This week marks the fifth anniversary of our visit to the southern ocean which included stops in the Falkland Islands and the mythical South Georgia en route to the Antarctic Peninsula. So many beautiful memories of this epic voyage with truly amazing people who, we are proud to say, are now great life long friends. Such is the way for those who share time south of the convergence line in the South Atlantic. Will offer a few images that might give you a glimpse of the majesty and sheer wildness of the southern ocean but one memory seems to come to the front.
It may have been inspired by recent media reminders of historic events of our past. Note JFK’s tragic passing 50 years ago. And the surprisingly brief but brilliant Gettysburg Address by Lincoln of 150 years ago. Heck, some historians note that Beowulf was penned perhaps 1000 years ago this month. But for those who were present in the tight meeting area aboard M/V Le Diamant while the ship was “hove -to” and “jogging” in a fierce westerly gale gusting over 70 knots near the southern end of South Georgia, the memory is still fresh of the first telling of The Battle for Cooper Bay – by fellow traveler and guide Pepper Trail. The report of a struggle with indigenous wildlife which included tales of heroism and near tragedy, recounted brilliantly, has forever emblazoned the tale in the minds of those present for as long as we live. In true oral tradition no formal document was published. Some say there are a couple of unauthorized copies of Pepper’s notes floating around in private collections but these are unconfirmed. The report was both epic in the telling and even in memory from five years ago brings tears to my eyes. Fortunately there was no loss of life in the struggle for control of the landing beach at Cooper Bay but there were significant losses of pride and a couple of sturdy oars. Quick decision making by our able Expedition Leader – JD Massyn, ensured that only good memories remain from the encounter.
For those of you who were present….and you know who you are…this post is especially for you. For those who were not and have a lust for the spirit of adventure and feel the call of the wild – by all means make plans to visit the Southern Ocean and especially South Georgia before you leave the earth. Incredible place.