Yesterday after we returned from Moltke Harbor, I did not feel well at all. I did not want to miss our next stop at Godthul, however, my body was telling me otherwise.
When we first boarded the ship on Day 1, we were told that we did not have to go on all of the landings and to listen to our bodies as the crew did not want anyone to overexert themself. So I decided to lie down and sleep off whatever I had.
The next morning, we arrived at Cooper Bay and planned to land there. Cooper Island is close by, however, it is a protected bird sanctuary, so we were not allowed to visit. The weather managed to cooperate with us so the expedition team planned a landing at Cooper Bay. Small (OK, big) problem… there were too many seals on the beach. The beach is very narrow and with the number of seals that were ashore, we would stress them out, especially since they were breeding.
The crew had another idea. There were many little coves, inlets, etc, we could explore that were accessible by zodiac, so we were going to be taken on a one hour cruise around the bay. We couldn’t go ashore, but we could get a good look at the wildlife.
Since we were going to be spending a long time cruising in the zodiacs, I used the Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G zoom lens and Nikon TC-20E III Teleconverter. It is important to use the “Active” (not “Normal”) Vibration Reduction mode (“VR” for Nikon users, “IS” for Canon people) on your telephoto zoom lens and a fast shutter speed (mine was set to 1/2000 second) as you will be bobbing up and down in the zodiac, so photographing a bird at 400mm is going to be really tough. I also used the Hydrophobia Rain Cover just in case water from the bay decided to spray us.
The Macaroni Penguin (that you see below) is the most abundant species of wildlife on South Georgia – last estimate was that there were 10 million of them. The funny thing though is that they are extremely difficult to find as they nest in obscure places. We happened to find a small colony of them along the bay. BTW, here is a question for you: How did Macaroni Penguins their name? (hint: remember the song, Yankee Doodle?)
And of course, no cruise in South Georgia is complete without seeing a few Fur Seals (they are amazing swimmers).
South Georgia is home to many other species of birds. Here is a Kelp Gull:
And – the South Georgia Pintail, who just happens to be the only carnivorous duck in the world:
An Antarctic Tern in flight (this was a tough shot to get):
And a Giant Petrel – we saw many of them when we were at sea:
Oh, and this seal managed to sneak into one of my photos!
And as always, the Ocean Nova waiting patiently for her passengers to return:
This was our last landing in South Georgia. This place is simply unbelievable – but wait – we were told it gets better. Before heading off to sea (for the Antarctic Peninsula), we will be exploring Drygalski Fjord later today. We will be sailing into it and getting up close and personal with a glacier.
Good thing I brought a lot of memory cards!
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