Land Ahoy!

By Anja Kruska | Adventure

Land Ahoy!

After 12 days on the Southern Atlantic Ocean I see land. Gusts of 50 knots are hitting me, mixed with snow, peeling my face. Yet most of us stay on the bow to catch this first sight of land, the long-awaited land. Nearing the shore, sea lions swim all around us.

We find a rare sheltered cove to anchor.

The rocking of the ship changes into a gentle swing and we feel more at ease. Finally rest for the body. There is no button to stop this rocking when you are on the way.

My first milestone on this trip, visiting South Georgia to see the famous King Penguins. They only breed here. But my patience is tested. Jordi, our expedition leader, tells us Salisbury Beach with one of the two major King Penguin colonies of South Georgia is out of reach: too much swell for the Zodiacs to land. I am no pessimist, but I cannot avoid a little doubt popping up in my head: “What if we also miss the second colony?” I really do want to see these beautifully coloured King Penguins.

In the meantime, Jordi finds a quiet spot with many Fur Seals. Almost eradicated in the early nineteen hundreds, they are now all over South Georgia. I watch males aggressively defending their territory, some with a family, a female and one or two pups. Once I put everything else out of my mind I can sit here for hours, learn who are the dominant males, enjoy how the pups are playing, etc. Another day we walk from one coast across a pass, to the old whaling station Grytviken where Sir Ernest Shackleton lays buried. Phill, his fellow Irishman, comes up with his flute and plays a sad Irish tune next to Shackleton’s grave. I feel it down my spine. We all remain silent for quite some time.

Still, there is no chance yet to see the second King Penguin colony, too much wind. But then I realise that I have a choice with my disappointment. I can feed it and keep thinking about what a pity it would be if I cannot see my King Penguins. I will feel miserable quite quickly to the extent that nothing will be able to cheer me up.

I’d better adjust my expectations.

Every single day we spend traveling along the South Georgia coast brings a new experience. Wonderful in itself, and I treasure each, nobody can take that away from me, whatever else will be happening.

While others decide to go on the Shackleton walk, I stay on board to sail the ship to the next bay to pick them up. Totally unexpected I see whale blows appearing. Then some more, sometimes mother and calf together, here, there, until they are all over. Far away at the horizon and close around us. I see a back, another back, some tails, I see one breaching out of the water and this goes on for hours, a real whale ballet! How lucky I am!

And then, on the last of the six days at South Georgia…

When the winds are finally lying down a little bit we make a wet landing on the beach with the second largest King Penguin colony. I am sitting between thousands of penguins looking at me or walking towards me to see what kind of animal I am. Every penguin with a different kind of yellow-orange colour on the cheek. One meter tall, I can see them at every stage of their life. Young brown ones looking like a fluffy pillow, grown-ups singing to each other courting or changing their feather coat. I am sitting in the middle of their community of more than half a million penguins on the beach. How amazing is that!

This is no longer the one and only achievement that would have made my journey, but just a huge bonus that brightened the already broad smile on my face.

Having great goals is great, but never forget to value other achievements along the way. Business is an adventure where you can’t control everything and you have to take it as it comes.

I would like you to think about a situation in your business where you put so much hope on one major goal that you forgot to enjoy other achievements on the way?
Please share this in your comment below!

  • bart says:

    Hello Anja,

    With some curiosity, excitement and a bit of jealousy, I?m already looking forward to read the next story. Interesting though that you describe your adventures from out of yourself, but what about your close travel partner?

    • Anja Kruska says:

      Hi Bart,
      Thank you for your comment. Indeed, I write out my own perspective and experiences. Because of some events my precious travel partner experienced in the same way as I and others in a completely different way. For example, the hight of the amazing sea gave me one day a big fright until I worked myself over it. Others not or they were already over it.

  • annette says:

    Dear Anja,
    Do you mind if I continue in Dutch?
    Anyway, I will continue!

    Wat een ontzettend mooie ervaring moet het zijn om tussen die pinguins te zijn. Het zijn zulke gave beesten/vogels! Dan hebben we het niet over de Happy Feet schattigheid, he?
    Maar je weet dat Shackleton c.s. die lieve aandoenlijke beestjes, die hen zo nieuwsgierig en verwonderend aan hebben gekeken gewoon hebben afgeschoten en opgegeten, terwijl ze niet eens lekker waren.
    En er was wel ander eten!
    Enfin, dat wisten Shackleton c.s. ook niet…

    En dan het graf van Shackleton! Met een eerbetoon van een Irish fluter.
    Wat een mooi gebeuren lijkt me dat.

    Ik was een paar maanden gelden in Dundee, waar de Discovery ligt en heb op dat schip rondgelopen: geweldig!
    De Nurses Room(natuurlijk, maar toen al wat genderneutrale tekst, no wife aboard ofcourse), the Dark Room(!) waar de fotograaf zijn foto’s ontwikkelde, en waar de bioloog tot ergernis van Scott, allerlei dooie beesten aan het prepareren en ontleden was.
    In the Officers rooms moet het onnoemlijk gestonken hebben.

    Maar prachtig gepoetst koper en 8 soorten hout waarmee het schip was gebouwd. Kom daar nou maar eens om!

    Je posting bereikte op het juiste moment, want ik zit op een crossroad>))
    Ik denk er serieus over om met mijn onderneming te stoppen.
    Altijd heb ik kunnen genieten als een situatie zich detorieerde.
    Hoe erg ook. En dan heb ik het niet over een lange reis met zeeziekte, andere tormentaties en dat je dan de pinguinkolonie niet ziet. Die zag je uiteindelijk wel. Alleen het doel werd uitgesteld en daarom het genieten ervan ook.

    Bij mij is het vaak niet het doel, maar alles wat er tussenin ligt. En dat geldt zeker voor het opzetten van een onderneming. Het doel had ik wel een beetje voor ogen, maar de weg ernaartoe was soms frustrerend en ellendig, maar ik heb op die weg zulke leuke stops en afslagen gemaakt waar ik van heb genoten.
    Mijn motto is zeker niet: “Stel je doel en daar gaat alles voor opzij en dan bereik je wat je wilt”. Dat was het motto van de jaren 90.
    Nou heb ik wel het voordeel dat ik nooit echt weet wat ik wil en kijk wat er op mijn (niet-gelopen Shackelton) pad komt.
    Ik geloof dat mijn limiet is bereikt op het comment Enjoy en liefs!

    • Anja Kruska says:

      Hello Annette,
      Wow, thank your very interesting and personal comment.
      Yes, to reach the penguins was a wonderful experience. In the Sout Georgia museum in Greytviken I could caress the very soft coats of a King penguin and Fur seal.

      Nice that we had some synchronisation. For me being on the crossroads rounding up and looking for the new way to take. I agree with you that setting up a business, even so knowing what your goal is, is a challenge. Setting it up alone gives you on the one hand freedom but on the other a lot to burry. And sometimes it is not really the right thing to want to do.
      The most important issue is the ‘Why’ you want to do it. The goal in itself is not pulling you out of your bed every morning, but your wholehearted reason (mission) will give you energy. You write that it is an advantage for you not knowing what you really want. For some people, it works that way. I got always some inspiration and that created what I wanted. For example, meeting far away cultures and countries.

      Thank you and I wish you a joyful and exciting new path to follow with new adventures.

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