Photo Gallery: Seals of South Georgia

The majority of Antarctic itineraries head straight through the Drake Passage to the Peninsula, but I deliberately chose one that included South Georgia.  The ‘Galapagos of the South’ did not disappoint and in fact it exceeded all my expectations. 

South Georgia possesses a wild, rugged and often inhospitable landscape and has a rich and interesting history.  But its real attraction is the abundant wildlife that calls the island home.

I was particular fond of the sometimes aggressive and intimidating Fur and Elephant Seals that co-exist on Salisbury Plains and Grytviken, and the Weddell Seal we encountered swimming in the Drygalski Fjord.

The Weddell is the most southerly seal, usually found in the Peninsula and further South.  Whilst sightings are not unheard in South Georgia and a small group is known to breed on the shores of the Drygalski Fjord, watching it swim past our zodiac on our last excursion in South Georgia felt like a changing of the guard.  It was symbolic of our next destination, Antarctica.

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This little fellow holds a special place in my heart for being one of the first Fur Seals I saw in South Georgia, residing on the shore of Salisbury Plains.

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There was no box of tissues for this seal to wipe its nose!

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At times I felt like I was part of a wildlife documentary.

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It was a bit late in the season to encounter the bulls (males elephant seals) who can weigh over 4,000 kg, but there were enough females and adolescent males in Grytviken to help us appreciate just how heavy these creatures can be.

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The seal is most beautiful as it enters or exits the sea, the water on it’s fur glistening in the sun to reveal a smooth and shiny coat.

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As I navigated my way through Grytviken I felt like I was a visitor being tolerated but carefully watched by the island’s residents.

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Zodiac landings had to be carefully planned to avoid an unwelcome greeting from a territorial seal.

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The seals are deceivingly quick and agile so it was important to always keep an eye on the ones you were walking past.

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A seal opening its mouth, whether it be for a yawn, call or growl, got the same reaction from us: a gasp, a small step back, followed by a sigh of appreciation and a little step closer with camera in hand!

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Despite their size, un-coordination on land and layers of blubber, there is something adorable and endearing about these creatures.

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com
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