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

Gold Harbour, South Georgia Island

Posted at 11:55 pm, October 19th, 2004

It’s very late, but the politics on this boat lean left and Jerome, Mike and I were venting over the current state of affairs in the world. Getting up at sunrise may be tough tomorrow… anyhow, today was a snowy day, although it made for interesting photos and was easier to walk around in than rain. The day started with temperatures in the boat hovering in the low thirties since the stove had died overnight. After getting underway the first stop was Iris Bay for king penguins in snow flurries, as well as the usual complement of elephant seals and others.

The second stop for the day was a return trip to Gold Harbour — we have started back up the coast, so we’re revisiting a few places. This time I hung out with the elephant seals, and while none of the fights were of the scale of what I saw at St. Andrews Bay they were nonetheless impressive. At one point an elephant seal I was photographing reared up, and turning around I found myself only two feet from another of the four ton bulls; needless to say I got out of the way fast. It’s a total chess game with these animals, as they position themselves around the harems and strategically try to find ways to sneak in on the dominant bull, who is constantly checking to make sure that no one has snuck in. Micky and I agreed that sports commentators are needed to keep track of all of the action.

Mike decided that today was a good day for a swim, and donned a dry suit and went for a dip with penguins and icebergs. He made it for nearly forty minutes, which is about thirty-nine minutes longer than my California constitution would have survived. He also shared a bag of bowhead whale jerky which he apparently got from some Native Alaskans; eating whale in the midst of such vast natural richness was a bit odd, but everyone nevertheless tried a piece and the taste actually wasn’t too bad. Combined with the krill we’ve been eating we’re not the greatest of eco-tourists, but the stuff is mighty tasty.

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