Rosita Harbour

By mid-afternoon the anchor was down in Rosita Harbour, a few miles along the coast at the edge of the Bay of Isles. We bustled ashore for a walk. The narrow beach was fringed with tussac grass where fur seals lounged about on the hummocks enjoying the sun. (There are … Continue reading

Right Whale Bay

Elsehul was stunning: our next stop at Right Whale Bay is extraordinary. After a foggy start the cloud lifts in the bay leaving dark cloud across the north eastern horizon against which Europa lies at rest on calm water. We land stern first in surge onto a shelving black beach … Continue reading

Elsehul

The deep inlet of Elsehul, its steep sides coated in tussac grass, was out introduction to the wild, extraordinary beautify of South Georgia. The water is shallow enough for kelp forests to wave in the choppy surface for the fur seals to play in, and home to fish, birds and … Continue reading

Bird Sound: arrival and biosecurity

The archipelago of South Georgia includes the study site of Bird Island, lying just off the north-western tip of the main island. Between them lies a rocky, narrow channel known as Bird sound. The detailed chart shows that the deeper water (the white bits) reduces to a narrow channel between … Continue reading

The Scotia Sea: talking about kit

Leaving the Peninsula From Elephant Island we set out north east across the Scotia Sea. That is the area of the South Atlantic bounded by an arc of islands that make a half-moon from Argentina through the Falklands and South Georgia, down to the South Sandwich Islands and then curve … Continue reading

Stamps in my passport: marking territories and staking claims

Antarctica has no borders. It is a shared space, a place of peace and science. Those institutions which impose borders shelved them in 1957, and the first three articles of the Antarctic Treaty commit all signatories to peace, science and collaboration. It was fitting therefore that the artists Lucy and … Continue reading

Embarkation

At last embarkation day arrived. I had waited months for the moment. I flew down to Punta Arenas on 5 March for the embarkation on 6 March, and had  pleasant day wandering around Punta Arenas meeting the knitters and stray dogs. Of course the main event was finally getting to … Continue reading

Making places in Antarctica: history, science, and territories

I’ve commented before that so many human-made places in the far South are ugly buildings sitting in magnificent landscapes. We called at Esperanza station in Hope Bay, on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula: it’s a busy research base and a stamp of Argentina’s territorial claims, a scatter of red corrugated … Continue reading

Tristan de Cunha: the middle of nowhere

Tomorrow, Wednesday morning, we expect to arrive at Tristan de Cunha, the most remote inhabited place on earth. At the moment we are motor-sailing towards the island, still some 57 nautical miles away, having not seen any land, vessels or unfamiliar faces since leaving South Georgia over a week ago. … Continue reading

#AntarcticAlphabet: F is for fur

Fur sealers were first. Cook sent back reports of the millions of seals to be found in South Georgia and immediately they came. When Larson began industrial whaling he named his base Grytviken, Pot Cove, for the old cauldrons littering the beach, remnants of the seals melted for blubber. Mostly, … Continue reading