Jim Favor's journeys travel blog

We spent a quiet night at anchor. After breakfast we said goodbye to the small group of 10 people that had elected to talk a walk over the last portion of Shackleton’s journey across the island. To get there they had to scramble up a very steep grade to an altitude of 1000’. Then they walked across a saddle in his footsteps and took a very steep, muddy, slippery wash back down to sea level. The last portion was in a shallow stream. To top it off, it was snowing and the wind was strong. Evelyn and I elected to stay on board.

Soon after the hikers left, the Captain took the ship out to sea and then into the next bay. Here we found the old Stromness Whaling Station where Shackleton finally reached civilization. The hikers arrived soon after and our expedition leader offered a chance for the rest of us to go on shore. Evelyn and I hastily donned our expedition gear and went to put on our Wellingtons. We were taken across the bay and dropped on a beach. We were not allowed to go into the Station because the government has declared it too dangerous. We found King Penguins, seal pups, and a few Gentoo Penguins on the beach. I also saw a small herd of reindeer across the valley. It was snowing and windy but not bad. The water inside the bay was calm so the ride over and back was easy.

After lunch we tied up at the dock in Grytviken. This is the site of the Administration of the island and the waters out to 200 miles out from shore. To save time, we took the zodiacs across the bay to the cemetery. We all assembled at Shackleton’s grave for a toast “to the boss.” Then we walked a short distance to the museum. The exhibits are housed in two buildings that originally housed the brass. One contained a replica of the boat Skackleton took with 5 of his men 800 miles across an angry sea from Elephant Island to South Georgia. The other had many separated rooms, each devoted to a separate theme. I thought the museum was well done. The most popular room was the gift shop. It had a large variety of items to remember the trip by. Things were quite expensive but reasonable considering the location. I stuck with my favorite – a tee shirt.

From there it was an easy stroll on a long flat dirt track back to the ship. There was a post office nearby, but I didn’t go in. I was afraid that I would spend way too much.

We had time to shower and then it was the cocktail hour. We had heard that the island population would be there, so we hurried down. Unfortunately the guests did not arrive until time for our daily debriefing. However, they stayed for dinner and we got to eat with two of them. We got the doctor who is a young lass and who has served all over the world. We also got the chief administrator who has been here 2 days. Formerly he was first officer on a British research vessel. They were both very friendly and talkative. It was a fun evening.

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