Antarctica and South Georgia 2022

Antarctica and South Georgia 2022

Apr 07 2022 Written by:Rob Barbour Photography:Rob Barbour

I have just had the pleasure of travelling to the 7th Continent ( Antarctica) and the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia.

This journey of a lifetime was taken on the small luxurious expedition ship, the Magellan Explorer. This late summer ‘fly and cruise” adventure started in Punta Arenas, southern Chile. Here we enjoyed wonderful Chilean culture and hospitality before we flew over the Drake Passage to King George Island, in the South Shetlands, to marry up with our ship.

Daily excursions included two landing via zodiac. These were many and varied and ranged from visiting penguin colonies and/or research stations, climbing to viewpoints, and watching marine life, which including various whale encounters.  Time on board included attending entertaining and informative daily presentations (by the incredibly experienced expedition staff) covering the geography, the wildlife and the polar exploration history. 

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After leaving the Antarctic Peninsula we cruised north, following Sir Ernest Shackleton’s famous voyage in a lifeboat to seek rescue for his men from Elephant Island. This route took us across the Scotia Sea to South Georgia, an island incredibly rich in mammal and birdlife. Here we observed vast King Penguin rookeries, the largest of which housed around 500,000 mating pairs. Because of the King Penguin’s long breeding cycle, we observed pairs incubating eggs and young of all different ages. In all locations we encountered Elephant and Fur Seal colonies. They are very inquisitive and have no fear of humans. 

We also had the opportunity to walk the last 5km of Shackleton’s trek across South Georgia. This coincided with the finding of the wreck of Shackleton’s ship, The Endurance, 3000 meters under the ice of the Antarctic Sound.  Cruising between South America, Antarctica and South Georgia also rewarded us with regular and spectacular whale sitings and often various species of Albatross and Petrels gracefully gliding in the ship’s wake.

This combination of destinations gave us the best possible taste of the Antarctic and sub Antarctic polar areas.