In 2003 myself and 6 others sailed from Ushuaia in a 50ft steel ketch called Gambo, owned and skippered by Welsh glaciologist Alun Hubbard. Within the first hour of the journey we lost use of the engine after snagging a mooring line. The problem only arose and became an issue a week into the voyage when we needed to slalom between massive ice bergs, bergy bits and growlers, but we arrived on South Georgia after ten days sailing in good shape and raring to explore.
We spent four weeks on this spectacular island exploring and trying to climb mountains. We were beaten back each time by the weather. On the first attempt at the un-climbed east ridge of Mt. Paget we were forced to retreat with our tails firmly between our legs after 100+mph winds destroyed our tents and left us sheltering in the remains for 18 hours.
The wildlife on the island is an incredible spectacle with 5 million fur seals, huge elephant seals lying on beaches, five varieties of penguin and graceful albatross to name but a few. The whaling legacy is especially evident in Grytviken whaling station and with whale bones on most beaches it is a poignant reminder of grim past.
We left Grytviken and sailed straight into a four day storm with winds in excess of hurricane force. Our return sail across the South Atlantic to Mar del Plata in Argentina took three weeks in which time we saw no other vessel. In my diary I described parts of the return voyage as mild terror. All photos are scans from 35mm slides.