Sitting inside the Antarctic convergence zone the island is swept by a constant series of low pressure systems that bring sleet and snow and truly ferocious winds blasting across the island. It was a series of these systems that kept us tied to the dock in Grytviken for longer than we had hoped but we used the time to get out into the hills using the new snow that fell most days to don our skis and build some fitness for the trips to come.
A promise of a better weather window enabled us to head south, first to Ocean Harbour and then on to Gold Harbour before sailing on around the south east coast to Hamilton Bay where we attempted to land a ski team onto the Solomon Glacier. Sadly, the large swell foiled our attempts, so we sailed on to overnight in the incredible Larsen Harbour anchorage.
We had been asked to check out the small colony of Weddel seals, the only one on the island, whose numbers have been in decline for some years. We saw only 7 cows, 2 with live pups and two with dead pups, the other 3 presumably still to pup. It was heartbreaking to hear the mothers' cries as they tried to coax some life out of the dead pups. Hopefully, as it was still early in the season, there are still some seals to return.
The following day we were able to land the ski team at the foot of the Solomon glacier and stayed offshore until they were out of sight before sailing around the headland to Wirik Bay.