Saturday, February 23, 2002

South Georgia Island I

The stars of the Southern Cross dance slowly across the water. The fjord where we have anchored is utterly still, and at midnight the world appears reflected double, the night sky above and the water below both alive with stars.

But paradise is a temperamental place, and by dawn the barometric pressure is falling like it was dropped off a table. Jerome mutters through the smoke of another hand-rolled cigarette that this does not bode well. But inside the fjord, though the wind send periodic blasts of warm and cold air screaming through, we enjoy the day inside our sheltered idyll.

I motor to shore and devote a few hours to the local fur seal colony. Having evolved on South Georgia Island absent man's presence, they haven't yet developed the knack for fearing us. An early 20th century onslaught of industrial slaughter drove them to the brink of extinction, but this bunch at least seem wiling to overlook that transgression with nothing more than the occasional snarling charge at my shins.

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