11.01.2007 - 13.01.2007
We have just experienced two of the most awe-inspiring days in South Georgia. It hardly seems fair that I have been able to visit such remote and fantastic places, but I’ll take it. Yesterday we were in Grytviken, South Georgia, where Ernest Shackleton’s grave is located. I had just finished reading Endurance the night before, and that really added an element of gravity and wonder to the place for me. For those of you who are not familiar with the story, in the early 1900s, Shackleton and his team headed out from South Georgia for Antarctica, with the objective of sailing to the continent and then completing the first ever trans-Antarctic expedition. However, their ship became frozen in the ice, eventually sank, and 522 days after leaving South Georgia, Shackleton and five of his men made it back. They then rescued the other 22 men who had been left behind at Elephant Island. All the men survived, and my synopsis does the story no justice at all----read the book. It’s amazing, and then to be able to visit his grave and witness a slice of what he had to overcome----it was very humbling and powerful. The day itself was also spectacular. We’ve been experiencing a lot of fog and rain, but yesterday was simply beautiful. Sunny and 50 degrees F; we couldn’t have asked for a better day.
Today we arrived at St. Andrew’s Bay, where we ran zodiac landings. So much fun! This island was spectacular because of the sheer number of penguins that were present. The colony was over half a million strong! Penguins were everywhere. There were also elephant and fur seals. Fur seals are very aggressive; small but feisty. They will charge after you, growling, and you have to clap your hands to scare them away. They also have a very infectious bite, but luckily nobody has been bitten yet!
I can’t even fully describe what I am experiencing. Suffice to say that it is beyond words.