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From the very first contact with Chimu, I had a great experience. Everything about the trip far exceeded any of my expectations. Besides the fact that Antarctica is the most amazing place on Earth, the trip itself was phenomenal. To the food, service, crew, expertise of the expedition team, everything was fantastic. I would highly recommend Chimu to friends and family. - Dani D
The South Georgia traverse is rated as one of the world’s most epic hikes and is right up there with the likes of the Mt Fuji ascent in Japan, the Santa Cruz Trek in Peru and the amazing Continental Divide Trail, which runs through no less than 5 US states. Yet among all these illustrious feats of physical prowess, the …READ MORE
There are five Antarctica True Seal Species. True seals differ from fur seals (or eared seals) mostly because of the different way they swim. Fur seals swim with their fore flippers and use their rear flippers to steer. True Seals on the other hand steer with their fore flippers and swim with their rear flippers. As a result fur seals have much …READ MORE
South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands may not be a travel destination you think of often, but it is a place of snow capped peaks and toddling penguins that will captivate you with its rugged beauty and test the limits of your adventure. It sits 800 miles southeast of the Falkland Islands, and more than half of the main island …READ MORE
Anyone in the know about Antarctica Cruises will tell you that you “must” include this small sub-Antarctic island, known as South Georgia, in your Antarctica Cruise itinerary. But, if you’ve undertaken an even cursory glance through pricing for these sorts of Antarctica trips you would have found that they can be considerably more expensive that your shorter, 11 day, meat …READ MORE
Being the first passengers this season to go down to Antarctica was indeed a very special feeling! We boarded the MV Ushuaia mid October in Stanley on the Falkland Islands and went off to South Georgia.READ MORE
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The weather in South Georgia can be quite variable, with rain and snow possible at any time of the year. The only time for South Georgia travel is during the southern hemisphere’s summer. The main season runs from mid-October to end-February, when the average temperature at sea level is around 7.5°C. Early in the season, elephant and fur seals establish their breeding territories and the spring wildflowers are blooming. From late October to November elephant seals are actively courting. South Georgia’s king penguins lay their eggs in November and king penguin chicks from the previous season can be seen in the rookeries. Seal pups are present on the beaches in December and January and from mid-December to January the first penguin chicks emerge and fur seals breed. By February the young fur seals are quite playful and penguin colonies are active.
The weather in South Georgia can be quite variable as the island experiences a cold Oceanic climate, classified as a polar climate. Sun can quickly be followed by violent storms, with rain and snow possible at any time of the year. The average maximum summer temperature at sea level is around 7.5°C dropping to 0°C in winter but average temperatures vary widely depending on the exact location in the region. Winter minimum temperatures are typically between -5°C and -10°C. South Georgia receives an annual precipitation of 1,500 millimetres mainly falling as snow or sleet, possible during any month. Westerly winds blow intermittently throughout the year, giving the sheltered eastern side of the island a more pleasant climate. The highest recorded temperature was 28.8°C, at Grytviken on the eastern side, whereas Bird Island on the western side has only recorded a maximum of 14.5°C. The eastern side is subjected to colder winter temperatures, with Grytviken recording -19.4°C. The seas surrounding South Georgia are cold year round due to the proximity of the Antarctic Current. Although the waters usually remain free of pack ice in winter, thin ice may form in sheltered bays and icebergs are common. Sea temperatures rise to around 4°C in early April, dropping to 0°C in late August.
South Georgia has the greatest concentration of wildlife on the planet. It lies in the midst of a vast marine eco-system, with penguins, seals and other wildlife fishing across areas that cover thousands of kilometres before returning to the region. More than 30 million birds nest and rear their chicks in South Georgia. The island is home to around half the world’s population of macaroni penguins, grey-headed albatrosses, northern giant petrels, white-chinned petrels, Antarctic prions and southern elephant seals and most of the world’s population of Antarctic fur seals. King penguins number in their hundreds of thousands. Birds: Over 80 species of birds have been recorded in South Georgia, with over 30 species breeding on the island, the majority being sea birds. The South Georgia pipit is the only endemic bird on the island. Amongst the breeding birds are macaroni, king, gentoo and chinstrap penguins; wandering, grey-headed, black-browed and light-mantled sooty albatrosses; Antarctic and fairy prions; blue, Cape, snow and Wilson storm petrels, South Georgia shags, yellow-billed sheathbills and speckled teals. Whales & Dolphins: Amongst the whales found in the region are blue, southern right, sei, fin, humpback, killer (orca) and southern bottlenose. Hourglass dolphins frequent South Georgia’s waters. Seals: Antarctic fur, elephant, leopard and Weddell seals are found in South Georgia. The southern elephant seal and Antarctic fur seal breed in significant numbers on the island’s beaches and leopard seals can be seen all year around.
There are no native inhabitants in South Georgia, but there is an average population of 30 people who are not considered to be permanent residents. There is a small settlement at Grytviken with South Georgia’s government administrative centre and fisheries research facility being located at King Edward Point. The British Antarctic Survey operates two bases in South Georgia at King Edward Point and Bird Island, permanently manned by scientists and support staff. Bird Island’s year round complement of British Antarctic Survey personnel undertake long-term monitoring of seabirds and marine mammals.
