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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day before departure

February 27th


Day before departure

Today was sensational! I was completely blown away, chuffed, pleased and extremely thankful as I observed who were once a gathering of strangers come today and make miracles happen. It was a day of craftsmanship, cohesiveness, hardwork and it was highly productive.

Beth-Anne and Magnus tackled the continuing saga of mending my dear Necky Kayak. After a day of gluing, fibreglassing and sanding, it actually now looks like a kayak again. Infact it has gained character, it looks hardy, rugged and has a 'don't mess with me' appearance. One of the base staff, Matt Holmes (on his day off) somehow got roped into helping Brain set up a mount for my 'Hero' High Definition camera. A fancy, highly functional mounted bracket needed for my helmet and lifejacket was designed and engineered by Matt and Brian. Keri spent the day baking and roasting and feeding the troops and prepared the boat for our soon to be departure. I rigged up my back-up kayak, fine tuned my gear, filmed a little and packed up my gear from Northanger, basically it is time to move out of my cozy cabin and move outdoors.

We took a few hours off in the afternoon as things needed to set, dry and bond and joined Tony and Jane who have been taking care of the museum which is situated along side the whaling station of Grytviken. They even suggested we visit Shackleton, and so with a bottle of whisky under Jane's arm, off we trotted across the other side of the bay to pay tribute to the famous explorer – Sir Ernest.

Not being to fond of strong spirits, to Shackleton's likely disappointment, I forced the bottle-cap full of whisky and proposed a toast to this fine explorer. On the back of his granite headstone is a quote from Robert Browning. It stirred something inside of me and I knew right then and there, whether my Necky kayak is ready or not, I will be departing tomorrow morning. “I hold that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life's set prize”

My kayak will need another day to complete and following that day is a big, nasty system which is about to approach our coast. It looks as though from March 1st to 3rd, 45 knot winds and 5-6 meter swell is forecasted to hit South Georgia. If I do not leave tomorrow, I won't be able to paddle for another 2 or 3 days and it is time to get on, get out there and begin.

The time has come to expose myself to South Georgia and for South Georgia to embrace me and teach me all its many intricate ways. Like Graham Charles described – “it is time to enter into the school of South Georgia”. I am ready to get in the zone of being in the wilderness, to begin listening, watching and feeling the natural rhythms of this special place.

To simply pull away from the shore and paddle for a day, although I may be beach bound for 3 days, is ok by me. I will gain much from observing this system intimately and being exposed to the elements while safely camped in a semi protective bay. What a way to test my tent, my communications and establish camp where the opportunities to observe and film will be limitless.

I will depart from King Edward Point using my back-up kayak. Brian kindly rigged a mount that Magnus had made back in Stanley for my main camera. Yesterdays test run was successful, I know all my gear fits snuggly and since this kayak is not insulated, I will have to compensate by wearing a few extra layers. All in all, it's more important I begin and this kayak will do just fine for a short time.

And once the frisky weather system passes through by then my Necky kayak will be good as new, ready to go and what a re-uniting that will be.

By 0930 (UTC -2 time zone) my gear will be stowed, my dry suit donned and paddle in my hand. Some of the base staff may even see me off and what a bonus and pleasure that has been to spend some time with this friendly bunch of South Georgians.

Oh, I forgot to remind you that I will be packing and paddling away right infront of the King Edward Point webcam, so set your alarm, get up and feel free to join the send off. Wahoo!!

Is it time to let go and get really excited again, or perhaps I should wait for the morning weather forecast, just to be sure, to be sure.

I feel a little jaded after all the excitement and perhaps breathing in too much epoxy, it's time for bed, my last sleep on Northanger for a few weeks. From now on I imagine my blogs will be brief, audio broadcasts more frequent and the tracker will be in my kayak, no longer on Northanger. So join me as I paddle around South Georgia alone for the Plight of the Albatross.

3 comments:

kari said...

Wow, I just got caught up on all the adventures and challenges. I am glad you are finally packed and poised to go! Sending you much love and strength! Kari

Anonymous said...

Wow indeed - Have a safe and successful circumnavigation! See you (kind of) back at the beginning! Have fun! Sarah

Kerry said...

Get your brave ass out there!!! I will be rooting.
Much Love,
Kerry

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