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Published: February 3rd 2019
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...
“The world is only tolerable because of the empty spaces in it – millions of people all crowded together, fighting and struggling, but behind them, somewhere, enormous, empty places. Man needs an empty space somewhere for the spirit to rest in.” Doris Lessing
I could've categorized the blog under 'South America', but that just didn't seem right. I chose the 'Oceans and Seas' category as I thought it was more fitting.
Should I be redefining continents? Why are there seven?
I entered an other-worldly land of exotics. I've visited this distant entity many times, and every time I struggle to find words that adequately suit the mood. Prehistoric perhaps?
A modern day 'Land the Time Forgot'.
The dark skies, stormy seas, ever-blowing wind, towering peaks, dazzling glaciers, and the balance of life and death at the twisted shoreline.
I feel disconnected to South Georgia - it is somewhere otherwise inaccessible - I cannot relate with it - it's so intense! Grumpy Flippers
I love calling fur seals names!
The male fur seals are generally territorial on their little patch of shore, and due to the sheer number of individuals (millions) the beaches are jammed with frisky seals, patrolling for the right to mate. They charge at other seals and at people who get a bit too close - and the seal decides what
is too close!
“Hey, Mr Grumpy Flippers.” I stare him down!
“Back-off Big Whiskers.” I point to where I want the seal to go!
“Furry Face! What’s up? Don’t you charge at me Smelly Belly”.
The name calling seems to work? The seals usually back down.
My colleague, a penguinologist, also likes to verbally attack seals. "You won't be any less of a seal if you back off! Mr Stinky Face."
Kings to the Sky
The beaches are lined with king penguins. It is hard to visualize the numbers until you face to face with half a million of them on a wild shore. The bird colonies stretch beyond the valleys and mountains to the horizon. A skyline of feathers - avian skyscrapers. A chorus, a musical. Injured, limping, unearthed bones - flesh, stench, birth and death... Lush green, flowing streams, tussocks moving - life is everywhere! It truly is a kingdom ruled by kings (Aptenodytes patagonicus
).As lonely as South Georgia may seem - you are never alone here.
Storm on the Scotia Sea
I asked the captain if the sea-state looked nasty for our crossing to the Antarctic Peninsula.
"No, no, no." Stated the captain as he gazed at the computer screen.
"Not nasty! Maybe it's horrible or terrible or something else - but not nasty."
I was not overly enthused by the outlook of the next two to three days... There were to be some decent smacks and bangs! A sandwich lunch would be served to the few individuals who would venture to the lounge, as the galley would not be operational...
Those southern seas can be fickle at times...
But there's always an albatross watching over us. Flying on eternal wings.
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