South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands overseas territory, United Kingdom
South Georgia is a subantarctic island, which is the largest one in its archipelago. The island is situated in the southern Atlantic Ocean and is considered to be the overseas territory of Great Britain. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are under the supervision of the local government of the Falkland Islands.
The oceanic island of South Georgia was explored and placed on the map by the famous English navigator James Cook in 1775. South Georgia is a rocky island of volcanic origin where a lot of tundra thickets and fields grow, and mount peaks are covered with eternal glaciers. The subantarctic climate is reflected in cloudy weather and strong winds. In February which is among the warmest months here, the temperature rises up to + 5 °C. Rugged coastline is a habitat for penguins, seals and sea lions. An uninhabited Annenkov Island which is also part of the archipelago is a unique place protected by UNESCO: Wandering Albatrosses nest there.
Between the 18th and 19th centuries, seal hunters organised several settlements on the island and in the 20th century the biggest whaling industry centre was opened here. Due to the tough climatic conditions there’re no constant local citizens on the island. Only meteorologists, fishermen and researchers live here from time to time. The small town of Grytviken is an administrative centre of the island. The number of the citizens here hardly ever reaches 50 people.
South Georgia can be a destination for extreme trip lovers. But the wild nature of the island is also worth to be seen. A view of nesting of an incredible number of birds and rookeries of marine animals on the ocean coast surrounded by scenic fjords and glaciers can impress even an experienced traveller. Among other sights of the island there is The Museum of South Georgia, which depicts the history of the archipelago’s exploration, an old cemetery of polar researchers and ex-whaling bases.
To get to the island is a hard challenge, but, nevertheless it’s real. From the city of Stanley situated on the Falkland Islands an ice-class vessel holds a three-day transition to the shores of South Georgia. A visit to the islands can also be included into some routes of cruise ships.