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King PenguinsOn February 3rd, after a rough night at sea (our only one on the entire 21 day cruise), we made a pre-breakfast landing at St. Andrews Bay so that photographers could enjoy the low morning sun lighting conditions. The weather was gorgeous and this turned out to be our favorite spot on the trip.Kings and elephant sealsWhat an amazing place! The beach was littered with huge elephant seals, hundreds of female fur seals and their energetic pups, and thousands of majestic King Penguins.There were so many photo opportunities, it was hard to decide where to stand.

Elephant Seals BellowingThe female elephant seals were mostly laying lazily in the sun, seemingly oblivious to the activity of the penguins and fur seals all around them. But several of them were staking out their territory in the pond and we were witness to their bellowing, belching and fighting.



Fur sealsThe fur seals nest in the tussock grass mounds and the young pups were running everywhere, practicing their barking and being playfully aggressive. Elephant and fur sealsWe did have to be careful not to get too close to the female adults but usually a strong hand clap would send them scurrying away.




King Penguin RookeryBut the biggest attraction of St. Andrews Bay was our first encounter with King Penguins. This area has the largest king penguin rookery in South Georgia with over 150,000 birds.Oakum Boys There were still some with eggs, many young chicks with their rich brown, downy feathers (aptly nicknamed the Oakum Boys), and some chicks starting to molt.



Molting king chick

We loved watching the kings strut all over the beach area in pairs and in groups of 3 or more. It looked like a scene straight out of March of the Penguins as they headed out to sea for a day of fishing. 5 Kings




To the waterAfter breakfast, we happily returned to St. Andrews for more enjoyment of this beautiful place.Gone Fishing




ReindeerThis time, we saw a herd of reindeer cross through the area. They were initially brought over by the Norwegians for their fur and meat and they have survived through the years.



Carson among the kingsWhat a great introduction to South Georgia. It is said that South Georgia rivals Africa's Norongoro Crater and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a bastion of untamed wildlife and natural splendor. Frank Todd, one of the great bird biologists said: "If God were to take a vacation on Earth, he'd take it on the island of South Georgia." So far, we would have to agree.


For more photos of St. Andrews Bay, go to St. Andrews Bay Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Ocean Harbour.


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