Our next stop was in Grytviken, a former whaling station and the burial place of Sir Earnest Shackleton. During the summer months, anywhere from 4 to 10 people reside here and are either government officials or scientists. South Georgia is a British territory and is administered by the governor of the Falkland Islands.
It was very pleasant sailing into Grytviken – we got to see our first brash ice in the ocean and it was everywhere.
We finally arrived at our destination and saw that the settlement was not very big – the main part of Grytviken consists of the abandoned whaling station, a church and an excellent museum.
After arriving on shore, we were greeted by a customs official who also inspected our boots, clothes to make sure we were not accidentally transporting dirt or seeds. They take bio-security quite seriously as a couple new species of plants were found on the island and were probably introduced by previous tourists/passengers.
We started wandering over the whaling station – it is both an eerie and interesting reminder of a dark part of human history.
There was a cute church nestled into the hills. I am not sure if it gets much use these days.
Since Grytviken was the burial place of Sir Earnest Shakleton, our expedition leader wanted all of us to meet at the cemetery where he is buried so we could drink a toast to “The Boss” (what his crew used to call him).
On our way to the gravesite, we came across – wow – another penguin!
I found this at the burial site – I thought it was fitting for a sailor’s grave.
Our resident historian read a tribute to “The Boss”. He had a really hard, but interesting life. The second photograph below is what is written on the back of his tombstone (and his favourite quote).
I did not realize that South Georgia had so much history and this morning was an amazing lesson. We are now getting ready to return to the ship and as you can see, the weather is still “picture perfect”.
We have set sail and are now heading towards St. Andrews Bay. The winds have started to pick up so we’re not sure if we will be able to make the landing this afternoon. I have my fingers crossed…
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