Shag Rocks

It takes about 2.5 days to sail from the Falklands to South Georgia. Most of that is at open sea, with usually some cool seabirds around the ship. But in the afternoon of the second day, things change a little. More birds, more marine mammals (both cetaceans and fur seals) and then, suddenly, there they are: the Shag Rocks. Some small islands not too far away from South Georgia (but not part of it). Most of the sea between the Falklands and South Georgia is deep, but close to the Shag Rocks, it gets shallower again. Because of this, there is an upwelling of nutrient-rich water in this area, resulting in a lot of food for birds and whales.  For us, this is an excellent break after two days at open sea.

South Georgian Shag in flight

And the name, Shag Rocks? Well, one of the inhabitants of these small islands are the South Georgian Shags. Not real seabirds, they are more coastal birds, we don’t see them at open sea. But this close to land, they often pass by the ship, allowing us to have a look at their bright blue eyes and funny yellow patch on their bill.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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