05 Nov 2015

Expedition To South Georgia Island by Maureen

8/23

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We had to cancel our landing at Hercules Bay due to rough conditions, so we've been cruising around the island to Grytviken which is in Cumberland Bay. The scenery is just stunning! The mountains are so... mountainous! With the water and sky so blue, the edges of the cliffs so bright green/yellow, and the snow-dusted mountains rising up, the scenery just ceases to amaze. We've seen several glaciers. Lots of small icebergs and floating ice. Several birds. One sail boat at anchor in a small cove.

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After lunch and a bit more cruising, we arrive at Grytviken: the first whaling station erected on South Georgia and the last complete one that is open to visitors. We all arrive on the beach and need to peel off our cold-weather gear -- it's actually "warm" here! We first congregate at the old cemetery where Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave is. Pauline gives a nice tribute, then we all take a small shot of whiskey to toast him.

Top photo: Fur seal greeter on the beach
Middle photo: View of the Ortelius from the beach
Bottom photo: Gina toasting Shackleton :-)

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After we toast to Shackleton's great accomplishment on South Georgia, some of us take a guided tour of Grytviken's whaling station. It was both interesting to hear about the whaling industry and horrifying to learn how many whales were killed during this time. (I know that many of the alternatives to whale products hadn't been discovered yet, so we can't judge the industry too harshly. One of the mayors (?) of Grytviken at some point tried to make the whaling industry at this location more efficient (though not more sustainable) after he noticed how wasteful the whale oil process was, so that's something positive.)

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Tonight, we invited the Grytviken staff aboard the Ortelius for an outdoor BBQ dinner. It was FREEZING outside. I grabbed some dinner, sat at a table, ate only a little bit while wearing gloves, then went to the Bar to warm up. It was a nice experience to eat dinner outside with that view, but not a nice experience to actually eat in :-)

Photo: Travelmates eating out on deck