Antarctica tourism has existed since 1957 and is subject to the Antarctic Treaty and Environmental Protocol and self-regulated by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). Due to the concern of the potential adverse effect on the environment and ecosystems caused by the influx of tourists, there are now strict landing limits and closed or restricted zones on the more frequently visited sites. South Georgia operates a Tourism Management Policy whose primary objective is to enable visitor access, whilst ensuring the continued protection of the Territory’s unique environment, including its flora, fauna and cultural heritage. This is achieved by managing all visitor landings and ensuring that all visitors adhere to legally enforced guidelines that include the following: Do not disturb mammals or birds and always maintain a respectful distance Stay on the edge of animal groups, approaching slowly and quietly. Do not use flash photography and retreat immediately if wildlife shows any sign of being disturbed Never disturb seals in breeding colonies or territorial seals Do not offer food to any animal Always rigorously adhere to all biosecurity measures Be alert whilst ashore, in particular in the tussock grass, to avoid stumbling on a fur seal or a nesting bird, or causing damage to seabird burrows Do not touch or attempt to touch any animals
South Georgia is a collection of islands in the South Atlantic Ocean, situated nearly 1,400 kilometres southeast of the Falkland Islands. The group is made up of the main South Georgia Island and surrounding islands including Bird Island, Welcome Islands and Cooper Island. The main island of South Georgia is approximately 170 kilometres long and between 2 and 40 kilometres wide, occupying an area of 3,755 square kilometres, more than half of which is permanently covered with ice. The island is mountainous with 11 peaks rising above 2,000 metres. Mt Paget rises to 2,934 metres and is the highest point on the island The largest glacier is Fortuna Glacier
The island of South Georgia was first sighted by London merchant Antoine de la Roche in 1675
Captain James Cook circumnavigated the island and made the first landing in 1775, claiming South Georgia for the UK and naming it “Isle of Georgia” after King George III
Norwegian, Carl Anton Larsen, established the first land-based whaling station and first permanent habitation at Grytviken in 1904
The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over the South Sandwich Islands in 1908
South Georgia was a base for whaling and sealing industries throughout the 20th century
In April 1916, Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition became stranded on Elephant Island, 1,300 kms southwest of South Georgia
0n 10th May 1916, Shackleton plus 5 of his men landed at King Haakon Bay on South Georgia, Shackleton, Crean and Worsely then trekking across the island to reach help at Stromness whaling station
Whaling and sealing operations ceased in the 1960’s and the whaling stations were abandoned
The Argentine claim over South Georgia contributed to the 1982 Falklands War, during which Argentine forces briefly occupied the island
The territory of "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands" was formed in 1985
Food on board cruise and expedition ships is of a very high standard - plentiful, tasty and nutritious. Breakfasts and lunches tend to be buffet style, with dinners generally served to your table and featuring 3 and sometimes 4 courses. The range of food is diverse with professional chefs preparing a wide selection of excellent dishes. Beverages such as tea, coffee and hot chocolate are included whereas soft drinks and alcohol must be paid for. Most ships have very well stocked bars and a good selection of wines.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
Shackleton’s Epic: Recreating the World’s Greatest Journey of Survival by Tim Jarvis
An Unsung Hero: The Remarkable Story of Tom Crean by Michael Smith
Shackleton by Margery & James Fisher
The Quest for Frank Wild by Angie Butler
South: The Endurance Expedition by Ernest Shackleton
Antarctic Oasis: Under the Spell of South Georgia by Tim & Pauline Carr
The official currency of South Georgia is the pound sterling (GBP).
English is the official language of South Georgia as it is a British Overseas Territory.
A high level of fitness is not necessary for Antarctica cruises to South Georgia, but you need to be in good health as although there is generally a doctor on board the ships, you are a long way from any other medical assistance. The majority of activities are focused around shore excursions and zodiac cruising and so you need to be agile and able-bodied enough to climb into and out of the inflatable zodiacs from both the ship and the shore. On shore landings you may need to negotiate uneven and slippery ground. Shore excursions generally involve some walking.
All of our tours are 100% tried and tested to ensure that when you travel with us, you are doing so in a controlled and safe environment with trained experts. We consistently monitor weather conditions and will always provide you with the best possible adventure without risk of injury to you or the vessel. While some landings and activities may need to be rescheduled or cancelled due to weather, every effort is made to have a contingency plan should such conditions become a reality during your expedition. Chimu have been the experts in Antarctic travel for well over 10 years and use our vast experience and knowledge when picking the vessels we sell to provide you with an adventure that is unforgettable for all the right reasons.
Extreme care should be taken in the proximity of seals (especially those in breeding colonies) and particularly fur seals from November to January, when they can be extremely aggressive
The buildings and jetties of the old whaling stations at Leith, Stromness, Husvik and Prince Olav Harbour are in a dangerous state of disrepair and so it is forbidden to approach within 200 metres
A visa is not required to visit South Georgia but all visitors must be in possession of a valid passport. All passports must be presented to the Government Officer (Immigration Officer) on arrival at Grytviken. If your Antarctica cruise is departing from an Argentinian port such as Ushuaia, no pre-arranged visa is required to enter Argentina by citizens of the UK, Australia, Ireland, European Union, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and the USA. Other nationalities should check with your closest Argentinean embassy or consulate. Australian, Canadian and USA citizens must pay a "reciprocity fee" to enter Argentina. This is not a visa, but a fee based on the fees that Argentinean citizens pay for visas to these countries. The fee must be paid online and in advance for arrival at all airports.
Most Antarctica cruises that include South Georgia on their way to or from the Antarctic Peninsula, spend 3 to 5 days exploring South Georgia. Those cruises that feature South Georgia travel only typically spend at least 7 or 8 days in the region. Possible landing sites and excursions include Elsehul Bay, Salisbury Plain, Prion Island, Fortuna Bay, St. Andrews Bay, Gold Harbour, Drygalski Fjord, Cumberland Bay and the old whaling stations at Stromness, Leith, Husvik and Grytviken.