Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spring......and an anniversary.

..............will I be ready? 
You bet I will.
Waking to sun-filled mornings instead of cold rain 
and grey skies will help.
Not having a wretched cold which has turned me into a hermit 
this past week will be wonderful.

My GARDEN awaits. 
My HOUSE needs TLC.
My LIST grows longer.

  • Coming soon - small bathroom renovation
  • Attic clean out
  • General house 'Spring Clean'
  • Furniture painting projects 
  • Front porch re-do
  • Potting shed organization and clean
  • Pruning and trimming shrubs
  • Removing Winter mulch
  • Mowing grass

..............and a whole lot more I'm sure.

Meanwhile today is time for a little's six years since I stated blogging. Where did the time go? A lot has changed in the world of blogging since was much smaller, quieter, more intimate and easier. I have loved it mainly for the special friendships formed, many of which continue to this day, not only via the Internet but face to face in several instances. It's always such fun to meet blog pal in person and this year I hope to do more of this. I also love that it has become my creative outlet. It has helped me become a better photographer and see wonderful things in this amazing world through my lens which I failed to view before.

Thanks to all of you who take the time to visit here. Some of you leave a lovely comment, many of you e-mail me, some just look and hopefully enjoy what I share then move on as your days are busy. I appreciate you all more than you know. Now and then I think perhaps I'll discontinue blogging. There are now so many fabulous blogs out there, amazing women, and men, who do a much better job than me. Many have become almost legendary. Their readerships are huge, they show ads bouncing across the page bringing them an income. They display content gleaned from all around the world via the Internet. I don't want my blog to be one of those.....I just want to share my home, my garden, my travels, the little bits and bobs of this ordinary life which I enjoy each day. This blog will always be just my journal. I hope you will continue to stop by when you can..........the cottage door is always open and the old English teapot ready for a brew. I'll be here waiting.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Grytviken, South Georgia.....................

January 19, 2013 - Grytviken, King Edward Cove, South Georgia 
Good/moderate visibility; overcast; snow
Wind: N 3, Sea: smooth; Air Temp. 8C (46F)

Early morning and sailing toward Grytviken..............

.........we viewed our first 'tabular iceberg' 
close up - huge and awesome. 
These are often several miles long.

To the left, the remains of the former whaling 
station, the first one established in the 
Antarctic by Norwegians in 1904. The current staffed 
British Antarctic Survey base is on the right.

Before 8:00 AM we'd already made a wet landing by Zodiac and a pleasant walk past many seals to the Whalers' Cemetery....

..................where an early morning swig of vodka 
(I've never had a drink that early in the day!) 
and the traditional toast to "the boss", explorer 
Sir Ernest Shackleton, was made as we gathered 
together around his grave.

Quotation on the rear of Shackleton's marker.

The final resting place of 64 men.

The Grytviken museum - more time there to view artifacts and 
read stories would have been a plus.

This whaler Petrel, still in one piece, a reminder of what 
happened here - the harpoon gun still affixed to the bow.
Capturing it in a sudden snow fall was an unexpected surprise......

.......and gave a different dimension to the remains 
of the whaling station, making it more ominous, 
quite in keeping with the grim reminders of the 
terrible industry that operated here from 1904 until 1965, 
when the slaughter of thousands of whales took place.

Strolling through the rusted remains of the 
whaling factory structures was definitely 
thought provoking............and the 
stories we were told of the huge loss of beautiful 
creatures, almost to the point of extinction, 
just heartbreaking.

When we spied the picturesque church beyond the rusty 
remains, our spirits were lifted..........

 ....the Neo-Gothic style Norwegian Lutheran Church was pre-built, shipped to the island, erected by the whalers, and consecrated on Christmas Day 1913. In 1922 a funeral service for Sir Ernest Shackleton was conducted here prior to his burial in the nearby cemetery. During 1996-98, after years of abandonment and weathering the harsh elements of the area, keepers of the South Georgia Museum and volunteers renovated this lovely church.

Soon our time here was up, more would have been wonderful 
of course but there were still places to go.......and 
M/S Expedition was waiting to take us.

King penguins and Fur seals said their goodbyes... we headed back to the ship....

....and sailed away.

Next time: A visit to St. Andrews Bay - the island's largest King penguin colony where Paula and I were 'adopted' by Miss Georgia!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Favorite Thing......a museum visit.

Last Saturday afternoon.................

....we pulled on boots and parkas (I seem to have been doing 
this often lately - especially while in Antarctica 
last month!), left the warmth of home........

.......and headed into town to view the Titanic Exhibition.

We'd seen it before some years ago when 
vacationing in Victoria, British Columbia 
taking our granddaughter along that time. 

This time we took our sweet next door neighbor Raya - a 
second grader who seemed to know more about the Titanic 
than we did........and did a fantastic job reading the 
signage to us. 
Way to go sweet smart girl.

And this Saturday?
Intentions were to go see the movie "Quartet" BUT
I'm home all snuggled up and nursing a 
beastly head cold and no voice with hot tea, 
soup, and chocolate of course........and 
watching season 2 of Homeland while the 
rain falls steadily.

Linking to Claudia over at Mockingbird Hill Cottage for 
A Favorite Thing Saturday......a fun place to take 
a little break during your day......if you 
can't get to a museum or a movie theatre.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Prion Island Landing.................

Anchors aweigh again.............later we were 
heading for an afternoon landing on Prion Island, 
just a short sail from Salisbury Plain.

Leaving this magical place was really hard.

Prion Island, South Georgia Island - number 5 on map.

Icebergs along the horizon.

Landing at Prion Island we were immediately able to 
view the Fur seal nursery on the beach - partly 
sunny and a balmy 42F. Walking through so many adults 
with young was not an easy thing.

The hike up to the nesting sites of the large Wandering 
albatross was made easier by the boardwalk. It was constructed 
to protect flora and nesting birds some years before by our
very own Scobie, a member of our expedition team.

Wandering albatross on nest. 

These huge birds have long narrow wings - wingspan reaches 11 feet in adulthood, weight 20 lbs. - are well suited to efficient flight in the open ocean where wind is plentiful and obstacles few. They cover huge distances, one tracked by satellite flew 20,505 miles in 71 days! They breed when 10-12 years of age, usually remaining with the same mate, and their lifespan is 40+ years.

Views across the bay to the surrounding mountains on
the island were very beautiful................

.........and out to sea the icebergs continued to wow us!

The wildlife here was special with so many very young Fur seals.........

....but again it was time to leave and return to the ship 
as afternoon clouds rolled in and the water 
had a good chop starting by 4 PM..................

.........but seemed to calm again once the moon 
appeared and the Antarctic night took on a special 
beauty in the glow......this pic from my cabin 
window at 7:30 PM. Click to enlarge pics in lightbox.

Next time: Excitement brewing on board as we follow 
Sir Ernest Shackleton's journey to Grytviken, first 
shore-based whaling station in the Antarctic, and 
celebrated the amazing Polar expedition he took at 
his grave on South Georgia Island.

This evening I will be snuggled up and watching one of several movies made of Shackleton's journey. This one, a documentary, is titled The Endurance. I have a beastly cold to boot - but perhaps will feel less sorry for myself watching what those men experienced in 1914-16 when prisoners of the Antarctic ice!