Friday, October 18, 2013

Landfall: South Georgia!

by Amy Oct 18th, King Haaken Bay

Our passage from Stanley, Falklands, to South Georgia Island was completed this morning at sunrise. The mountains facing us on the southwest side of the island are remarkably big and raw; the immediate sense of the place is that it remote and powerful. During the day we've been through several weather patterns ranging from blasting wind, cloudy and snowing to sunny and spring-like. We're enjoying everyone's company and pitching in for chores to make things move along each day. The boat is well prepared and serves as a very comfortable sailing vessel/home for us.

We're presently anchored at the head of King Haaken Bay in preparation for the island traverse. The weather pattern looks favorable for Tuesday morning, when we'll have to lower the pulks (our sleds holding our gear) over the Trident pass. This means that we'll depart early on Monday in order to make our way up to the Trident by Monday night. If the weather starts to turn bad by Tuesday mid-day, we may have to retreat to the tents until it blows over but we'll be over the pass which is the most challenging part of the traverse.

We went ashore today to see the sea elephants, their pups, and some King penguins whose feathers are beautiful. They march in a row and bump into each other if the leader stops. Their calls are quite different from the penguins we spent time with in Antarctica. Surrounding us are mountains and glaciers. We scouted a route from the beach up to the snowfield where we'll begin the ascent to the Trident (Monday). Tomorrow and Sunday we'll organize our loads, sort out food and gear, and make a stash on shore to pick up early Monday morning as we make our way from the shore up to the snow. We'll be busy! The traverse will be challenging in terms of distance traveled each day on our skis hauling our pulks, but we'll keep the pace reasonable and take a break every hour to rest and make readjustments.


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