Wind

Today we had another cracker of a day in South Georgia with a landing at Ocean Harbour with a long walk over rolling green fields with reindeers streaming past. It’s lovely to watch the reindeer floating over the rough-hewn landscape of the island but also a bit of a startling reminder that humans have changed the face of this jewel forever – the reindeers along with rats and mice and other invasive species are creating havoc with the natural order of things here and really should be removed. Certainly they add a touch of wonder to the island but at the end of the day they really don’t belong.

After Ocean Harbour we sailed around to St Andrews Bay which is home to the largest King Penguin colony on the planet… over 600 000 penguins are in residence here and they create a clamour and a smell and a visual feast that really has to be seen to understand. The landing is an assault on all senses and I always leave the bay with a sense of wonder at the vibrancy of life down here in the Southern latitudes. This time I had an extra sense of wonder instilled by the violent winds rolling off the glacier above the colony – we landed in 35knts of wind which is a bit hard under any conditions, but as the afternoon wore on the wind steadily rose until the maximum gusts of 94 knts started pushing the zodiacs around little toys. I drove into blinding wind-blown spume for two hours, landed on beaches I couldn’t see due to the sand blowing into my eyes and ended up with one small dry patch located somewhere behind my left knee … until yet another wave crashed over and ensured that I was utterly soaked from head to foot.

I limped back to the ship at the end of the day feeling cold, exhausted and physically sore …  but with a huge grin on my face none the less …

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