Sunday 20 January
St Andrews Bay
The day didn’t start very well as Ewen was not happy with his cold shower, but improved with perfect weather for a zodiac landing. Much drier underfoot and not so many fur seals pups. Spent quite some time watching the king penguin juvenile birds (last year’s chicks covered in brown feathers) demanding food from their mothers. Lots of photo opportunities.
We meandered our way up to the top of the ridge where some large birds were nesting. It provided a good view of the colony, especially the striations of colour from the brown fluff balls and the adult king penguins. At the top we could see the glacier with its cracks forming. Apparently a large chunk of ice cascaded down the mountain. Did not see this, but luckily there were no kayakers in the water below. We also caught sight of the skuas making light work of a dead reindeer. Saw some amusing moments in the training pool for the junior penguins as they tried to swim across the creek and stagger out of the water onto the slippery rocks. Back to the boat for lunch, really need to downsize the meals. The food is really good.
The afternoon zodiac the beach left later than originally planned due to a sighting of a large pod humpback whales. (About 30 in total) After some time on deck the old Sony camera battery threw the towel in due to the cold so I went down to the cabin to retrieve the Ricoh. No sooner than I had picked up the camera I looked out the window and there was a whale outside the window. Lousy photo but a good experience to see it breeching.
Eventually set off in the zodiac to Gold Harbour about 6pm. Very aggressive young male fur seals. They must have liked red as they kept following me around. Very uneasy with this, the rocks you are supposed to bang together were pretty ineffective, they are lucky they didn’t get one in the head. More king penguins here and also some gentoos. Some king penguins were still on eggs, but no baby chicks in sight. Huge elephant seals all huddled up together, making disgusting farting noises. The really big one had another pinned underneath the upper part of its body, while the trapped one was flailing around trying to escape. Felt much better when we left here and returned to the boat.
Shared some of Jennifer’s bubbly she won for guessing the time of the sighting of the first iceberg. Another really good meal.
PS All apologies of the penguin overload, it was very difficult to choose just a few.