The most beautiful and serene place on earth might be South Georgia under a blue sky with no wind! This is what awaited us as we awoke at our overnight anchorage in Godthul. The Norwegian whalers named this cove and the translation of “good hollow” or “good anchorage” was incredibly apt.
Our morning’s activities included a long hike from a rocky coastline dotted every 8 or 9 feet by a male fur seal. The hikers carefully picked their way steeply up the tussock slope to a plateau where they split into groups exploring the birdlife and vegetation around Lake Aviemore and on the rolling hills beyond. The rest of us enjoyed the cove by Zodiac cruise, soaking up the sun’s rays while admiring the fur and elephant seals on the shore, nesting South Georgia shags, stunning cliff faces covered with mosses and lichens and even a brief encounter with a curious leopard seal at the end of round one!
We headed northwest along the coast during lunch and throughout the early afternoon with unimpeded views of the glaciated peaks which form the spine of South Georgia island. Just before lunch, we had the pleasure of a quick pass with our sister ship, the National Geographic Resolution with both ships sounding their horns and guests and crew greeting each other from the bridge and outer decks.
Late afternoon brought us to the Bay of Isles with a lovely Zodiac cruise amongst beautifully lit rocks with snoozing fur seals, beaches heaving with jousting male Antarctic fur seals and a few harems and newborn pups, and a host of seabirds. The giant petrels were the most numerous but even in a short amount of time, we spotted prions, South Georgia pintail ducks, shags, skuas, gentoo and king penguins, and a few lucky overhead soaring passes from one of the resident wandering albatross.