South Georgia Expedition Log

Welcome to: Kayaking to Save the Albatross South Georgia Island Expedition. This is a personal log by kayaker Hayley Shephard who is attempting a World First Solo Sea Kayak around this isolated Sub-Antarctic Island.

25 March 2010 | Bound for Ushuaia
24 March 2010 | Falkland Islands
23 March 2010 | Stanley, Falkland Islands
21 March 2010 | Onboard the Prince Albert II
20 March 2010 | Onboard the Prince Albert II
19 March 2010 | Onboard the Prince Albert II
18 March 2010 | Grytviken
16 March 2010 | Cumberland East Bay
15 March 2010 | Ocean Harbour
14 March 2010 | Prince Olav Harbor
13 March 2010
13 March 2010
12 March 2010 | Craigie Point
11 March 2010 | SALISBURY PLAIN
11 March 2010 | Salisbury Plain.
10 March 2010
10 March 2010 | Rosita Harbour
09 March 2010 | Rosita Harbour
07 March 2010
06 March 2010

Salisbury Plain

10 March 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
March 10th, Day 11 Salisbury Plain

For those of you following my progress on the tracker you have probably noticed that I have gone backwards. Yep - the wrong way.

Today is the day for me to finally come to terms with the fact that I am not able to complete what I originally set out to do, my 10 year dream and 3+ years of a 'work in progress'....To solo sea kayak around South Georgia Island.

This morning, Keri informed me that she needs everyone ready to depart for our open ocean crossing to Stanley by March 12th/13th for our flights leaving Stanley March 27th.

For that we need to:

1.Be in a safe anchorage for all weather types and wind conditions which is a little limited around this lovely island.

2.I need to be in a position to be retrievable when it is time to depart. If I continue around the North end and over to the less predictable and wilder west coast, the weather window for the Northanger to come and get me will be limited. The weather this year has been unuaslly bad...high winds daily, very little sun, lots of snow and rain....All ships visitors and KEP base folk, all sailboats that have visited, all comment on the bad summer it has been.

It is time I accept whole heartedly the entire situation which has led to this extremely disappointing circumstance.

We were 20 days late in departing due to: Gregs injury, time it took to find another crew person, rotten weather which slowed us down sailing to Sth G and finally, my badly bruised and beaten kayak which needed a few 'touch ups'.

Aswell, due to the earthquake in Chile our international flights have been extremely difficult to change. We have been forced to change our routing which means we now need to find a way from Stanley to Buenos Aries which isn't as straight forward as it sounds.

Keri has done a marvelous job at skippering the Northanger in this challenging region. It has been necessary for her to be extremely cautious due to the lack of Greg's expertise onboard which has caused limitations to the expedition.

Now as far as the crew goes:
Beth-Anne has a job she needs to get back to, Magnus is needed to sail his dads boat back to New Zealand, Brian needs to be returned to his dear wife Lin and Keri....
It's time for her to be re-united with her husband Greg who has recently had more of his finger amputated due to an infection and tragically his father suddenly past away back in New Zealand. Greg has been trying to get home for weeks now and the earthquake in Chile has caused the airport in Santiago to be closed and passengers waiting to fly out have been camping in tents in the surrounding airport area.
And finally, Dean is probably more than ready to dis-connect himself from his computer which he has been bound to for nearly 2 months.

Knowing what Greg must be going through with his unfortunate and terrible circumstances, makes my loss seem so little.

However I am experiencing a struggle in accepting the disappointment of not achieving my established goal and fulfilling this 10 year dream.

Part of it is the fact that now having been here, paddling, camping, navigating, weather interpreting etc I have come to realise that if all the circumstances did not occur, I would have been successful, I could have done it! However we can not go down the 'What if' road. It is what it is and it is no longer in my power to change things. For now I need to let my ego rest under the pebbles I am sitting upon as I write this, rise up to the new challenges of turning this 'not how I planned' expedition into an entertaining film, fabulous book and an inspirational presentation.

And so the adventure continues. Today I paddled back into the Bay of Isles and kayaked along the absolutely mesmerizing, 'cosmic mind blowing' beach of Salisbury Plain which I previously missed due to heavy fog and wanting to make some miles the day before yesterday.

Thousands of King penguins roam this stretch of beach, trumpeting their flirtatious calls into the vast open tussock plains, Zillions of Fur seals and Ellies lolly-gag about on the fine pebbles, surf crashes rhythmically along the sandy shores and the back drop of glaciers sweeping into the dramatically scenic valley makes this entire bay seem like an amphitheater of vivacious activity.

Tomorrow I will land on Prion Island and spend some time with the animal which inspired me to take on such a journey. A creature I admire and am continually drawn to and intrigued by....the Wandering Albatross.

Numbers of nesting pairs of Albatross in this area are declining rapidly. Some islands have been made into sanctuaries where no landing is possible, Prion is open to limited visitation. I am extremely honored and privileged to be able to land and encounter these magnificent birds on their very own turf, as they raise their chick as a pair and watch it fledge an entire year later. Upon fledging, that chick will return to its birthing island 5 years later when it is sexually mature, spending all those years at sea.

After a day in Salisbury and Prion making the most of being in this vicinity and getting a chance to film all this spectacular drama, if a 2 day weather window opens up, I will attempt to round the North tip of the island. I'm busting to paddle that stretch and to simply go from the east coast to the west coast will feel like a mini achievement.

Early this morning I received an email from Dean, perfectly timed due to the 'just heard' disappointing news. Although he has been a few thousand miles away, throughout this journey his support from afar has made me feel that I have not been alone. He has kindly posted blog comments and forwarded emails to me from all those following my dream...words of comfort, inspiration, courage and kindness go a long way.

Deans recent eloquent words struck a chord in me this morning and it played on my mind all day which in the end helped me to move forward and finally accept this situation.".......

"It seems as if everything thus far has brought nothing but delays and challenges. So what are we to glean from all of this? The regular cliches of patience? of perserverance? You may not be able to percieve the greater lessons or the bigger picture until some time has passed. This could be a lesson in, "despite your greatest efforts in life, some things just dont pan out the way we want them to". Im not really sure what this is all about, or what to say. Im just happy for you, for being able to have at least felt with your five senses, or more, your dream! It didnt go down the way you had envisioned, but you gave it your best and most noble attempt. Hayls, im proud of you and what you have accomplished, Im proud of the way you have conducted yourself in the face of huge dissapointments. Im proud of you for your determination and grit. In my eyes ( and many others) you have conquered so much more than just a physical island, Heck at this point...South Georgia is a mere technicallity! You have endured the crashing waves of dissapointment, the fierce winds of change, and the rocky outcrops of comprimise. You have successfully completed the South Georgia of the mind and spirit. have encompassed the true essence and spirit of your hero Shackelton and you did it with just as much grace and integrity. That in itself is a journey like no other".

A moment in Paradise is a moment well-lived and I am forever grateful for this opportunity despite the changes and unexpected outcome. That is a true adventure after all and it can be nothing less.

Keep in touch and I'll keep you posted.

Vessel Name: oceanmaid
Vessel Make/Model: Necky Looksha IV
Hailing Port: Ushuia Argentina
Crew: Hayley Shephard
oceanmaid's Photos - Main
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Created 17 January 2010
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