Monday, 23 January 2012

Cooper Bay - 21/1/2012

Cooper Bay 21/1/2012 – morning landing
There were flakes of snow on deck this morning, and our passage along South Georgia’s coast was characterised by sightings of increasingly large ice-cubes in the water, bergs bobbing on the horizon and immense glaciers that forced the mountainous terrain to part and swept like giant pistes towards the coast, before concluding in luminous-blue cliff faces that crumbled, almost chalk-like, into the crashing surf below.

The M/S Expedition cruises past luminous Antarctic glaciers

Our morning landing was made at Cooper Bay, to the far Eastern tip of South Georgia. This was macaroni territory, but these dumpy little penguins – who closely resemble the rockhoppers – offer far less accessible viewing, in comparison to the Kings. We scrambled up a rocky slope, dodging fur seals and blubber slugs, clinging to thick tufts of tussock grass as we heaved ourselves over the hummocks so that we could peer down onto the Macaroni colony.

I can see you! - Macaroni penguins hide in the tussock grass

Sleepy fur seal at Cooper Bay

Macaroni penguins at Cooper Bay

Macaroni's live on the cliff top at Cooper Bay
After a spectacular viewing and safe descent, we boarded the M/S Expedition again and travelled up some of South Georgia’s the narrow fjords to gaze in awe at steep-sided gorges and gigantic glaciers, But before embarking on our two day voyage across the Scotia Sea to the South Shetlands and Elephant Island, my companion Sally and I decided to mark our departure of South Georgia with a polar plunge. We stripped to our swimming costumes and leapt into the near-frozen waters, which petrified our vocal chords and turned our toes glacier-blue. Luckily, the M/S Expedition has a sauna, which we had made certain was turned right up before we made the splash.

The M/S Expedition journeys up narrow fjords to find immense glaciers

My first polar plunge!

Still alive after the Antarctic freeze!

This blog-post forms part of a series of adventures experienced on-board the M/S Expedition in January 2012, whilst on an Antarctic Cruise - The Spirit of Shackleton - courtesy of Gadventures

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