Our guide to the cruising sites of South Georgia

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These are the sites around South Georgia that are visited by expedition cruise ships. Select a site from the list to find out more about it below.

Cooper Island

South Georgia

Cooper Island is a small grassy island, barely a couple of miles long, on the north side of the entrance to Drygalski Fjord at the southeast end of South Georgia. It reaches 416 metres (1,365 ft) at its highest point: well above the snow line at these latitudes.

Cooper Island is South Georgia's only Special Protection Area. It is home to large numbers of sea birds including Snow petrels, Antarctic prions, 12,000 pairs of Black-browed albatross, Chinstrap penguins and 20,000 Macaroni penguins.

The island also has a number of fur seals and this is one of the few places where they have not been hunted by humans.

Cooper Island was discovered in 1775 by Captain Cook's expedition and named after one of his officers. A navigable channel, Cooper Sound, separates Cooper Island from the coast of South Georgia where there is a small bay, Cooper Bay, that is home to the only Macaroni Penguin colony that is reasonably accessible by boat.

Macaroni penguins are a notoriously difficult to view, so this is a good opportunity to see them well. If a landing at Cooper Bay is possible access to the Macaroni colony involves climbing up a steep, tussock-covered slope, littered with Fur seals. Chinstrap penguins are also prevalent at Cooper Bay.

Ships that visit Cooper Island