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Gold Harbour


54° 37′ S


35° 56′ W


This small bay is situated along the eastern end of South Georgia, 5 miles SSW of Cape Charlotte with the Bertrab Glacier at its head. The name appears to originate from early sealers and whalers and although sometimes called Anna’s Bay or Gold-Hafen, the name Gold Harbour is now well established. Gold Harbour is backed by hanging glaciers and cliffs at the base of the Salvesen Range. The rapidly retreating Bertrab Glacier has left a series of lagoons, the largest of which is lined by a wave-swept moraine marking its recent former extent. The northern entrance to the bay is protected by Gold Head and a series of bluffs and cliffs which jut out to the east. Between the bluffs of Gold Head and a steep-sided lateral moraine to the south, lies a tussac-covered glacial outwash plain, riddled with small streams and pools and the site of a large king penguin colony.


The area behind the beach is covered in tussac (Poa flabellata) and Antarctic hairgrass (Deschampsia antarctica). Large patches of burnett (Acaena spp.) herbfield cover the steep slopes encircling the site between the lateral moraine ridge and Gold Head. Sparse lowland fellfield is found along the top of the moraine ridges while the undulating plains on the plateau above Gold Head host a mixture of mainly Festuca spp. grassland, tussac, with mire and bog communities.



Confirmed breeders: elephant seal (Mirounga leonina), fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella).

Introduced land mammals: Norway or brown rat (Rattus norvegicus).


Confirmed breeders: king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus), gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), light-mantled sooty albatross (Phoebetria palpebrata), white-chinned petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis), blue-eyed shag (Phalacrocorax atriceps georgianus), snowy sheathbill (Chionis alba), kelp gull (Larus dominicanus), brown skua (Catharacta lonnbergi), Antarctic tern (Sterna vittatae georgiae), South Georgia pintail (Anas georgica georgica).


Kelp beds and a number of isolated reefs fringe the coastline around Gold Head. A few isolated rocky outcrops, some of which are partially submerged at high water, extend from the landing beach near the north end of the bay.

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