Eye to Eye with SealsSure, in photos they look cute and snuggly. But once you're up close to a massive seal, separated only by a few feet, one's perception suddenly changes. Antarctica is home to many species of seal, including the fur and leopard seals. Leopard seals in particular are to be respected, as they are the top land predators in the region. Easily surpassing 1,000 pounds in weight, they have front teeth that are sharp and perfectly shaped to attack and kill. Their usual diet actually consists of other seals, most notably crabeater seal pups.
There are moments of wildlife-viewing joy to be had with seals, though, especially if you find yourself hiking along Yankee Harbour. Yankee Harbour lies between Glacier Bluff and Spit Point on the southwest side of Greenwich Island and is enclosed by a curved, stone-and-gravel bar; it was known to American and British sealers as early as the 1820s. Today it is home to a massive Gentoo penguin colony, and many fur seals lounging around the stony beaches. Walking along the thin beach, you will come within just a few feet of these beautiful animals, so be curious but cautious at the same time.