October 25: South Georgia Expedition Update
Here, view the journal entries of the Adventure Philosophy team as they attempt the first circumnavigation of South Georgia Island.
October 25, 2005, Holmestrand Bay, 54° 14′ S, 37° 15′ W
South Georgia IslandClick here for a gallery of images of the island.
For the last two days we have battled bitterly cold Southwest headwinds from our camp at Coal Cove in Undine Harbour to our current position at Holmestrand Bay. After leaving Coal Cove, the 26km crossing of Ice Fjord was as the name suggests—icy. Every paddle stroke was an effort as we muscled the kayaks through the breaking waves and the wind sent spray crashing over our heads. In the sub-zero temperatures our jackets and kayaks quickly became encased in ice, fingers and noses turned numb. We felt worse for wear as we paddled into the protection of Elephant Cove—an amazing amphitheatre of ice cliffs and buttresses and home to nesting Gentoo Penguins. The temperature was minus four degrees Celsius and I’m sure three wet, shivering figures fumbling with their tent looked a pitiful sight to the wallowing Elephant Seals.
Yesterday we made our second major crossing passing King Haakon Bay – where Shackleton landed after his historic boat journey escape from Antarctica. In a relentless freezing Southwest wind the miles were hard won, made more challenging by the maelstrom of confused waves off Cape Nunez. As we rounded the point the full South West coast revealed itself—a dark and foreboding proposition. The last challenge to our ten-hour day was landing at Holmestrand with icebergs and thick brash blocking the beach.
We’re paying the price of traveling this spectacular coast, with aching arms and backs, and frost-nipped toes. The temperature hasn’t risen above zero degrees Celsius in the last three days and with the wind chill, it’s frighteningly cold.
Despite the trials it’s good to know that something’s don’t change—Graham continues to amaze Jonesy and Marcus with his ability to lose large objects in a small tent, Jonesy has, of course, already broken Marcus’s kayak and Marcus likes to pretend his breakfast cooking duties don’t exist.
We’re poised for a crux leg of our journey—the long, exposed coast to Ducloz Head.
For more on Adventure Philosophy and their adventure around South Georgia Island go to www.adventurephilosophy.com.