Exploring Right Whale Bay (Part 2) King Penguin Parade & Party!

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Right Whale Bay: Weather dictated all our landings and this day was no exception. A stormy morning delayed our landing until the blizzard like conditions eased. South Georgia weather was capable of rapidly changing for better or worse. Fortunately, today it would be for 'better' - much better.

The sun broke through the clouds and it appeared we would have a 'window' to go ashore. We were quick to seize the opportunity not knowing how long it would last.

After a short zodiac ride, we landed on the beach. I set out with a couple of my shipmates to explore the area away from the beach and we headed toward the foothills.

This area appeared to be sparcely populated yet we met a few relaxed young Fur seals, a few hauled out male Southern elephant seals, and then we were overtaken by sporadic herds of King penguins hurriedly hiking toward the hills. 

The King penguins pushed past us - and past a huge Southern elephant seal hauled out on the snowy plain.

The King penguins pushed past us - and past a huge Southern elephant seal hauled out on the snowy plain.

The parade pushes past - clearly on a mission.

The King penguins pushed past us - and past a huge Southern elephant seal hauled out on the snowy plain.  They were clearly on a mission.
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We crossed the middle of the open plain, battling the wind and blowing snow, we often had to backtrack to find better areas to cross the many melt water streams running through the plain.

When the wind eased, it became easier to see the blury dark pockets in the distant foothills. These were large gatherings of King penguins and - although I didn't realize it yet - this is where the parade was headed!

Naturally - as party crashers sometimes do - we felt a bit underdressed.

Naturally - as party crashers sometimes do - we felt a bit underdressed.

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The parade of King penguins continued to arrive and the party spread out from the hillside.

My shipmates decided to hike further ahead in the glacial wash so we parted. I stayed with the King penguin party and explored it from different angles.

My shipmates decided to hike further ahead in the glacial wash so we parted. I stayed with the King penguin party and explored it from different angles.

I was surprised how beautifully the Kings blended into the snowy tussock landscape.

I was surprised how beautifully the Kings blended into the snowy tussock landscape.

Here my shipmates return from their hike inland and continue back to the Hans Hansson which you can see in the distance.

I eventually pulled myself away from the party and hiked back to the other side of the valley to re-visit the main colony of King penguins.
THIS WAS THE MAIN COLONY OF KING PENGUINS - SO INTERESTING TO re-visit this area in the sunshine. 

THIS WAS THE MAIN COLONY OF KING PENGUINS - SO INTERESTING TO re-visit this area in the sunshine. 

I climbed the steep hill to see where the camera was set up by the scientists the day before in the snow storm. 

I climbed the steep hill to see where the camera was set up by the scientists the day before in the snow storm. 

The remote camera set up to monitor the main king penguin colony - and has a view of the 'famous' waterfall in the distance.

The remote camera set up to monitor the main king penguin colony - and has a view of the 'famous' waterfall in the distance.

A VIEW FroM THE HILLTOP TO THE HANS HANSSON IN THE BAY: King penguins traverse the beach and leave their footprints in the snow. the wide tracks are left by southern elephant seals - seen to the right. 

A VIEW FroM THE HILLTOP TO THE HANS HANSSON IN THE BAY: King penguins traverse the beach and leave their footprints in the snow. the wide tracks are left by southern elephant seals - seen to the right. 

From this vantage point I looked out to the Hans Hansson in the bay, with the sunshine sparkling on the blue water, the white areas where King penguins were busy stamping out tracks in the freshly fallen snow - and even a view of the 'famous' waterfall. What an amazing morning.

With wildlife encounters like these, South Georgia was already exceeding my high expectations. Much more to see in Right Whale Bay than simply a waterfall - just as I was finding there far more to South Georgia than what I had ever dreamed.
 
To be continued...

MY HAND DRAWN MAP OF RIGHT WHALE BAY

MY HAND DRAWN MAP OF RIGHT WHALE BAY

LOOKING BACK TO THE KING PENGUIN PARTY IN THE DISTANT HILLS - STARTING TO CLIMB THE HILL NEAR THE MAIN COLONY.

LOOKING BACK TO THE KING PENGUIN PARTY IN THE DISTANT HILLS - STARTING TO CLIMB THE HILL NEAR THE MAIN COLONY.