Sailing Cruise to South Georgia
Duration : 35 days
Departure : Port Stanley / Falklands
Arrival : Port Stanley / Falklands
Price : € 16 500
Located off the Falkland Islands (about 750 miles to the east), South Georgia is one of the sub-Antarctic islands. Its difficult access makes it all the more attractive, because only a privileged few will have the chance to visit this island.
This mountainous island is a microcosm of Antarctica, and above all, it is a sanctuary for sub-Antarctic fauna. It is one of the places on the planet where you can see the most birds, penguins and marine mammals, so much so that it is difficult to land on some beaches that are invaded by animals.
Virtually all species come to breed : howler albatrosses (3.40 m wingspan), fuliginous albatrosses, petrels, royal penguins, gentoo penguins, elephant seals, sea lions… It is also a privileged site for whale watching (humpbacks, southerns), orcas and whales.
To get to South Georgia we will leave Port Stanley, on the main island of the Falkland Islands, for a crossing of about 5 days.
Weather conditions can be difficult, and you may have to wait for a good slot to set sail. This is a real expedition, which requires some effort, but will leave you with exceptional memories, as large as the challenge !
On board Marama, even if the boat is very spacious and very comfortable, you will be considered a member of the expedition, not just a tourist. You don’t have to be a navigator or a great sportsman, and if you wish, you can take the helm or take part in the manoeuvres.
It is a 35-day journey, which will allow you to completely cut yourself off from your usual worries, and immerse yourself in a new world, where animals are kings. We will be totally under our own autonomy, both in fuel and food.
MARAMA is a ship that is very well suited to this kind of expedition because she offers security, comfort and storage volume enabling us to have a great amount of autonomy.
South Georgia’s highlights
- An expedition to the edge of the Earth
- Awesome landscapes, icebergs and ice
- Animals: exceptional variety and density
- A unique human adventure, following the trail of the great explorers
A few stages of the cruise in South Georgia
Cumberland East Bay and Grytviken
Grytviken, the “capital” of the island, is a former whaling base abandoned since 1965, located in King Edward Cove. We will spend two days there to recharge the batteries after the crossing. Touring the surrounding area, including to Shackleton’s tomb, where the great explorer was buried by his fellow adventurers.
Possible excursion to Maiviken Bay, further north (possible anchorage in the bay). On the way back, we can see Sandebugten Bay, a small bay where we can observe reindeer and fuliginous albatross.
Bay of Isles
The Bay of Isles is emblematic of South Georgia. Its name comes from the islands facing it: Prion Island, Albatros Island and Skua Island. This area is a special nesting place for albatross, especially howler albatross.
The best known location in this region is Salisbury Plain, a large plateau covered with tussoc and home to the largest colony of royal penguins on the island (40,000 pairs) and countless colonies of elephant seals. In October, which is the breeding season, the elephant seals gather in real harems : the battles between males for the “property” of females can be bloody. In any case, they are very impressive to observe : the two males stand against each other, torso against torso, hitting and biting each other with all the power of their body.
St Andrews Bay
Further south the landscape becomes more and more wild. We will go to St Andrews Bay where we can observe one of the world’s largest colonies of royal penguins. Tens of thousands of these birds live here. Royal penguins are about 1 metre tall and are probably the raciest amongst the different species of penguins. Emperor penguins are certainly larger, but less elegant and are more difficult to observe. In the middle of this colony, the number of elephants and sea lions is impressive. The smell is probably as impressive as the observation… Possible excursion (depending on the possibility to cross the rivers) to a glacial lake south of the bay. The view of the bay is breathtaking.
One of the most beautiful sights in South Georgia. This bay is located at the foot of a large glacial circle, dominated by high cliffs which are themselves overlooked by their glaciers. Here, there are very large colonies of royal penguins and elephant seals.
Located at the south-eastern tip of the island, Cooper Bay is one of the few places where chinstrap penguins, gentoo penguins, royal penguins and golden gorfous inhabit the same area. Tussock, a plant native to southern and sub-Antarctic regions, is very nourishing. At the bottom of the bay, you can see fuliginous albatross nesting on the heights.
This bay was home to three whaling stations: Leith harbour, Stromness, and Husvik. They were run by Norwegians, and functioned as small towns. Unfortunately, we can no longer visit these bases (limit of 200 meters, imposed by law).