Salisbury Plain. A particularly stunning part of South Georgia’s generally stunning coast. South Georgia’s second-largest King Penguin colony, it seemed the Serengeti of penguins.
We went ashore with spectacular dawn light sending a gleam across towering snow-capped crags, the white line of surf, the pearliness of penguin bellies, and enriching the gold wreaths of the penguins’ plumage. Time suspended for the duration of morning penguin arrivals and bathing rituals along the shore.
I spent a couple of hours in one spot on the shore, where groups of penguins were continually coming and going and bathing in the water. For my camera, the trick was in trying to see enough to anticipate, situate, think like a penguin, and capture the action.
And after I noticed a penguin coming ashore with a large U-shaped wound, someone far down the beach noticed a swimming Leopard Seal, likely the attacker.
The brutality of life as a male elephant seal was again on display with a particularly prolonged fight that left both victor and vanquished heavily blooded.
But the enormous number of penguins and their healthy horde of big chicks affirmed and reaffirmed the sheer vitality of life, in spades.