The second trip over almost three weeks in the Antarctic region took us first to the British Falkland Islands, which continue to be claimed by Argentina under the name Islas Malvinas even after the Falklands War.
Locals told us about their months of captivity during the Argentine occupation in 1982. Flora and fauna nevertheless make a peaceful impression. Besides the vastness of the landscape, I was impressed by the king penguin chicks and albatross settlements as well as the skeleton of a whale with its baby.
From the Falkland Islands, we continued to South Georgia at the end of November. This group of islands is also claimed by Argentina under the name Isla San Pedro or Georgia del Sur. The area is politically part of the British Overseas Territory “South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands” and is known for its overwhelming wildlife.
Neither penguins, seals nor elephant seals are shy of humans, but have a cautious curiosity that should rather be avoided for animal welfare reasons.
Only during the mating season do you have to watch out for male seals, as they meticulously defend their harem and can consider anyone who comes too close as a competitor and attack them. However, you can usually intimidate them well with energetic gestures and a high, upright gait, especially if you increase the distance.
South Georgia is also one of the areas most affected by climate change. Since 1990, the average temperature has risen by 4°C and only one-fifth of the ice that existed then remains today. In a few years, South Georgia will be ice-free. Sir David Attenborough has provided a film about South Georgia which is worth watching: https://www.gov.gs/south-georgia-a-visitors-guide/.