) had me laughing so hard, I could barely operate my camera. He left his mother’s side, ran towards me (he ended up 2m away) and just started barking his little head off (male Fur Seals make a “barking” noise and sound like dogs). If I were to pick him up, he would just fit in my hands. I could not believe that they were this aggressive at such a young age – I guess this little guy is a quick learner. I think one day, he will become a beach master.
Stromness Bay was formerly a whaling station. It is sickening to think what humans used to do with whales – and with most of the whale species, we nearly forced them into extinction. I believe over 186,000 whales were slaughtered in the southern ocean. It is a dark part of the past of human history and the whale population has never recovered.
The old whaling station was off limits to us (we had to stay a minimum distance of 200m from it) as the buildings could collapse at any minute and in some of them, there was asbestos.
I spent the rest of our time ashore just taking in the beautiful light and our surroundings. Of course, there were a few seals and penguins and it was great just to observe them in their surroundings.
As much as I did not like the adult (OK, male) Fur Seals, I have to admit the seal pups were really adorable. How could one not love these little guys?
I was really tired – it had been a very long, but rewarding day. It was time to return to the ship. And our timing was perfect… we could see the sun setting over the mountains. The perfect end to the perfect day.
Tomorrow we will arrive at Grytviken, yet another whaling station and the burial place of Sir Earnest Shackleton. South Georgia is an absolutely wonderful place and I am really looking forward to exploring more of it.
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