The number of inhabitants is in the region of several hundred thousand, depending on time of the year. It was stunning to see even from the ship. The tiny Snowy Sheathbills were getting almost no attention.
At the landing site, female Elephant Seals defied all rules of keeping a distance, and the Kings were not any better. I think they liked using the path the humans had created. But we really did keep away from the Elephant Seal bulls. Luckily, they were in much better mood than the Fur Seal bulls. If they were around, we had a system of one taking pictures and the other one guarding and, if necessary shooing the teenage bulls away. I got quite good at that! You just make yourself big, and then let out an almighty ‘HAAA’ coming from deep down in your guts. It’s a bit like Tai Chi.
Along the way we saw several reindeer skeletons. The animals had been introduced by humans, and now they are being culled (http://www.sgisland.gs/index.php/%28h%29Welcome_to_South_Georgia).
Finally, the joy of not a flock, but a carpet of penguins. I found it overwhelming. I was, after all I had seen so far, still unprepared for this. I can deal much better with smaller numbers. But for the penguins and all the scavengers like the Snowy Sheathbills a healthy big colony is what we should wish for and help to protect!
So we said good-bye to South Georgia and started sailing past the South Orkneys to the South Shetland Islands, just off the Antarctic Peninsula.