Penguin Refugee Camp.

29 Dec

This is what makes the blood shot racoon eyes from long hours and lack of sleep so worthwhile! Today I started early at 4am and was lucky to get off early at 8am. I was just in time to jump onboard the last zodiac heading for St Andrew bay which is home to South Georgia’s largest King Penguin population (and yes they are all penguins behind me).

It was one of those times where you feel how amazing something is when you’re there. So many times it is not until you have left and reflect that you realise how beautiful a place is or how special the moment was. But it is impossible not to be awestruck by the vast sea of penguins, the fur seals, the sounds, the smell, the curiosity of the clumsy yet elegant king penguin. Add to this the beautiful blue sky day which is very rare and the wonderful backdrop of rocky peaks and glaciers, just added to the moment.

I describe St Andrews bay as a penguin refugee camp, you know how you see overcrowded refugee camps on the 6 o’clock news, well that’s what it felt like. 200,000 King penguins packed onto the beach, and add to this South Geogia’s largest Elephant seal population. Just awesome.

This afternoon I was hoping to get to do another landing at Gold Harbour on South Georgia Island but it has been cancelled due to high winds, which is probably a blessing in disguise as it meant I could write this post and catch an hours sleep. The photo below is from the observation deck as we are anchored in Gold Harbour.

Below is a short video I took looking down on the penguin refugee camp (how many times can I say amazing in one video?).


7 Responses to “Penguin Refugee Camp.”

  1. crystal December 30, 2009 at 7:19 am #

    Holy crap, that’s a lot of flipping penguins!!! Was the smell awful? I guess even if it was, it was just another part of the experience, eh?

    • Hap December 30, 2009 at 11:41 am #

      Yep smelly is definitely another word to describe it, 200,000 peguins worth of poop is not the nicest aroma.

      oK< you guys have a wicked NY's, Mandy Sue is excited.

      NBL HAp

  2. Geoff & Lynn December 31, 2009 at 6:21 am #

    Yo Hap
    Just as well you didnt wear ya penguin waiter suit onto that Island..ya mightnt have got of it!
    Have a happy new year.
    We will all be thinin of ya in between drinks
    Happy new year Mandy
    Geoff syd and JJ

  3. Geoff & Lynn December 31, 2009 at 6:26 am #

    Yo Hap
    Just as well ya didnt wear that penguin waiter suit onto the Island…they mightn’t have let you off!
    Happy New year from Syd G JJ Jillybean.
    Will be thinin of ya between drinks.
    Its another hot one at Pauanui today


    • Hap January 1, 2010 at 2:20 am #

      Cheers Family,

      I suppose it is already the New Year back home, so happy NY. I hope you all are feeling well and not too under the weather from all the champagne. I still have 8 hours to go, I’m still in 2009, and will wake up in 2010 in Antarctica, we are at sea at the moment but getting closer as we are now starting to pass to ice bergs.

      NY’s will be spent serving passengers champagne, but we will get a glass for NY’s, and we are lucky that we have a good bunch of passengers aboard, quite a few ozzies and Americans, so should be good considering I have to work. Then afterwards theres a crew party, but and early start tomorrow, so that should be interesting.

      Anyway, will be thinking of you all, I will try and ring sometime in the NY when you’re back by a land line. Love to you all.

      NBL Hap

  4. Sich January 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Happy New Year Bro

    Stoaked you got ashore at St Andrews! Looks like you had a mint day

    Look forward to catching up someday back in NZ



    • Hap January 4, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

      Hey bro,

      Yeah I made most of the landings on south Georgia, even made it back to Gold Harbour (not the best weather), but St Andrews was my highlight, crazy amount of penguins and the blue bird day was Gold.

      We currently doing the last landing at Curville Island and then hitting up the Drake . Been a good cruise, great bunch of passengers and amazing calm blue sky weather- except today.

      Made a landing at Bailey head yesterday, real lucky, usually don’t stop there, Victoria was saying she only been there twice as usually it’s always too rough, but yesterday the water was glasss, so was gold.

      Alright bro, you knw the drill, off to get some shut eye, I hope the NZ summer is treating you well, no doubt you lapping it up and enjoying more than most now you out of the floating cage!, ENJOY>


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