I¹m standing in my cabin and am sniffing the air. I smell something sour and sweet with a hint of ammonia, the offending odor emanating from my outdoor gear evokes many memories of lying down in the dirtiest guano covered ground, a small price to pay for the best perspective. That¹s what I was doing yesterday, and hopefully it was worth it. The plan was to head to Fortuna Bay to complete the last portion of Shackleton¹s epic trek across South Georgia into Stromness Station. Of course nothing ever goes to plan here, and the conditions were not ideal for 100 people to go on this hike, some whom may not be in the prime of their lives. I¹m thinking if it was all people who are young and healthy who genuinely knew what they were getting and what they were made of, we would be capable of doing this. But there was very little visibility and high winds, we just can¹t take that chance.
So the hike was cancelled, we still never got to see a massive penguin colony, and the King colony in Fortuna Bay awaits us, a sheltered and nearly sure fire landing every time.
Our landing here is beautiful. The beach is lined by a tussety grassy slope rising up the side of the mountain, making our only way across to the King Colony a thin strip of beach, dotted with Fur Seals like land mines. Tactfully traversing the field we made it to a sprawling expanse of glacier moraine dotted with the squawking figures of King penguins. Great gusts of wind would blast snow, penguin feathers and dust into our faces with an extra strong whiff of King Penguin.
I find as good vantage point as I can get and lay on the ground to shoot across from the penguins. I find myself being guided by my camera across the colony looking for special moments and interesting angles, I¹ve only got a short time so I have to make the most of it. Sometimes I set up my backup camera to continually shoot images in order to create a timelapse video, and leave it alone for 20 minutes with a shower cap I got at the hotel to protect the camera body from the elements. It was windy, overcast, and slightly snowy, but as I headed back the sun began to shine and for moments as the shore moved away from us, I glimpsed snowflakes lit by the golden rays, glowing against the shaded background. It¹s fleeting moments like these I always remember, and never capture, they are mine to keep forever. The storm disappeared, heralding at least two days of sunshine and warmth on our far away island...