Monday, February 25, 2013

Grytviken, South Georgia.....................

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, 
just heartbreaking.

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... 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!


  1. Your photos are wonderful, the colours in the icebergs are unbelievable. I love the fact that everywhere you go you are accompanied by fellow penguins.
    Ernest Shackleton's grave must have been a poignant moment.

  2. Very interesting post and beautiful photos. How nice to have the penguins and seals amongst you as you toured this historic place. Thanks Mary!

  3. I have loved these pictures! Thank you for taking us with you.

  4. The icebergs are amazing! Your pictures are so vivid and clear, I can almost feel the cold. Very sad about the think they could have gone extinct.

    I enjoyed this, especially the pictures of those cute baby seals!


  5. Such stunning scenery, always. The tabular iceberg is really something. The white buildings with red roofs would really stand out in the winter snow.

  6. What beautiful photos, I feel that I was along beside you..I have always been fascinated by the Shackleton Expedition..Amazing that you have been there in person!

  7. I'm tickled by the picture of the travelers walking toward the old whaling factory. It looks as if the penguins are walking along with you, perhaps to keep the humans in line.

  8. Thank you so much for the (as usual) beautiful photos and for bringing me along with you (once again) to this amazing place. Every visit to your site is a soul refreshing....

  9. What an adventure. Was the church pretty inside? Oh to walk with such history there.

  10. The blue of the ice is so amazing. What a fabulous journey you had. I don't imagine any of those creatures would have been safe during the whaling days. Such awful things that man is capable of for the almighty dollar. Best wishes, Tammy

  11. I would never have thought of taking a trip to Antarctica, and yet it looks like the most amazing place to go! The turquoise blue ice took my breath away! Other photos gave me other varied emotions...I am so glad the whaling machinery is rusting away! The seals are adorable, as are the penguins! And that charming. Such a sweet spot of faith in such a desolate but beautiful place. You were there in summer, of course. I imagine it would be more than miserable in the winter!


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