Saturday, February 23, 2002

South Georgia Island II

A solitary Weddell seal, prevalent in the Antarctic but a straggler from the last Ice Age in these latitudes, naps on the rocky beach. I set up a tripod within eight inches of of her fuzzy mug and she is disturbed only so far as to blow a gob of snot at my lens before rolling over and retreating to her dreams of krill. She does not move again until some hours late, and only after the incoming tide has very nearly submerged her head.

In spite of the threatened storm, the sky clears and the afternoon turns balmy, at least by local standards. I strip to long johns, fleece jacket and boots. As is generally the case when in the presence of wildlife that is not fleeing me, I blow through very many rolls of film. It isn't until I exposure the last two frames that no fewer than nine seals gather in the water at my feet. staring up with those wet Bambi eyes, the fjord and circling mountains glowing in afternoon sun, that I sense a malevolent intelligence at work here. I am reduced to sputtering, apoplectic rage.

Back on board and suitably medicated, I join the rest of the crew in tucking into pizza for dinner before we pull anchor and motor out of the fjord. Jerome mentions something about the wind, but we're happy to sit bundled on deck and watch the sun set behind glacial crags.

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