I was scarcely prepared for South Georgia. I had, of course, read about Ernest Shackleton, and knew generally about his trek across the mountains and glaciers of South Georgia after having crossed the Southern Ocean in an open boat with five of his crew. But I was unprepared for the scale of the mountains and the abundance of glaciers. The only flat areas were right along the coast, and not even there in many places. It is a stark and incredibly beautiful place - a place that one hopes can be preserved.
South Georgia has very strict requirements for visiting ships. Visits are limited to 72 hours. Boots and other gear must be washed between landings so as to avoid transferring biological material from one site to another. The number of visitors allowed on shore at certain locations is limited, so we were taken ashore in two shifts. And the ship was required to be blacked out at night to avoid lights from the ship attracting birds (mostly prions and petrels) that fly to and from shore after dark, thereby avoiding predators.