Tags: Grytviken, South Georgia

Date: December 6, 2022

The next place we visited in South Georgia was Grytviken which was the largest settlement in South Georgia at one time. It was a whaling station from 1904 to 1966, but had also been used for sealing earlier. This latest settlement was established on November 16, 1940, by Carl Anton Larsen who was a Norwegian whaler and explorer.

Carl Anton Larsen was the first person to find fossils in Antarctica and the first person to ski in Antarctica. Many places in and around Antarctica are named for Larsen.

South Georgia is of course very famous for Ernest Shackleton, both because of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in 1914-1917, but also because he returned in 1922 for a new expedition, but died on his ship in Grytviken before the expedition started. His body was on its way back to England when his wife made sure that it was returned to Grytviken as she thought South Gergia would be the right final resting place for him.

Here, we are at his grave with the captain of Fram giving a speech and everybody toasting Shackleton:

Shackleton's wife was very fond of the poet Robert Browning and there is a quote from him on the back of the head stone:

Two fur seal pups exploring the wetness of the water:

A gentoo penguin:

Fram in the distance:

Heading from the graveyard towards the settlement of Grytviken:

A giant petrel walking by with a bloody head after a meal of a dead penguin or seal pup:

A fur seal (probably a young male) just out of the water with its fur still wet and shiny:

King penguins hanging out on the beach:

The leftmost of the penguins is molting (changing its feathers), which it why it looks so shabby.

A gentoo penguin relaxing next to a molting young elephant seal:

During the molting (changing of feathers or fur) penguins and seals cannot go out to sea to feed so they just lie there for a couple of weeks, getting more and more hungry while waiting for the new fur to grow back.

Another elephant seal posing for the camera:

A male fur seal guarding two of his females with their pups:

One of our guides using a wooden stick to prevent a male fur seal from getting too close to her:

Several ships were beached here:

The machinery from the whale processing factory is left out in the open:

The machines used to be inside buildings, but asbestos had been used in the building materials, so the buildings have been removed. Everything else is left as it was and is slowly falling apart.

Fur seals, male, female and pup, all striking a pose:

Another rusting ship:

King penguin promenading through a deserted street in Grytviken:

The church in Grytviken &emdash; one of the few building in Grytviken still being maintained:

The alter of the church with part of the wooden pulpit to the right:

The book on the table is a copy of the church records of Grytviken church. Here, births/baptisms, weddings and deaths/funerals were recorded. Only about a dozen births were ever recorded in the church whereas the number of recorded deaths was a higher as evidenced from the number of graves at the churchyard. The bust represents Carl Anton Larsen.

Our ship, Fram, as seen between rusted parts leftover from the the whale processing plant at Grytviken: