Monday 24 December 2012

Christmas day at Grytviken

This morning we woke up in beautiful, scenic Grytviken and after breakfast, went for an easy stroll in the old whaling station. Of course, before starting the promenade, we paid our respects at Shackleton’s grave, where he now is in the good company of his inseparable friend and colleague, Frank Wilde, whose remains have been recently put to rest right next to the great man himself.

The whale station – better stated, the remains of the whaling station – are a rather interesting and photogenic collection of decaying machines and rusty tanks, that form a labyrinth that we successfully crossed to get to the simple wooden church that was transplanted, 99 years ago almost right to the day, from Norway to this island in the middle of the Southern Atlantic Ocean. It was in this peaceful building that we held a little Christmas celebration, where we actually turned a building into a living church.

Finally, we ended our short visit to Grytviken with a visit to the small but very interesting museum, where exhibits give one a very good overview of everything related to this island: the history, the geology, the fauna both on land in its rich waters, etc. Of course, we also paid a visit to the very well stocked gift shop, where a wide variety of books, clothes and gifts were there to tempt us – with a good purpose, as all the proceedings go towards the conservation of this beautifully rugged place…

…whose beauty we were able to appreciate all afternoon, as we gently sailed past its mountainous coast en route to the Drygalski glacier, where we sailed into to enjoy a Christmas eve in its sheltered waters.