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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.
Feb 7th Report
Hayley Shephard
02/09/2010, Stanley Falkland Islands

A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. John Steinbeck

Drama at sea

For all those who have been tracking our progress, you may have realised that we have diverted our course towards the Falkland Islands. Unfortunately our progress was slowed down by a storm which lingered in our vicinity over the previous 4 days.  We experienced winds of up to 60 knots, blowing from the N, NW and it kicked up quite a furious sea.
I was always relieved during the many Drake Passage crossings I have done while working on the big ships not being one who suffers from sea-sickness.  I've surely made up for it on this crossing as we spent most nights being tossed and rocked as the heavy seas dominated around us. We had to hove-to at times as well as lay-a -hull to wait for the seas to calm and allow us to continue our progress.  And then an incident occurred which has caused a big change to our plans.

Unfortunately a serious medical incident occurred onboard causing the need for us to immediately divert our course towards the Falkland Islands, the closest place for advanced medical treatment. Unfortunately, now desperately needing to make some head-way, the storm continued brewing around us and we had to hove-to throughout the night.  Finally, with slightly easing wind and steadying sea we were able to continue on our way, heading towards Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands.

We arrived in Port Stanley yesterday and shortly after Greg was in surgery having work done on his right hand. We have waited until now to write this update on the blog due to wanting Gregs family to hear from him directly to cause less worry. Please accept the vagueness in the actual incident just know that he still will be able to play the Cello and climb - his two of many passions in life.

Although he is doing well, he will not be able to continue with us to South Georgia and being one of the key crew members (Captain and Owner) it is uncertain the Northanger will be able to continue as support vessel for my expedition.
I have a Plan B and a Plan C in mind but will approach those in more detail when a few ducks have been pushed back in the row.

The well-being of Greg, his partner Keri and all those onboard is my first concern and the most important situation at present.  I do however believe that above all the trauma and unexpected drama we have all recently experienced, good will eventually come of it.
Stand by for further updates.
PS, it feels absolutely divine being on land once again.

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Feb 4th Report
02/05/2010, ?

Hello folks, I received an email from Hayley today. Looks like that storm has hit them hard, to the point of being unable to set sails. So they sit in the South Atlantic doing a meager 3knots pitching and rolling like a cork with the waves and wind.
Hayley tells me that she has been seasick for 2 days, unable to hold much food or water down, and is feeling cramped and uncomfortable. Yet, dispite the discomfort, she still has the "what an adventure" attitude. Hayley just sent a quick email as she is finding it very hard to type anything while feeling so sick and with the boat pitching and rolling. Here is that email...

"K, won't do an update, feel too queezy...
Just write, hove to over night, aailed with the wind earlry morning, hoving to again coz the wind has got too strong. Puking, feel like shit, feel trapped in this small space, apppreciate the sturdiness of the boat and that it is built for such seas, but not really into it. Cramped body, sick stomach can't eat or drink much but boy it's an adventure. We are just getting smacked by this nasty system which is sticking around - barometre dropped 14 millibars in 1 hour and 20 mins that's HUGE...ok so I wrote an update..."

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Hayleys Feb 3rd Report
Hayley Shephard
02/03/2010, South Atlantic Ocean

Feb 3rd, Southern Ocean on-board Northanger

Only within the previous 24 hours I have witnessed the typical extremities of the Southern Ocean.
Last evening during the final hour of my watch I observed an open ocean sunset on a ripple-less sea. Due to the swell, I watched the sun sink beneath the waves numerous times and it was during a lull in the swell train that offered the classic spectacle of the inflamed ball dropping beyond the sea. The pastel colors canvased the sky and stars appeared in sporadic spaces.

For the first time this journey I enjoyed gazing at the Southern Cross, a constellation I grew up with. It was a scene from my homeland and I was happy to have it watch over us like a guardian.
An Albatross soared occasionally in the shadows of the recent setting sun and with it's elegant wingspan, it seemed to be painting its own constellation.

The following morning I woke up groggy from an unsettled sleep and joined Greg at the chart table. He was peering closely at the recently downloaded weather satellite image. "We're going to get kicked up the ass" he bluntly expressed and from what I could make out with the wind arrows and heavy cloud drenching the Falklands, that system was on its way to us.

And so today has been a somewhat indoors day, keeping an eye on the radar from inside the boat and checking every 15 minutes the conditions outside. Fog has closed in, the birds seem to have disappeared and we suddenly seem very alone in what is now a building sea.
Magnus who has grown up on sailboats whipped up a hearty vegetable soup which we all forced down knowing soon enough, our stomachs may not be able to take too much. The aroma of home-cooking filled the small corners of the boat and awakened me from my 'in-between watches' slumber. Yep, suddenly we were experiencing unpredictable shifts in the boat we were taking the odd wave over deck. As I write this my stomach lurches along with the boat and this soup gurgling in my stomach probably won't stick around. It's time to quit this blog update and lay flat for abit. Geee, what one does for an adventure!

