Wednesday, 25 December 2013


Christmas morning greeted us, bright and sunny as we went ashore at Grytviken.  This holy day most of us crowded into the Whalers church for a service by the Reverend Richard Hines, the rector of the parish that includes South Georgia and the Falkland Islands.

As today was our second landing at Grytviken the extra time allowed to visit excellent museum, the shop and to stroll along the waterfront and among the machinery of the station.

Adjacent to the buildings we encountered many elephant seals in their wallows and fur seals some of whom were quire protective of their territory. A relatively small group of King penguins, about 30 were well photographed.

About 100 of us hiked for about an hour and a half from Grytviken to Maiviken. The north-facing harbor at Maiviken was called a “sun-trap” by the Norwegians sealers and whalers. While no whaling buildings were erected here a hike to the bay served as Sunday recreation for the men working at Grytviken.

We all had lunch onboard as the FRAM motored a short distance to Jason harbor. At this site the structure is a refuge hut. The landing beach is steep and populated by bull seals and their harems. “Weaners” baby seals only a week or two old cavorted among the adults and in the tussock grass behind the beach. This landing and our walk was windy, too say the least, onboard the FRAM anemometer clocked wind speeds up to 20 meters per second or 45 miles per hour.

Our Christmas day ended with an elegant dinner and the main course was reindeer meat from the animals culled from South Georgia.