South Georgia, UK - And on to Ushuaia, Argentina

An epic journey from the South Shetland Islands to the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia and back to Ushuaia in Argentina. A trip to see a unique eco-system and to experience the stormy sea of the South Atlantic.

South Shetland Islands 2 Ushuaia

South Georgia, 24th December

We just passed Elephant Island. Now we’re again on open sea. 2 days to reach the world-famous South Georgia Islands.

Next morning: day 1 to South Georgia. Weather is surprisingly nice. Bright sunshine, sometimes some fog.

We’re invited to visit the bridge. Learn how to sail this ship in case the captain gets another job during this trip.

Of course, there’s not too much else to admire on the open sea. Just a number of huge icebergs passing by.

Thus, in the evening time for a couple of beers, a few glasses of wine, and the opportunity to exchange all kinds of important and useless information with other guys hanging around.

Day 2 to South Georgia. The day we have to prepare for this island. As it’s very isolated from the rest of the world and habits a unique fauna, the British guys governing this lost place try hard to avoid all contamination with any seeds, soil, or whatever from any other place in the world. Thus, today another cleaning ceremony.  The staff inspects all outer clothing. Especially the boots. It looks like they’re incredibly afraid of the British inspector coming on board before the 1st excursion to South Georgia.

Then they inform us again about behavior on the island. You know, the usual stuff: don’t come with your dog, don’t steal too many penguins, and don’t start planting potatoes at the bird’s breeding places.

Day 3: early morning we arrive in South Georgia. Beautiful weather as we sail northwards along many snow-covered mountains and glaciers reaching the sea.

Before we can go on land, we need to sail to South Georgia’s proud capital – Grytviken. No doubt, you can’t compare it to New York, Tokyo, or Paris. Still, they have a post office and a museum. And it’s the place where we pick up the inspectors coming on board our ship to state that everybody has properly cleaned the boots. 

Only after this ritual, do we enter the Zodiacs. To Jason Harbor. A bay a little north of the island’s capital.

After a short ride, we’re at the beach. Amid 1000s of seals and King Pinguins.

A short ride with the Zodiac along the beach.

Then back to the ship…

… for lunch. For the 1st time outside on the sundecks. 

Then on to nearby Ocean Harbor. The next place to land.

In the afternoon we reach Ocean Harbor. Apart from being famous for the numerous animals, the place is a well-known as a former whaling station.

On the way to the beach, we pass the Bayard, a whaling ship peacefully rusting away at the shore.

Arriving at the landing site, it’s pretty difficult to find a way thru all these seals sneaking around, sleeping, or just fighting each other. Some of them pretty aggressive to visitors.

The remnants of the former whaling station. Now inhabited by seals.

Back to the ship – to admire a beautiful sunset.

The next morning. Weather is much better than predicted. Instead of stormy wind and rain – just some clouds. Thus, we’re ready for the next landing at Moltke Harbor.

As usual in South Georgia, an area heavily populated by seals and King Penguins. But also, a colony of Gentoo Penguins

Time to get back to the ship. This afternoon we’ll land at South Georgia’s most famous spot: Gold Harbor. The beach with 10 000s of King Penguins

In the afternoon we approach Gold Harbor. Weather doesn’t look too bad. Just incredibly windy. Unfortunately, so windy that no landing is possible. Driving with the Zodiacs simply seems to be too dangerous for us innocent passengers. Maybe the wind would simply blow us out of the dinghies.

It looks like they can’t find an alternate more protected place for a landing.  Especially as weather conditions are deteriorating.

Finally, the ship simply drives to the southernmost part of South Georgia. And we’re invited to admire the view from the deck. Of course, a situation not exactly matching everybody’s expectations.

In the evening we learn that tomorrow we’ll just have one other landing at South Georgia’s proud capital of Grytviken. Then we should as quickly as possible head home – to Ushuaia some 2000km away.

Of course, this information leads to heavy protests. Everybody expected 2 more landings tomorrow. Nevertheless, the program of the whole cruise is formulated so vaguely that we’ll surely not get a refund of 90% due to the crew’s decision.

Whatever, their arguments are strong headwinds against us, an even stronger ocean current, and an uncomfortable swell leading to a reduced speed of the ship. Still, all are a bit unhappy that we can obviously not visit a site with a really great number of King Penguins.

