Matt & Emmy in Antarctica & Easter Island travel blog

View from the top of the pass looking down to Stromness

Kayaking in Gold Bay

Face of the glacier

Today we started the day at anchor in Fortuna Bay. Our goal for the morning was to reach the old whaling station of Stromness. We had two options: one was to ride the ship to Stromness, which is situated one bay over. The other option was to hike to Stromness, following Shackleton's route over a pass. Emmy and I, along with about 20 passengers and 15 or so of the ship's crew, did the hike.

At the end of his sea journey from Antarctica, Shackleton landed at Cape Rosa, where we visited a few days ago. He then commenced an epic 36 hour crossing of South Georgia on foot with two of his companions, to reach the nearest populated base, which was the whaling station at Stromness. His hike took him across glaciers and high mountain passes. The part of the path we followed today was the end - the last 4 miles from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. It involved a relatively steep climb of about 1000 feet, up past the fur seals on the beach, up a steep slope of loose rock and snow to the pass. At the pass, there was a small glacial lake, and then we commenced down a steep slope to the costal plain. The slope was covered in recent snowfall, and some of our fellow hikers did as Shackleton did and slid down on their rear ends. Emmy and I chose the safer option of hiking down. At the bottom, we met the passengers who chose to cruise around. It was a challenging hike and provided us with beautiful views, as well as a bit of history.

Following the hike, the ship repositioned to a small bay called Gold Bay. It was sheltered from the higher seas surrounding the island, allowing us to try out the ship's kayaks. These are inflatable rubber and canvas kayaks, seating two people. They were extremely stable and simple to use. We were able to kayak for an hour or so around the small bay, seeing Macaroni Penguins and the ubiquitous fur seals up close.

In the evening, while we were having dinner, the Captain navigated the ship up a narrow fjord, so we could see the face of a glacier up close. He brought the ship to within a few hundred yards of the face of the glacier as it poured into the sea - quite amazing.

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