Andrew Evans is back from Antarctica, but he’s still blogging for us here at Intelligent Travel. Today he details the bleak, inhospitable conditions he found in the British Overseas Territory of South Georgia.

 

If you haven’t figured it out yet–I like really remote places. Barren, bleak, far flung–the less accessible, the better. You’d think Antarctica would check that box for me and it did . . . until I sailed to South Georgia.

The fount of knowledge that is Wikipedia describes South Georgia as “bleak” and “inhospitable.” I have no idea who wrote such a thing and upon which premise the assessment was based. After a day and a night of sailing from Antarctica, the National Geographic Explorer anchored at the base of a deep fjord. I went out on deck and saw that we were surrounded by vertical stone walls whose snow-streaked heights disappeared into an oppressive bundle of low floating clouds.

At first it snowed gently–big lazy snowflakes that made me happy to be in the polar regions surrounded by so much crisp air. Then it just snowed. As if someone else was tugging the sky with a string, the angle of snow shifted with the wind until it was completely horizontal. The light, friendly storybook snowflakes quickly turned into pellets of ice that flew at me sideways, stinging my face like a bunch of angry, icy bees.

I shot these brief video clips from our zodiac, as we battled the weather in search of nature. Nature found us much faster and I was glad for the mild attack of wind and snow. After a week of splendid weather in Antarctica, we finally got nailed with a bout of wintry tempest that was everything I imagined Antarctica to be.

As a kid, I learned about South Georgia from reading National Geographic. To finally arrive at such a long lost place felt like sneaking into the pages of some back issue of the magazine, only a lot colder.

This is not an easy place to get to, and when the weather’s bad, it’s not very nice at all. So why come? Because it has its beautiful moments and when the sun does come out (which it did, eventually), South Georgia feels like the most glorious place on earth. As a well-protected and well-managed British Overseas Territory, the wildlife is astounding and unabashed. Penguins reign supreme on this far-reaching remnant of the British Empire and as I soon found out, you just can’t get enough of them.

Andrew Evans traveled 10,000 miles–by bus–from Washington D.C. to Antarctica for National Geographic Traveler and has tweeted about his travels at @Bus2Antarctica. Follow the map of his journey, bookmark all of his blog posts, watch videos, and get the full story on the project here.