South Georgia, together with the South Sandwich Islands, is a British overseas territory in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. There is no native population on the island. The present inhabitants are the British Government Officer, the deputy postmaster, scientists and support staff for the British Antarctic Survey. Captain James Cook circumnavigated the island in 1775 and made the first landing. He claimed the territory for Great Britain and named it the Isle of Georgia after King George III. Throughout the 19th century, South Georgia was a sealers’ base as well as a whalers’ base beginning in the 20th century, until whaling ended in the 1960s. Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill fated imperial trans-Antarctic expedition became stranded on Elephant Island some 800 miles south-west of South Georgia. Shackleton and five companions set sail in a small boat, the James Caird, to summon help. They arrived in King Haakon bay and went on to cover the remaining 22 miles overland to reach help at the whaling station at Stromness.
The ‘South Atlantic Sanctuary’ documentary commences at Cape Rosa, where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men first landed on South Georgia. Aboard the small cruise vessel the ‘Sea Spirit’, there follows a circumnavigation of the island. The ship makes numerous anchorages along the north-east coastline to allow landings at various bays to see the magnificent wildlife and some of the old whaling stations. Probably no other island or place on this planet has such an abundance of sea birds and other mammals. King penguins breed on the sub-Antarctic islands at the northern reaches of Antarctica. On South Georgia there are just thousands of these magnificent penguins. The total population exceeds two and half million. In addition, there are elephant seals, gentoo penguins and the wonderful wandering albatrosses. The scenery is just fantastic. The documentary concludes with an eight mile voyage up the Drygalski fjord. Here, there are breathtaking views of glaciers as they flow into the head of the fjord.
John Myers Photographic invites you to experience South Georgia. This is an island for wildlife. It is so remote that few tourists and travellers ever venture down here. Tracing the footsteps of Shackleton from Fortuna Bay to Stromness, was an unforgettable experience. It has been a privilege to make this circumnavigation of South Georgia. An inhospitable place for man, it becomes a sanctuary for the amazing wildlife.
Running time is approximately 45 minutes.
Tags: South Georgia, Antarctica