Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Top of South Georgia

Helicopter and 9629' summit of Mt. Paget

I am often asked which is my favorite place in the world. Ignoring the fact that this is like asking a parent which child they prefer, I would have to say the island of South Georgia. Physically, it is an astonishing place - as rugged and imposing a mountain landscape as any on Earth - but this is all just a backdrop to one of the greatest gatherings of wildlife on the planet. All in all, an amazing place.

I had the very good fortune a few years ago to travel to South Georgia with the UK Royal Navy research vessel Endurance. One of the highlights of that 3-week journey was the chance to fly over most of the island in one of their helicopters. Particularly memorable was our landing on the icy summit of the island's highest peak, Mt. Paget, on a stunning clear day when the entire island was visible.

In this picture, taken as we approached the summit, you can see another helicopter having just taken off, amid the swirling wind and snow. The image has never been published before, but it brings back some incredible memories.

I will be back on South Georgia later this year (although not at this altitude!) serving as the National Geographic photo lecturer aboard the "National Geographic Explorer". For more information about the trip, click HERE. Or feel free to write to me with any questions you might have.

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