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Alaska Eagle hits fog and a bar

The crew also climbs a mountain, runs into a former Pyewacket crew member and explores South Georgia Island.

February 15, 2011|By Brad Avery, Special to the Daily Pilot

For the past 20 years, this sturdy 30-foot wooden sloop has been sailed worldwide by Thies Matzen and Kicki Ericson. Thies and Kicki have spent the past two years exploring South Georgia, and were married on the island in the 100-year-old Grytviken church 12 years ago. We were fortunate to have them aboard to go over our charts and help us plan our next 10 days, which they lamented was about 700 days short of what is needed to really see the place.

Our day off in Grytviken started with Bruce noticing a woman jogging past the boat in an OCC Pyewacket shirt. She came by the boat to say hello while we were being cleared by the officials.

She was Ashley Perrin, who crewed on Pyewacket a few years ago when the OCC sailing team raced the boat after its donation by Roy Disney. In October, Ashley arrived at the island for an 18-month stint as a boat operator for the BAS. She had previously spent a year at the BAS Rothera base in Antarctica. It was great to see Ashley again and catch up on her adventurous life of racing yachts and climbing mountains. Later, Alaska Eagle's crew gratefully accepted her offer to visit the only bar on the island, in the heart of the BAS research station.

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Alaska Eagle's clearing formalities were done by Pat Lurcock, an Englishman who is the official government officer for South Georgia. Pat has worked on the island for 20 years and is one of four people to have hiked and climbed the entire 100-mile length of the island in one effort. South Georgia is a mountain climber's paradise, and the climber's log book at the museum is full of accounts by many expeditions.

Once we were cleared in, the crew took full advantage of the great sunny day. Peter, Anton, Tim and Josh tackled a nearby mountain peak, including a glacial swim. Richard, Brad and Kiwi Bruce explored the whaling station, museum and the whalers' graveyard, where Ernest Shackelton is buried. Barry, Frank and Jeff hit their own trails and we were all aboard for an early dinner before our visit to the only bar in 1,200 miles.

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