Friday, April 8, 2016

The Arrival

It made the writerly side of this sailor-biologist ever so happy to see how many comments my text-only posts from South Georgia generated.  Pictures are swell and everything, but they're useless for telling a story.

But, this sailor-biologist with a writerly side also has a weakness for photography.  So now that we are back in the world of the internet, I will backtrack a bit and share some of our images from South Georgia.

We have some good ones.
Elias with hourglass dolphins, on the edge of the Scotia Sea
It's been a long time ago now - back in February - that we set out from the Falklands on the 800 mile or so passage to South Georgia.  It's hard to remember at this remove of time, but I'm quite certain that we approached that passage with a bit of trepidation.

We bided our time and waited for a weather window that we really liked.  And we were rewarded with the perfect conditions for the trip - gentle downwind sailing nearly the whole way, with long spells of sunshine.  Certainly not the conditions that you might fear in the darker moments of planning a family jaunt south of the Polar Front.

Arrival - wandering albatross and ice off the northwest end of South Georgia
First glimpse of South Georgia.  If the crew is sightseeing from the bow, you know it's calm
Our blessed good luck continued on our arrival day.  High pressure, blue skies, the whole works.

The first views of Antarctic icebergs were suitably impressive.

The regulations hold that no one is allowed ashore until clearance has been made at Grytviken, halfway down the island.  We expected that the prevailing westerlies would make it difficult for us to get back to the northwestern side of the island from Grytviken, so we decided to do a little sightseeing from the dinghy before we checked in.

Our first stop was at Elsehul, the most westerly anchorage on the island.  Conveniently, we got in there in time to wait out a gale.

Approaching Elsehul 
Elsehul was a great first taste of the riches of South Georgia.  Even after the peak of the breeding season for the pinnipeds and birds, the beaches were packed with life.  We were able to hang off in our dinghy, only a few meters from the beach, while all that wildlife went on with its business.

Grey-headed albatross

A typical scene at Elsehul.  Antarctic fur seals, southern elephant seals, king penguins and gentoo penguins.

In his element.  His love for the wildlife is one of the great pleasures that I now take in our sailing life.
Fur seal pups 
King penguins 
Northern giant petrel
Finally, a picture of elephant seals from Elias.  His wildlife photography can take on a wonderful air of abstraction...
More to come soon.

1 comment:

  1. It is SOOO great to see these unbelievable opportunities you have given the boys - and to hear that (Elias in particular) they are not being taken for granted. Fantastic !! - Jon & Barb