South Georgia Island? Is that in America or near Russia?
Well actually…..South Georgia Island/Islas Georgias Del Sur is a British Overseas Territory in the sub-Antarctic South Atlantic, run by the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The only way to get there is to sail! We’ll be making the 1300 km journey from the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas. While there’s no permanent human population (even the Government is based in the Falklands), it’s well populated by seals, penguins, and importantly for me, whales.
Are you camping?
Thankfully, no! The British Antarctic Survey has two bases on South Georgia. The base at King Edward Point (KEP, pictured below) is operated under contract to Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI) and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. KEP is staffed by eight BAS personnel, plus two GSGSSI Officers and their spouses, and often hosts external scientists, especially in summer. Bird Island has four BAS personnel year-round who monitor of seabirds and marine mammals.
The South Georgia whale expedition crew will be staying at Discovery House at KEP. Discovery house was built for the Discovery expeditions of 1924/1925, which were aimed at investigating the biology of Southern Ocean whales. Nearly 100 years on, we’re heading there to do see how populations of whales recovering from whaling are using the South Georgia ecosystem.
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