Friday, January 15, 2010

Farewell to South Georgia

15 January 2010
Godthul & Grytviken, South Georgia

It is amazing how much can be packed into one day! We began with a 4 am
wakeup call from Morten, our EL. By 4:30 am, about half of the ship's
passengers landed at Godthul. The very narrow, rocky beach required us
to carefully keep our distance from the wildlife. Nearly everyone hiked
up the hills with Don to a Gentoo Penguin colony. The colony had very
few chicks. The few remainging folks on the beach also noticed very few
fur seal pups. Researchers at South Georgia had predicted this outcome,
due to a very poor abundance of krill earlier this season. At 7 am, we
returned to the ship for breakfast, while our good Captain repositioned
the ship to Cumberland Bay.

By 9:30 am, we had disembarked the ship at Grytviken in Cumberland Bay.
First, we made our way to the small cemetery. Here, Don Doolittle said a
few words about Sir Ernest Shackleton, and we all toasted "The Boss."
Most of us visited the lovely museum, including the new exhibit of the
replica, James Caird. At the little white church, Jean Harding played
several songs on the organ and rang the church bells. The post office
did a brisk business, as this was the only place on our entire voyage
where folks could send postcards to home. Of course, we might get home,
ourselves, before the postcards arrive! One small group made a near
veritcal hike up the cliffs, led by our skillful doctor, Kate Goldberg,
and Don. Here, they had a great views of a Light-mantled Sooty
Albatross on the nest with a small chick. A light rain was falling. By 1
pm, we returned to our cozy ship, now our home. Before leaving the bay,
we took note of our first, lonely iceberg. More to come on that!

Recap was held in the bar. Morten reviewed our voyage progress to date.
All of us cheered our great forture to have such a brilliant Captain,
Alexander Pruss, and postively outstanding Expedition Leader in Morten.

We are now heading for ANTARCTICA! Fewer folks turned up for dinner,
though, as the seas are quite strong. We are experiencing the "washing
machine effect."

Albatrosses forever,
Debi Shearwater
On board Professor Multanovskiy, charter voyage

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