Monday 28 December 2009

Grytviken, South Georgia

An incredible night with 150 knot winds blasting the water. In the morning, we were greeted to calm seas and blue skies – an amazing contrast in the space of a few hours. We began landing operations at the abandoned Norwegian whaling station of Grytviken set amid picturesque snowcapped mountains, and bubbling waterfalls. Many of us visited the small but tidy whaler’s cemetery to pay our respects to the great Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who rests in eternal peace overlooking the bay. A German couple was married in the small chapel behind the museum. What a wonderful place to renew one’s vows!

Passing through the remains of the whaling station, now occupied by a few King penguins, sleeping and snorting elephant seals and frisky fur seals, we explored the rusting buildings and visited the museum and gift shop.The wind proved too much and we were unable to make anymore landings on South Georgia. Powerful katabatic winds created dramatic paintings of swirling foam on the surface of the water. In the evening, we set sail toward our next destination, the remote South Orkney Islands.