SOUTH GEORGIA: THE GRYTVIKEN WHALERY STATION
grytviken is the only still existing settlement
in the british territory of south georgia. it was
established in 1904 by the norwegian sea captain larsen as
a whaling station. for about three decades it florished,
and the village was soon fully equipped for hunting,
slaughtering and processing whales and elephant seals.
several hundred people lived there during summer. in 1913
a norwegian church was built which is still in use.
the whale population in the seas around the island became slim, and finally the whalery station was not viable anymore - so in 1966 it was shut down. three dead ships and lots of old rusty machinery offer a unique perspective. however, grytviken can still be visited by cruise ships, and the south georgia museum is open then, including a tiny post office.
the cemetery of grytviken is famous, because it contains the grave of ernest shackleton, the famous explorer of antarctica. in 1915, his ship 'endurance' collapsed in pack ice, and the crew of 28 stranded on elephant island. with five crew members, shackleton then went in a little boat on a legendary rescue action towards south georgia, which is 1200 km away, reached it after two weeks, and found help in grytviken. in 1922, leading a further antarctic expedition, he died while his ship anchored near grytviken - and he was buried there.