A Cruise By Remote Gough Island, South Atlantic, 2006

Skua Biting Olav’s Head, 2006
South Atlantic Ocean, Near Gough Island
South Atlantic Ocean Voyage 2006

March 16, 2006
En route to Tristan Da Cunha, via Gough Island, South Atlantic

Today was a fantastic day, if only for the reason that we went by Gough Island in good weather. The last time I saw Gough, only a narrow vertical distance of the lowest point of the island was visible, as a fog belt covered everything else.

But today the magnificence of the island was visible. It was one of the most interesting island-scapes I had ever seen. Contributing to this impression was the fact that it is so remote and it is virtually untouched. Ten researchers live on the island. Visitors are not allowed to land. There were sheer spires of rock jutting out from the ocean and large stacks. Rock buttresses bolted out of green vertical pastures. Contravening cliffs interposed themselves on one another. The sun, playing in and out of cumulus clouds, illuminated the views, casting a mist of light on the upper reaches of the mountains as we approached. On the way in, a skua took interest in the passengers on the upper deck. One stayed even with the ship’s speed, thus hovering only feet away. Olav walked over and put the furred hood up on his jacket and stood with his back to the railing. The skua came to him and pecked at his hood while in mid-flight. It was fantastic.