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Hayleys Feb 2nd Report
Hayley Shephard
02/02/2010, South Atlantic Ocean

Feb 2, It is the afternoon of our full day at sea and already we are settled in to our watches. I do the 4am to 10am watch and the 4pm to 10pm watch. This is perfect for me as I get to enjoy the sunset and sunrise and film during these special times of day and evening. I saw my first Wandering Albatross soaring in the southern skies and soon after sighting it, it landed. The wind was just too light. It was only blowing about 15 knots at the time which is not enough for that huge 12 foot wingspan. You know who came to mind when I saw that Wanderer? - All the keen and curious kids I was honored to share my adventure with at the schools in Alert Bay and the Young Naturalist club - so hi to you all from the middle of the Drake Passage.

This morning I enjoyed (and filmed) Hour Glass dolphins swimming beneath our bow, the water was a brilliant blue and they weaved back and forth as though painting a continuous figure eight. My body is finally adjusting to the movement of the boat and after an entire evening of feeling rather queezy, I woke this morning with much more energy. I hate taking sea-sickness medication so today I have gone without. And I'm doing ok, so far. We'll see how these spuds and lentil stew sits.

Wow, I can't believe we are going to be onboard with no land in sight for 7-10 days, on this small but strong n sturdy 54 ft boat. I feel so little, so insignificant, it humbles me to recognise that we are a simple little dot in this great expanse of open sea.

Right now we are traveling at a heading of 98 degrees SE, going at a speed of 6b knots We have the engine on due to not enough wind for our sails, although we still have the jib and mizzen up. Bet-Anne is doing great, she also is adjusting too the motion of the boat and this morning we had a cuppa tea together discussing how easier it will be to film Albatross from land. She laughed at me while I was trying to hold on to the boat, camera in my hand, attempting to film a swift moving Albatross soaring just above the oceans surface, flying at a speed much faster than our boat.
All the best to you! Thanks for your interest and keep a close eye.

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Hayleys First Open Ocean Report
Hayley Shephard

Gabcast! HAYLEYS AUDIO BLOGS - First Audio Report from the South Atlantic Ocean!!

Hayley has finally reached open ocean aboard the support vessel The Northanger and this is the first report.

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Hayley Sets Sail - Puerto Williams

Jan 31st - We are about to head out into open water and face the Drake Passage which has gained the reputation of being one of the most treacherous open ocean crossings in the world.

The Northanger and all those aboard finally departed Ushuaia in the early afternoon, about 2.30pm, January 30th. We had a wonderful send off as our dear friends, Alicia and Ana gathered on the dock along with the owners of other sailboats whom has been our neighbors for a week or so.

The lines were cast, the fenders were tied onboard and with Keri and myself in the cockpit, we steered the boat away from the dock in a South Easterly direction. The wind had dropped offering us a glassy Beagle Channel to begin this rather significant part of the journey. Every minute, every mile and every day from now on is bringing us closer to South Georgia. The journey has truely begun.

Throughout the afternoon, Magellanic Penguins drifted by, Cormorants soared in the distance needing very little wind to fly, unlike the Albatross, and for the first time Beth-Anne and I were able to enjoy the scenes and sites of this passage. When working on the ships, this is the time where new passengers have recently boarded and there is lots to do. We often don't get a chance to enjoy this passage.
On the Northanger everyone suddenly relaxed, Keri baked cookies, Magnus read, Beth-Anne and I filmed and Greg made sure our tea cups were full.

25 nautical miles later we arrived in Port William (Puerta William), a Chilean port where we needed to fill our water tanks and lash every piece of equipment both on deck and down below, getting ready for the Drake Passage. We cleared customs this morning, picked up a few kilos of onions, (an item we missed on the list) and we intend to depart early tomorrow morning, hoping to utilize the steady SE wind that is forecasted. It is the final opportunity to stretch our legs so I will go for a run later this afternoon in attempt to keep up some of the fitness I gained over the previous few months of training.

At this time I am testing (once again) all the communication systems. This is the first update to be done on my computer and sent via satelite phone to Dean who is then transferring it to my blog. Aswell I will leave an audio voice message from Puerta William before we head off to face the Drake Passage. Ahh what does that passage of water have installed for us, I wonder.
Take care and I'll keep ya posted, Hayley

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Who: Hayley Shephard
Port: Ushuia Argentina
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