Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.

Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.
My 2014 calendar was entirely photographed on the western side of New Zealand's Southern Alps. "Land in the West" is printed at a size of A4 with twelve calendar month pages displaying stunning outdoor environment photographs. Take a look at my Facebook page to view all twelve 2014 calendar images! Order here via Paypal or email me at zakshawphotography@gmail.com if you would prefer to pay with online banking. Thanks for your support!
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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

South Georgia,Grytviken-Elsehul

It felt as if we had been traveling for a week when we finally set foot on Falkland Islands soil. After flights from New Zealand via Chile to the overcast, chilly conditions of Stanley, the Falkland Islands weather was appropriate and a good indication of a colder place to come.

The team spent a few days packing, sorting gear, working with camera gear and preparing the yacht for its voyage across the South Atlantic.
Conditions were good, despite sickness (I felt just a little sick) we made great time crossing the 1400km passage in five and a half days.
During the passage huge wandering and black browed albatross circled the yacht.
Towering cloud mass gave our first indication of “land ahoy” and we were greeted by South Georgia for the first time. Glaciers protruding to sea level, ice, incredibly steep peaks overlooking us and cold winds. The atmosphere was intense, it grabbed you and said “I make the rules” It had such a commanding presence about it.

Grytviken is the main base on the island, home to a few scientists. The BAS (British Antarctic Survey) station, is situated here at King Edward point. Grytviken in its hayday was a booming operation during the whaling era. Today its ruins, flensing platforms, oil tanks, boilers, meat saws, whaling vessels are abandoned and rusting away.
The circumnavigation began here.
The boys set off in still conditions with heavy snow, massive snow flakes caked their gear, conditions were certainly not ideal, but one definitely got the impression things could be a lot worse, if we had 20 days like this things certainly wouldn’t be easy but it would increase the chances of it being possible.
More importantly they were on their way, and the distance was getting shorter with every stoke.

Good progress through the first three days paddling was soon brought to an abrupt halt when strong northerly winds pinned the kayakers down at “Salisbury Plains” !7th Oct.
20th Oct paddlers reach “Elsehul” paddling in huge seas, the team struggled into rough conditions with poor visibility.
Elsehul had a reputation for being a very windy anchorage. On a few occasions as we entered the narrow entrance to Elsehul the thought was there to turn around an back off as the passage of water we had to navigate to reach the head of the cove lay close to the sheer ice cliffs. Swell and strong winds were making us a little nervous, it was “touch and go”

From Elsehul the “kiwi kayakers” were keen to restock their food supplies. A supply of Backcoutry Freeze dry meals, lunch and breakfast packs were handed over in prepartion for the beginning of the southern coastline.
Camped onshore, surrounded by Elephant seals, King and Gentoo Penguins, Fur seals and all the bodily fluids they excrete. The place stunk, and the creek flowing above the tent froze over solid that afternoon.

Elsehul is close to the northern most part of the island, the gap dividing the NE and South coasts at this point is very narrow so we made the journey overland to check out Undine Bay. We gave the sporadically placed Fur seals their space. In a months time the whole hillside would be heaving with mating, fighting male and female seals and to walk amongst them then would have been a serious battle, maybe even suicidal.

To be continued
Zak Shaw

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