Ushuaia, 30th December

Day 3 in South Georgia. Pretty nice weather, still strong wind. The ship anchors just off South Georgia’s proud capital of Grytviken. Probably the only capital without 1 single permanent inhabitant. Well, to be precise it’s rather the administrative center of this British Overseas Territory – probably because there’s a post office.

Just a couple of houses, a few shipwrecks, some military barracks of the British army, and the installations of a former whaling station.

The latter converted into a kind of an open-air museum.

It takes some time to land. Wind is so strong that the ship has to find a protected position to make sure everybody will safely get on the Zodiac.

Arriving in Grytviken some time to explore the rusty installations of the whaling station, and some wrecked ships – again guarded by numerous seals and a few penguins.

Finally, a short visit to Shackleton’s grave. Seems to be a very instagrammable place.

Then back to the ship. Yeah, that was our very last landing.

Just remains the 3-days-trip back to Ushuaia.

Late afternoon the very last glimpse of South Georgia’s mainland. We’re in the fog again. The sea gets considerably rougher.

The next morning, we have to get up pretty early. At 6am the ship passes the famous Shag Rocks. True, just a few rocks forming some islets belonging to South Georgia. They’re famous for their huge bird colonies.

In the evening some interesting news:  the weather forecast. For the next 24h, we’ll have even heavier wind and a swell of 5 – 6 m. Of course, also the prediction that the ship will definitely be swaying a little bit.

Part of the night we have the impression to be on a roller-coaster.

The next day is not much calmer. Not many passengers are seen, and the restaurant remains more or less deserted.

Only in the evening, the weather improves a bit. Wind decreases and the swell as well. Some life returns on board.

Our 3rd day on the way to Ushuaia. Weather has changed completely. Sun, little wind, calm sea. The way we like it. A day to hang around.

Then the surprise: a special announcement from the Captain is announced for 2pm. Of course, we’re sure he’ll tell everybody that our arrival is delayed by some weeks due to infinite strikes of the staff. 

Well, the guy prepares carefully everybody for whatever he has to announce. Finally, we know it. We’re delayed by some hours due to bad weather. Instead of 7am tomorrow, we’ll leave the ship somewhen in the evening – should all his predictions come true. Just to make it better he also explains to us that for this night and tomorrow another heavy storm is expected.

Of course, the package holidayers are in utter confusion. As they have booked each’n’every hour of their trip they probably need hours to reschedule their onward trip.

We’re not too concerned. Just have to make sure that Prado can leave the parking in Ushuaia whenever we’ll arrive.

In the evening the Captain’s farewell cocktail. A few blinis and some drinks.

Then we have the pleasure to enjoy another night on our roller-coaster.

Next morning: we’re effectively approaching Beagle Channel. Just a few hours away. Thus, time to admire all the waves passing by – now 7 – 8 m high. Winds up to 140 km/h. In our cabin, we sometimes have the impression to sail in a submarine.

Early afternoon we finally reach the channel. The sea gets considerably calmer. Just the wind remains.

Later, approaching Ushuaia there’s even some sunshine. 

By 6pm we finally arrive. Just 11h late. Who cares – except the shipping company and these guys eager to fly back to mummy the same evening.

To avoid an immediate end of the story – currently, the wind is too strong for the ship to moor. It’s just some 10m away from the dock, then it has to turn away. To anchor some km away at a safe place.

What the hell. By 8pm we’re informed that they will get us off board with a small catamaran. Probably not because they think we are bad consumers of their stock of beer’n’wine. But because they are scheduled to return to Antarctica within a few hours. On a new cruise. You know – business.

By 9pm we’re in this kind of boats you use for harbor tours. On the way to the dock.

To the parking of the travel agency. Waking up Prado, and then up to our guest house high above Ushuaia.

To have a couple of beers with Conny’n’Simon – the guys we meet every time we’re on a ship for more than a few hours. To celebrate the 7th continent.

Well, that’s it for this post. We’re back in Ushuaia – again the end of our trip from Maseru 2 Ushuaia.

Now, we could definitely take the plane back to Swizzyland. We would even not have the threat of auntie Julie presenting us these woolen socks for x-max. For this, it’s simply too late.

Nevertheless, the title of our blog has slightly changed. we completed it by …to Ushuaia – and Beyond.

Thus, please just wait for our next post to learn what the hell that may mean. In the meantime keep your jealousy.



The Seventh Continent, Antarctica
On the Way to Carretera Austral, Argentina