After having sailed nearly 200 nautical miles east from Elephant Island overnight, we were approaching Coronation Island in The South Orkneys by the time breakfast had begun. Still lying in the Antarctic ecological zone, these islands are mostly covered in glacial ice with any bare ground occupied by nesting chinstrap penguins – hundreds of thousands of them, in fact. Other nesting seabirds such as cape and snow petrels, southern fulmars, and kelp gulls call these islands home as well. We spent the morning exploring the shores of Monroe and Coronation Islands by Zodiac, poking into nearly every nook and cranny to observe the spectacle of life that abounds here.
The remainder of the day had our sights set for South Georgia, still 400 nautical miles to the northeast. We would begin our preparations for our time there by receiving a briefing on the regulations set by the South Georgia government and going through our first bio decontamination to ensure we’re not introducing any foreign organic material to this wondrous and wild island.