Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Grytviken, South Georgia

Posted at 7:15 pm, January 7th, 2004

This morning’s trip to Fortuna Bay had less wildlife than in other spots on the island, but the few hundred fur seals, elephant seals, king penguins, and gentoo penguins that were there provided ample opportunity for photos. The gentoos were nesting on a high cliff overlooking several glaciers, and due to the remote location I was one of the few that visited the colony. After sitting amongst them for about an hour I realized that the penguins had moved in around me and were as close as a foot away.

In the afternoon we moved on to the old Grytviken whaling station, currently in operation as a British base. It was a bit sad to see even such a small sign of civilization here, but I immediately hiked up to the hills and the base was soon out of sight. Antarctic terns can now be added to the list of animals that have attacked me on this trip — the little buggers let me walk deep into where they were nesting, and then attacked in force, driving me back down out of the hills.

Also, a few observations thus far:

  • Fur seals are very grumpy, possibly because they sneeze so much.
  • Elephant seals also sneeze frequently, but are considerably more laid back.
  • When photographing penguins the importance of watching where you sit or kneel cannot be stressed enough. The stench of my hiking pants is beyond description.

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