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Paddle. Freeze. Curse. Paddle. Freeze…

October 31, 2005

For the past month a team of three kayakers has been working their way around the isolated South Atlantic island of South Georgia, which is best known as the place Ernest Shackleton sailed to for rescue. Capt. Cook touched there as well, and this is his take: “…a land doomed to perpetual frigidness, whose savage aspects I have not words to describe.” No one has ever managed to pull off a circumnavigation by kayak, and after almost a month of brutal misery the Adventure Philosophy team is about halfway around. You can follow along here, but here’s a brief taste of what they have been experiencing (this is from an early dispatch):

A brutal day slogging into squalls and head winds for a miserable 16km. Our bodies are taking a hammering as are our supplies of anti-inflammatories. Hardly seems worth the effort put in, except we are 16km further than we were this morning. We were forced to spend a 2nd night at Salisbury Plains with strong winds and snow flurries all day long. Stunning place!!

A backdrop of some 6000 King penguins, the adults wandering past our tent to the sea in a constant stream, mapping along the coastline before diving in. Beside us was a harem of 60 or so Elephant seals, one of dozens and dozens that dot the bay. The sheer magnitude of wildlife is staggering!

It is very cold. As cold as anything we experienced in Antarctica. The sea cliffs are hung with icicles, and if the sea was fresh water it would be frozen. Even the warm north westerly wind brings snow.

This evening we watched a couple of Elephant bulls battle for the harem out of the door of the hemisphere. Then the beach master looked menacingly in our direction, and as we watched in horror, 4 tonnes of undulating blubber was coming straight for the tent. Another late arrival bull lay beside us and the 3 of us were scrambling for the back door – vision of some flattened billies and 3 depressions in the gravel being the last signs of Adventure Philosophy.
Not sure we will sleep so well tonight!

Sounds like fun…

“Please, please, come back…”

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