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

St. Andrew's Bay, South Georgia

Posted at 3:20 pm, January 8th, 2004

Today’s visit to St. Andrew’s Bay was supposed to be an all day affair, but near-hurricane force winds forced us to retreat in a hurry. I’m no meteorologist, but the katabatic winds were described to me as being caused by a large, still air mass cooling over the inland glaciers and then rushing out through the valleys. We had a small storm front this morning that apparently was sufficient to trap air inland, and as soon as the storm front moved out we went from no wind to eighty mile an hour gusts in less than an hour. After being recalled the last zodiac battled the waves and arrived back at the boat to find the majority of the passengers photographing or videotaping our ordeal. It honestly wasn’t that bad of a ride considering the weather, so being captured on film by nearly a hundred folks is a bit of an embarrassment.

Prior to blowing us away St. Andrew’s Bay was a neat spot. We had sun early in the morning, and I’ve hopefully got some good photos of the hundreds of elephant seals and 300,000 king penguins that were there. The number of penguins was overwhelming — they completely covered the landscape, filling practically every available nook and cranny. A herd of scrawny reindeer was also roaming about, and one of the many skuas decided to attack me for a while, so despite the early departure it was a pretty great experience.

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