Antarctica Adventure - 2002

Pictures of South Georgia in winter at the museum show a completely different world from what we were seeing totally white except where the wreckage of the whaling station and the few occupied buildings stick out of the snow. Temperatures would be much fiercer as well. However, maybe the winter world had its compensations in keeping down the odors of the station and allowing the men more rest from physical activity. It must be truly beautiful in its pristine whiteness but even so a little forbidding. We saw some forlorn king penguins standing about in little clots, rather morosely finishing up their molting. Strange patterns of fluff stuck out from their usually immaculately clean and smooth feathers so that they looked unkempt and bulky. The old feathers apparently are pushed out by the emerging new ones so it doesn’t help them to try to rub or pluck the molting ones off. So the poor birds just have to be patient even though they are hungry as they cannot go into the water in this condition. They looked extremely bored. We got back on board Hanseatic in a slight drizzle for a before lunch meeting with the two couples who “own” South Georgia. They brought all the souvenirs and items we passengers had purchased in the museum gift found ways to play when on shore. They also consented to each give us a little talk about their lives on the island. One of the things we have been impressed with is how small the Antarctic community of humans really is. When these folks meet one another in these unlikely spots, they are genuinely happy and pick up conversations as though it had been only yesterday when they last talked. So Tim and Pauline spoke first and then Pat and Sarah. Each couple had sailed here in private, very small, yachts and so loved the place they could not leave. They perform a variety of duties in connection with their official residence. At lunch, they were fun to watch because they were obviously relishing the chance at fresh fruits and veggies. Such items are a luxury on the island and they really tucked in and enjoyed them with each of them going several times to the buffet bars. While we were eating our own delicacies, Geoff sat with us a moment to change our decisions not to take the Shackleton hike. We had decided not to go with the group on the 2½ mile hike to follow the route Shackleton and his two companions took into Stromness Whaling Station. He had asked everyone to objectively assess their fitness level because it would be strenuous and besides it was wet and raining. He merely asked if we were going

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