This morning, we were supposed to land at King Haakon Bay to let our Shackleton Cross trekkers off the ship, but the weather was so bad it wasn't possible to do so. Near this bay, the rest of the ship passengers were to land at Peggotty Bluff, but the weather there was also not good. So no landings this morning and instead we made our way back north and around the other side of the saddle of Undine Harbour to Elsehul.
Elsehul was a beautiful place to land! We drove the Zodiacs up onto a little beach where we were greeted by the usual elephant and fur seals. This landing was a special one because the Grey-headed Albatross nest near here and normally the fur seals are so thick and aggressive that no one can land and see the nests. At this time of year, we are early enough to arrive before the majority of fur seals do. The nests were pretty far from the beach, so a group hiked about an hour along a strenuous route to view and photograph them. The rest of the group could take a shorter hike from the beach to see light-mantled sooty albatross nests or stay on the beach where we could watch elephant seals, fur seals, sheathbills, giant petrels, gentoo penguins, king penguins, pipits, pintails, skuas, and other petrels and albatross.
I joined Juan for his pinniped talk on the beach. At the tail end of the lesson, we witnessed elephant seal copulation (sorry, no photos). Juan also pointed out a skua stealing milk from a nursing elephant seal pup. The milk is very nutrient-rich and it's an easy take for skuas because the elephant seals usually leave them alone and they're stealing sips out from under pups.
Top photo: Fur seal pup
Middle photo: Milk-stealing skua
Bottom photo: King penguin taking a stroll along the beach (reminds me of a city street scene)