Wednesday, March 19, 2014

And here I was . . .

Just about to excitedly interrupt our Antarctic journey 

with news of the actual final arrival of my new book, Coyote Summer, only six months behind the projected publication date! How excited would I have been? 

But sadly, not. More delays, this time with the cover proof. Will it be ready in time for my 10 a.m. signing slot at the VA festival of the book at the Omni March 22? 
(How's that for a clever plug? Bet you hardly noticed I slid it in there).

Who knows. I'm not taking odds at this point. So instead, you get part 3 of (mercifully) only 4 -
ANTARCTICA, THE JOURNEY CONTINUES (insert appropriate music here).
After more whale sightings off Shag Rocks, we hit (not literally) South Georgia Island. Shackelton's grave.  Battling elephant seals. The 5K death march.
This one has it all.
margo shackelton, setting foot on south georgia.

elephant seals wallowing in their own- well you get the idea. they molt not only fur but skin, rubbing it off while soothing their itchiness in the goo. ugh. and the smell. makes the penguins look good.

Somebody thought it would be a good idea to introduce reindeer onto South Georgia as a supplemental food source. Then somebody else thought, hmmm... not so much. Kind of like rabbits in Australia. Seemed like a good idea at the time. As we were arriving they were exterminating the last of the herds.  These other bones are whale bones, left over from  South Georgia's glory days as a whaling station.
one of many old boats abandoned when the station shut down.

Something happened here and the pictures are all over the place. The one below should be third, but it won't stay there.  Oh, well.

harder than it looked at first.
theses picture insist on being here, even though they should be below. i give up
this is ridiculous. the pictures won't stay in order. fine. make up your ow story. this is the top of the first pass, when we saw what was ahead.
But the death march. Yes. So called because it was. Or very hard anyway. They dropped us off on one side of the island and we had to march over the mountain through a pass to the whaling station on the other side. The boat moved after dropping us off. No going back.
nina captures the first descent for posterity. or posterior.

looking back from the (first) top at the harbor.

off we go, dodging angry fur seals this, of course, should be the first picture.
we go up there?

Eventually we reach the top, having shed most of our layers. I am showing off my walking sticks with Chukgrips, without which I would not have made it. 
from now on the pics are in order. don't ask why.

If you get to the top you get to throw a stone on the cairn. I doubt Shackelton and his men started this.

Down we go.
An old water wheel, used to generate power for one of the whaling stations.We saw many of these abandoned structures.
Finally, we spot the bay!
Never have I been so happy to see the ship.
We wander among the beached ships rusting into the sand-
and the old whaling artifacts scattered about where they were left- (ok, maybe some were carefully placed by the museum staff. I didn't ask.)
inside the museum, 
Shackelton's actual tent and equipment.

outside, a toast at his grave, as well as the graves of other explorers and whalers.

We drank a toast of Jamison's whiskey (I don't know if that was Shakelton's favorite, or simply that Bob, who was doing all the toasts and telling the stories at least 10 times, decided to have his own favorite tipple. Wouldn't surprise me a bit.) 

A fitting end to an adventurous day.