Monday 28 February – South Georgia
The day starts early for many, who wish to re-enact the last leg of Shackleton's famous hike across the mountainous ridge line of South Georgia to Stromness Harbour. I pass on this early excursion and elect to take the long hike with others from Stromness harbour itself to the waterfall at the back of a long valley, where the earlier hikers will emerge.
Led by Tom Ritchie, we set off, in what seems an idyllic setting of a long flat valley, serpentine streambed passing down through it to the beach, and periodic hillocks with picturesquely positioned herds of reindeer atop them. Pausing for many photos of this beautific setting, the group soon gets stretched out, with Tom and most of the others far ahead of all but three of us stragglers.
Soon we come across an extremely aggressive fur seal: large, sharp toothed and bloody mouthed, who refused to be dissuaded from his/her mission to attack us. Going after each of us successively, neither sticks, nor shouting nor clanging rocks in front of its nose would do any good. We ended up spending the next 20 minutes trying to fend it off, with our calls for help to the rest of our hiking party far ahead, going totally unheeded.