South Georgia Heritage Trust: habitat and ambition

Before disembarking at Grytviken, the Director of the South Georgia Heritage Trust came on board to talk about the challenges and successes of habitat restoration on the island. They’ve got a seriously impressive record.I’ve mentioned the reindeer, but of course they’re fairly big and slow-moving. Once the decision had been … Continue reading

Alpine uplands above Maiviken

Maiviken Cove was our next stop.  We headed there only after leaving our anchor behind in the foul ground of Stromness Harbour. Heroic efforts to free it had begun at first light, although the beautiful sunrise was largely unappreciated by the hard-working crew. In the end the chain was pulled … Continue reading

Reindeer and spaceships on the Stromness headland

The zodiacs prepared to land on a small beach across the bay from the Stromness whaling station. Over the steep headland lay Leith whaling station, where Europa would re-anchor and collect us. The kelp is thick along these rocks, giving us a challenge to get close enough in to land. The … Continue reading

M is for migration and life on Mars: #AntarcticAlphabet

Penguin chicks lie among the pebbles. Still nearly complete, some of them, beaks agape and wings extended as if the raw spine might haul itself up and zombie-walk to the sea. Remnants are arranged into memento mori, reminiscent of Victorian child shrines kept by loving mothers.Scraps of bone and feather mark … Continue reading

Working on the highway

All colonies have a highway (or several) to the sea, like this one at Salisbury Plain. They use this route to the sea and it is important not to disrupt it: penguins have right of way on their commute. The chinstraps, like those at Half Moon Bay, like their rocky, … Continue reading

Prion Island: nesting wanderers

The prion (in Antarctica, where there are no cows) is an abundant seabird. There are several species, primarily differentiated by their bills. They fly fast and low and so I have no good pictures of them. The point of Prion Island In the Bay of Isles, though, is that it … Continue reading

Elsehul

The deep inlet of Elsehul, its steep sides coated in tussac grass, was out introduction to the wild, extraordinary beautify of South Georgia. The water is shallow enough for kelp forests to wave in the choppy surface for the fur seals to play in, and home to fish, birds and … Continue reading

Bird Sound: arrival and biosecurity

The archipelago of South Georgia includes the study site of Bird Island, lying just off the north-western tip of the main island. Between them lies a rocky, narrow channel known as Bird sound. The detailed chart shows that the deeper water (the white bits) reduces to a narrow channel between … Continue reading