Places, Experiences and Objects to Dream About: Stromness

Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella). Antarctic fur seal pup (Arctocephalus gazella). Stromness (South Georgia). Photo © KIKE CALVO

This post is the first in the series Places, Experiences and Objects to Dream About, which profiles marvelous locations, unique life experiences and objects of interest to modern explorers that I discover during my travels.

Stromness in South Georgia by KIKE CALVO
Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella). Stromness (South Georgia). Photo © KIKE CALVO

The idea for this new column came up as I was staring at a small fur seal puppy playing with my rubber boots in a remote island of the South Atlantic. I felt compelled to transmit the emotion, admiration, surprise and ¨overwhelmness¨ of experiencing life as a photographer. The result is a series of colorful vignettes that I will be sharing with my readers as I come across the new and unexpected. Stromness was a former whaling station on the northern coast of South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic. It was also the destination of one of the greatest polar explorers, Sir Ernest Shackleton, during his unprecedented rescue journey in 1916 . I cannot even imagine what went through the mind of this intrepid Irish explorer when he first stepped on these distant islands. Hundreds of fur seal pups surfing the waves. As far as I could see, both on land and in the sea, my visual canvas was filled with these curious creatures.  I started using my telephoto lens, but after a while, I decided to get in the water while still wearing all my heavy winter clothing gear, to capture such scene with a wide angle. I did not take into consideration that the task would draw me in much deeper than knee level, and soon enough all the freezing water started entering my boots. I stayed in the water shooting, lowering my self to the surface level, while the waves crashed against me. It was not until my ship, the National Geographic Explorer, made the last call and my colleagues threatened to leave me there overnight, that I decided to step out. Stromness captured a little piece of my heart. And for this reason, I decided to launch this new series with the surfing pup seals at this remote destination. And remember: Never Stop Dreaming!

Stromness in South Georgia by KIKE CALVO
Antarctic fur seal pups (Arctocephalus gazella). Stromness (South Georgia). Photo © KIKE CALVO

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Learn more: Kike Calvo’s visual diary as a National Geographic Expert on the South Georgia and Falklands Expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer

Antarctica and South Georgia: 
The South Pole: A Narrative History of the Exploration of Antarctica (National Geographic Adventure Classics)
National Geographic – Antarctic Wildlife Adventure
Antarctica: The Last Continent
Antarctica Satellite [Laminated] (National Geographic: Reference Map) (Reference – Continents)
A Field Guide to the Wildlife of South Georgia (Wild Guides)
March of the Penguins
Antarctic Wildlife Adventure

Stromness: Stromness: Late 19th Century Photographs

Ernest Shakleton:
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage
South: The story of Shackleton’s 1914-1917 expedition
Shackleton’s Way: Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer
South with Endurance: Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition 1914-1917
End of the Earth: Voyages To Antarctica
Shackleton – The Greatest Survival Story of All Time : Complete Uncut Version Mini Series : With Bonus Programs