Friday, November 13, 2009

Georgia, oh sweet Georgia, the whole day through

Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through, and old sweet song, keeps Georgia on my mind !
Xplore arrived to the western shores of South Georgia after a smooth and rapid voyage from Stanley in the Falkland Islands. The 714 nautical mile crossing was achieved in 4 days to the minute, with clear seas devoid of the often seen ice fields we slipped into Rosita Harbor to a snug and secure anchorage between the shore line bull kelp beds.
Just like the Ray Charles song of Georgia, every time I return there is a feeling of peace and tranquility within the high snow capped mountains that surround you on all sides. With sunshine, South Georgia is a visual wonderland, its hard not to just stare at everything. When the clouds roll in the scene changes again to another mood, and gives you a different perspective of this truly grand island that is the breeding ground to millions of animals.
The sounds which come from the sea and on the beaches, is something which remains in your mind for life, the noises that fur seals make is so distinctive that even in the dead of night you can hear the Phiff Phiff noises that they make to themselves, or the roar that male elephant seals make whether they are making themselves comfortable for the night, or fighting for their territory on the beach can bring fear to even the strongest tempered person.
The team onboard has started to settle into life in the island, no more sailing watches to be done, and meals mixed between amazing experiences on shore, everyone returns to Xplore with memory cards full of images of animals and landscapes that have been carved by thousands of years of wind, snow and ice.
My only disappointment in coming to South Georgia this year is that a very dear friend of mine is not here on board with us to share this amazing experience. Betsy Crowfoot has been such a wonderful support, encouragement and media journalist from the inception of Xplore that she decided after so many years of me writing about the south to try "Life in the freezer" on board Xplore. After working through the final stages of the winter re-fit in Uruguay Betsy sailed with us as far as Punta Arenas, but will always be on our minds as a wonderful and dear friend.

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