Ashley Perrin of Antarctic Ice Pilot will be aboard Ithaka, a Nordhavn 63 for the month of March working as an Ice Pilot for the vessel to be in compliance with the South Georgia government permit. South Georgia is a United Kingdom Overseas Territory administered by a government based in Stanley, Falkland Islands. The vessel will transit from Stanley in the Falklands to King Edward Point in South Georgia to clear customs and immigration and will then spend two weeks cruising the glaciated island in the Southern Ocean before returning to the Falklands.
The island is considered to be the southern oceans jewel in the crown and is 1400km east of the Falkland Islands. It is 170km long and between 2 and 40km wide. It is half covered in permanent snow and ice with mountains to 2934m above sea level. There are over 40 visitor sites primarily on the leeward side of the island that has a moist cold and windy maritime climate with sudden changes in weather. South Georgia lies in the middle of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current flowing in an easterly direction around Antarctica. As the island is south of the polar front there are icebergs and the permanent snow line is 300-600m above sea level even though it is only at 54S, a latitude similar to the south of England.
South Georgia is one of the most spectacular wildlife spectacles on earth with huge concentrations of seals(>4 million fur seals, 400,000 elephant seals), penguins (450,000 pairs King, >1 million macaroni), petrels and albatross (wandering, black browed, sooties) annually breeding and molting on the island. The beaches are packed overwhelming many visitors with sound and smells! There is also a good deal of history associated with the island; not least it’s leading part in the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton, who is buried there.
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