by Joan Larsen
All photos by Debra Larsen
SOUTH GEORGIA, Antarctica – Is it any wonder that the rest of the world pales once you have seen South Georgia, the large island in the south polar seas close to Antarctica? It is considered the most beautiful place in our world. Coming ashore by Zodiac raft, we are welcomed on the beach at St. Andrews Bay by the first of a very large group of four-feet tall King penguins stretching out to the far horizon, outfitted in tuxes, proudly standing straight as an arrow.
Showing no fear, it is they who come up to look the visitors over, appraising them. And only then, bowing deeply. All dressed for a formal party, looking identical to us, they can, of course, identify their own chick out of so many thousands. At times, they will nudge their brown fluffball of a youngster forward to be “introduced.” The visitor melts at this point, and often the delight is mixed, for me, with a sprinkling of tears at the thought of this rare privilege. To those who love nature, South Georgia stands alone.
Writer Joan Larsen has spent a lifetime searching for the most remote places on Earth. But it is the polar regions of our world that she has been drawn back to again and again. She has done research in these lands of ice, and considers Antarctica to be her “other home.”