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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.

Curious friends

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Hayley Shephard

Trying to send a blog update using sat phone, nearby Stanley

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Hello Everyone,
If you are following Hayleys journey you are well aware that she is in a really tough situation at the moment, having lost a critical member of her team due to an unfortunate injury. If anyone out there is able to become a part of her team ASAP pleeease email her at [email protected] or [email protected]
You must be an experienced sailor and available yesterday. I know its a tall order, but if you can help, please let us know.

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Hayley Shephard
02/09/2010, Stanley, Falkland Islands

During our recent arrival here in the Falklands we have been welcomed with much kindness, care and generosity. The folks in the hospital took great care in efficiently attending to both Greg and Keri's needs as soon as they arrived. Back here at the Dock, officials came to keep us updated as to Gregs progress and the odd friend from the sailing community dropped by to offer any help.

Ken Passfield who has lived in the Falklands for 20 years, popped down to the boat and had met Greg and Keri 13 years ago. We invited him onboard for a cuppa tea and soon found out that he has recently returned from South Georgia after spending 3 weeks counting Wandering Albatross birds and nests on both Prion and Albatross Island. Unfortunately he did not come bearing good news as the numbers of nests and individuals have plummeted over the past few years, reaching an all time low of only 129 breeding pairs.

Since the mid 50's the Falkland Island Government has supported annual bird surveys on the chain of islands adjacent to South Georgia where the largest flying bird in the world, the Wandering Albatross nests. Bird biologist Sally Poncet has been involved with this South Georgia project for 12 yrs and since the mid 1950's, breeding pairs of Wandering Albatross has dropped from 180 to now 129. It is strongly speculated that the cause of this steady decline is due to the long line fishing industry in waters off the Brazilian and Uruguayan coast. Unfortunately these efficient flying birds cover thousands of miles annually on foraging flights causing them to fly amongst numerous international longline fishing fleets.

This recent sad news brings on an urgency to do whatever it takes to continue with this South Georgia, solo kayak expedition and begin piecing together the devastating story of what is happening to our world population of Albatross species.

Currently we are looking for an additional crew member to join the Northanger. The open ocean crossing to South Georgia and the wild and exposed coast particularly on the SW side of South Georgia requires a strong crew. All is riding on the hope of a suitable sailor showing up willing to join us on our voyage to and around South Georgia Island.

Plan B? Well there is always the Falkland Islands to kayak around. Never been done before by a woman and there's thousands of Black Browed Albatross nesting on the exposed outer islands, as well as Penguins such as King, Magellanic and the gorgeous Gentoos. Oh, not to mention the odd sandy beach that has swell always worth surfing.

Ahhh, can't express the emotions, thoughts and feelings going on inside of me being so close to South Georgia yet so bloody far. This constant stalling is really frustrating, my desperate desire to just get on with it creates a feeling as though I just want to burst. OK, enough of that ranting. Deep breath hayls, after all it is an expedition :)

I'm trying to attach photos to my blog but am having difficulty. Hopefully I will have some success tomorrow. More news soon.

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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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Who: Hayley Shephard
Port: Ushuia Argentina
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