Newcastle Downunder

By jensphotos

Can anyone see a penguin?

Alongside St Andrews Bay of two days ago, Salisbury plain is one of the most famous sites for massive King penguin colonies.  We were told there were around 180,000 breeding pairs.  As always, the beach was full of fur seal harems, huffing and puffing and cranky males, mothers and babies and every so often some elephant seals.   Right at the end of this massive beach in the cheaper real estate areas were a few gentoo penguins.  There were pintail ducks, sheath bills (also known as shit chickens - they eat penguin poo) and skuas.

It was definitely King penguin overload.  Like looking at one of those "Where's Wally" drawings.  The chicks as at our other landings were from last year and ready to fledge.  In the main blip there are lots of those brown coated chicks.

We wandered along the beach and back towards the glacier to a grassy knoll where we got the view looking out to sea.  I saw some Kings on eggs so they are up and running breeding for this year.
I had a chick follow me and peck at my hand begging for food.  I could have smuggled aboard the ship, I am sure no one would have noticed.  We spent hours here and I loved every minute of it.

I lost nearly 700 photos from this landing but used card rescue and recovered the lot when I got home.  I certainly did a happy dance about that.

From there it was to Elsehul harbour.  Miserable conditions and we stayed on board rather than do the zodiac ride.  There was a large macaroni colony which you could just see from the ship.  On the other side was a massive grey headed albatross colony.  I wonder if that was what they filmed for Attenborough’s latest epic about the 7 continents.  It wouldn't surprise me.

One of the expedition staff was Ian McCarthy, a camera man and photographer who had worked on Blue Planet and many BBC productions.  He had wonderful stories to tell and was a lovely man.

Farewell then South Georgia and in less than 3 days  we will arrive in the Falklands. 

The extras are:

Baby fur seal (aren't they cute), chicks, another view of the colony, shit chickens, a view of the beach to show you the typical fur seal gauntlet you need to run, chick begging

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