Experience the largest Antarctic fur seal colony in the world
Elsehul Bay on South Georgia Island is known for two things - its remarkable numbers of seals, and its remarkable number of names!
At various times, and on various maps, it has been known as Elsehul, Else Cove, Elsie Bay, Elsa Bay, Else’s Hole, and (somewhat bucking the trend) Paddock’s Cove! It’s a small bay on the northern coast of South Georgia and is only half a mile wide.
Despite its small size, it is home to the world’s largest breeding colony of Antarctic fur seals. As you arrive in the bay your ears will be ringing with the barks and cries of huge numbers of juvenile and adult seals.
Adding to the barrage are the cried from the dozens of species of seabirds that also call Elsehul Bay home, including wandering albatrosses, black-browed albatross, grey-headed and sooty albatrosses, as well as thousands of other resident breeders.
The shore here is a patchwork of tussac grass and mud - so many seals moving around makes for some tricky conditions! Depending on the time of year you visit, the aggressive males may still be in the bay, or, if the mating season is ended, they may have left, leaving the pups and females in peace.
Interesting facts about Elsehul Bay
That there are so many fur seals here today is remarkable, given that within 40 years of the first sealers arriving in the 1780s the entire population was all but wiped out. Seal fur was a valuable commodity, used to make felt which was in turn made into a huge range of clothing (including hats and coats) for which there was enormous demand. Despite this setback, once the sealers left the Antarctic fur seals came back in huge numbers, testimony to the ideal conditions this sheltered bay provides for raising their pups.
Highlights Close to Elsehul Bay
South Georgia and Scotia Sea
Snow Hill Hut
Animals in Elsehul Bay
Our trips to Elsehul Bay