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Visit to St Andrews Bay, South Georgia

Posted by Anne D Jungblut on Feb 27, 2013 12:11:22 PM

For the second week of our trip to South Georgia, our plan was to sample in St Andrews Bay, which is located on the north coast of South Georgia. The only way for us to get there was to pack our bags and sampling gear and get going on a 7.5 hour hike from Sjörling Valley in Cumberland East Bay, across Lönnberg Valley and into St Andrews Bay, descending a long and steep scree slope.

 

It was quite a hike but at the end, we were rewarded with views on the massive Heaney, Cook and Buxton Glacier as well as South Georgia's largest king penguin colony, with more than 100,000 birds. The hut was also amazing with penguins and fur and elephant seals as friendly next door neighbours.

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Sjörling Valley


IMG_8466.jpgLönnberg Valley

 

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First views of St Andrews Bay with Heaney, Cook and Buxton Glaciers

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The hut in St Andrews Bay

 

Here in St Andrews Bay there were also a lot of molting penguins, and it seems that they preferably do this by standing with their feet in the cool stream waters. Because of the huge numbers of penguins, most of the streams had two or three rows of penguins lining the stream shores.

 

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Molting king penguin

                   IMG_8586.jpgPenguins along the streams in St Andrews Bay

 

While we were in St Andrews Bay, we had a lot of sampling to do. This included a visit to the heart of the penguin colony to collect soil samples. The samples will help us to  evaluate how the microbial diveristy in soils and streams that are heavily influcend by wildlife will differ to sites without penguins or seals. The analysis of the samples will also assist us in understanding how the presence of wildlife is linked to the nutrients that enter the coastal waters.

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King penguin colony in St Andews Bay

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Soil sampling in St Andrews Bay

 

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                                                                          Water sampling in St Andrews Bay

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