October 27, 2005, Ducloz Head 54° 30.5' S, 36° 37' W
South Georgia Island
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Strong wind from the south pinned us down for another day. On the 26th we left Hammerstrand Bay with trepidation. This was one of the crux sections down to Ducloz Head-56 kilometers of some of the most exposed and remote coastline on the planet.
Slowly we paddled down the coast where a heaving swell created huge haystacks of whitewater over reefs and thundered in back of dreadful looking storms. The shoreline began as large glaciers slithering into the sea and soon became enormous black cliffs veined with ice. It was as though a range of jagged peaks had been scalped at their steepest and sunk into a wild seascape. The workload increased with visibility reduced to just few hundred meters.
We followed a compass bearing through a maze of brash ice leads with Cape Darnley and its booming ice cliffs on our left.
It was a dramatic day and a highlight as we crossed the half way mark, exhausted, sore, but with great satisfaction.
Diaz Cove, 54° 44.5' S, 36° 18' W
Another 35 kilometers today has us poised at Diaz cove after wind halted progress south. The large tabular bergs that lie off the cost are a constant reminder of how close we are to Antarctica, as is the cold. The transition from our dry suits to our fleece and down is a race against lost circulation and inevitably leaves us with aching fingers and numb toes.
The cold is the price for being in South Georgia so early in the season. This was essential to avoid the staggering numbers of aggressive fur seals, which would make landing impossible and will arrive very soon.
It's hard enough as it is to find a flat spot that hasn't already been claimed by the wild life.
For more on Adventure Philosophy and their adventure around South Georgia Island go to www.adventurephilosophy.com.