Subject: Day 15, March 5 – South Georgia Island
Sabrina, thanks for letting me know about Linda’s mom. Dad, thanks for letting us know all is well. Judy, just thanks and more thanks!
We awoke this morning as the ship was entering Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island, and we cruised to the Risting glacier face. We did see part of the glacier break off and drop into the sea; however we were not quick enough to capture in a photograph. Antarctica is such a vast, desolate, rugged, foreboding, and indescribably beautiful place. Antarctica is gorgeous when looking at it through our cabin window and unbelievably cold and harsh when photographing it from on deck. After cruising Drygalski Fjord, the ship is now repositioning to Cooper Bay where we are supposed to do a Zodiac landing with the always present caveat “weather, wind, and fur seals permitting.” South Georgia talks of its catatonic winds, which are hurricane force winds that blow off of the glacier downward. We have been extremely fortunate so far and have been able to make every scheduled landing. We have numerous outstanding photographs of penguins and seals, because they follow you and pose, but this morning I was able to get an outstanding picture of an Albatross in flight. With their 6 foot plus black wing span they are more glider than bird and remind me of a U-2 in flight.
We did make the Cooper Bay landing and it was a “wet” wet landing as water was coming over the bow of the Zodiac on the way in before we jumped into the water to get off the Zodiac. Remember we are doing this in 2 degrees Celsius with a brisk wind. There were King Penguins on shore when we landed along with a large number of baby seals and one large elephant seal. They babies were all so cute; too bad they grow up to be so nasty. We also climbed a very steep hill, crawled through deep mud and penguin guano, through tall shape grass and found a colony of Macaroni Penguins. Good thing they hose us off when we get back on the boat. Weather changes here by the minute and by the time we returned to the boat the seas had flattened out but the large rolling swells still made getting off the Zodiacs and onto the gangway sporting. This afternoons landing will be at Gold Harbour.
We did our afternoon landing at Gold Harbour where there were Elephant Seals, who thankfully were taking naps, and 50,000 King Penguins all wanting to have their picture taken. What an unbelievable and amazing site. One King Penguin just kept following us all over the beach.
More to follow,
Tom & Holly