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On Location: Circumnavigating South Georgia
"The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of the wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of the ocean on a beach. I have heard them all, and of these three most elemental voices, that of the ocean is the most awesome, beautiful, and varied."
~ Henry Beston
I know not when Beston wrote this, nor do I know anything of his legacy; however, I admire his appreciation of the sounds of nature. A man who recognizes the significance of the voices of the wild and describes them as "awesome," is a man after my own heart. As I write this entry with no access to Google, I am certain that Mr. Beston had never experienced the sounds of a king penguin colony or a beach adorned with thousands of breeding and birthing southern elephant seals ... for had he witnessed this marvel of nature, he surely would have written that the most awesome sound is that of the cacophony of bull elephant seals, overflowing with testosterone, bellowing amidst a harem of females giving birth, juxtaposed with the pulsating sounds of the Southern Ocean breaking on a pebbled sub-Antarctic shore. If I could speak with Henry Beston today, I would argue that this is indeed the most awesome, beautiful, and varied sound in nature.
The circumnavigation of South Georgia Island is complete, our fourth in the two decades since Zegrahm Expeditions was formed. The expedition is not over, but South Georgia lays in our wake. The Sea Spirt is headed WNW returning to the Falklands for another few days of adventure. The other night we enjoyed a celebration onboard in a turbulent sea, with much to celebrate: the circumnavigation, Halloween, and 21 years of adventure travel, not to mention the joy of sharing this expedition with three of my best friends: Shirley Metz, Peter Harrison, and Mike Messick.
To share such an amazing place as South Georgia with exuberant travelers aboard a comfortable ship, and to walk in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton, is to experience life to its fullest. There is no way to put into words the nature of this experience, nor adequately describe the feeling shared by all onboard. Perhaps the closest term is that used by Henry Beston ... these days have been among the "most awesome" that anyone can imagine.
Bound for the Falkland Islands.