January 19, 2013 - Grytviken, King Edward Cove, South Georgia
Good/moderate visibility; overcast; snow
Wind: N 3, Sea: smooth; Air Temp. 8C (46F)
Early morning and sailing toward Grytviken..............
.........we viewed our first 'tabular iceberg'
close up - huge and awesome.
These are often several miles long.
To the left, the remains of the former whaling
station, the first one established in the
Antarctic by Norwegians in 1904. The current staffed
British Antarctic Survey base is on the right.
Before 8:00 AM we'd already made a wet landing by Zodiac and a pleasant walk past many seals to the Whalers' Cemetery....
..................where an early morning swig of vodka
(I've never had a drink that early in the day!)
and the traditional toast to "the boss", explorer
Sir Ernest Shackleton, was made as we gathered
together around his grave.
Quotation on the rear of Shackleton's marker.
The final resting place of 64 men.
The Grytviken museum - more time there to view artifacts and
read stories would have been a plus.
This whaler Petrel, still in one piece, a reminder of what
happened here - the harpoon gun still affixed to the bow.
Capturing it in a sudden snow fall was an unexpected surprise......
.......and gave a different dimension to the remains
of the whaling station, making it more ominous,
quite in keeping with the grim reminders of the
terrible industry that operated here from 1904 until 1965,
when the slaughter of thousands of whales took place.
Strolling through the rusted remains of the
whaling factory structures was definitely
thought provoking............and the
stories we were told of the huge loss of beautiful
creatures, almost to the point of extinction,
When we spied the picturesque church beyond the rusty
remains, our spirits were lifted..........
....the Neo-Gothic style Norwegian Lutheran Church was pre-built, shipped to the island, erected by the whalers, and consecrated on Christmas Day 1913. In 1922 a funeral service for Sir Ernest Shackleton was conducted here prior to his burial in the nearby cemetery. During 1996-98, after years of abandonment and weathering the harsh elements of the area, keepers of the South Georgia Museum and volunteers renovated this lovely church.
Soon our time here was up, more would have been wonderful
of course but there were still places to go.......and
M/S Expedition was waiting to take us.
King penguins and Fur seals said their goodbyes...
....as we headed back to the ship....
....and sailed away.
Next time: A visit to St. Andrews Bay - the island's largest King penguin colony where Paula and I were 'adopted' by Miss Georgia!