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Visiting Grytviken, South-Georgia

Having finished the final core sampling in one of South Georgia’s many fjords, we went ashore at Grytviken. This was a Norwegian whaling station from 1904 to the mid 1960s. Today it is home to a British research station, penguins and seals. 

Picture above:
Summer in the south: The whaling station in Grytviken was founded by the Norwegian Carl Anton Larsen in 1904. Up to 300 men were stationed here. The total number of whales caught at this station was 54.000. Today, rusted tanks and remains of processing plants tell of former year’s hectic activity. However, the church and a building converted to a museum are both well preserved. G.O. Sars is docked alongside the British Antarctic Survey’s research station, while a cruise ship is at anchor further out in the fjord.

Rusted remains: Hardly any part of the whale was wasted when the whaling station was in operation. Long gone are the wooden structures of the processing plants. Pipes, tanks and machines are left to rust in the open. Once there was an office building, housing barracks and even a movie theater in Grytviken.

Stuck: Several whaling boats were left behind. A spotting barrel in the mast and the harpoon in the bow are telltale signs of this ship’s purpose.

Moviestars: While the fur seals can be aggressive and give chase, the penguins can accept close human company. Georg Skaret (right) videotapes, while Atle Totland and Bjørnar Ellertsen are watching these penguins.


Reciprocal curiosity: Lars Naustvoll managed to get within a meter or so of this penguin.

The king penguins are changing their feathers this time of year and stay out of the water. These were greeting us when we arrived Gryviken, and they were there to see us off.