Ocean Harbour Dreaming

15th November 2015. Ocean Harbour, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . . . . . (13. Ocean Harbour)).

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

In the afternoon of the 15th we visited Ocean Harbour, which seemed like a different world.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

In the distance is the Great Dancing Hall and Parliament of the Shaker community who settled here many years ago.  You can see some of their surviving sheep in the foreground.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

The colony was founded by Ethel Mercaptan, who had become somewhat on the nose to many other members of her community so she led a splinter group to South Georgia.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

Her mighty ship, the Wedgetail Beagle, still sits there waiting her command.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

Though you can’t see the ghosts, you can see their chains.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

The geese she kept to ward off any barbarian invasions of the ship remain on board and have made their nests there.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

Meanwhile, the settlers created an abstract tapestry on the side of the ship, intended to depict either the future success of their new colony or their descent into hellfire.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

The geese still watch out for potential barbarian invaders.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

Unfortunately though, the captain of the ship, one Arbuthnot Queeg, had a secret heated compartment in the hold near the engine room that he had filled with giant pirañas, intending to either sell them in Peking or hold the city to ransom.  The pirañas thwarted this plan when they ate through the hull and caused the ship to sink.  They then perished in the cold waters of the bay.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

This did not stop the colonists from painting an abstract tapestry on the rudder.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

While the geese remain on board, the ship is contemplating turning into land

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

… and eventually into a forest.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

Meanwhile the sheep have very little to do and spend their time lounging around, or since there is not much good grass, plunging into the sea to fish.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

The giant spinning wheel remains, mute testimony to the plans to found a mighty clothing industry, had they just been more astute and chosen a kind of sheep that has wool.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

So we gaze out across the pasture land to the empty spaces that might have been so much more.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

The community itself has faded away as Shaker communities are inclined to do.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

Travellers from space visit occasionally though.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

The geese still hang around though there is no longer any crew to sail away in the ship.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

And though the whole community has faded away, …

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

… a couple of chickens still hang around in front of one of the sheep.

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Elephant seals, Infrared, Landscape, Nature, Photography, seascape, South Georgia, South Georgia Cormorant, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife, Wreck

Attention now, this is Mahommed Engels-Trump of the Pedantry Terrorism Squad of MI6.  We have seized this post for dissemination of Fake Nudes (did I get that right?).

The ship is the Bayard, a sailing ship built in Liverpool in 1864 and was here being used as a coaling ship for the whaling station.  It is 67 metres long and weighed 1200 tonnes.  A gale in 1911 blew her across the bay where she sank in three metres of water and remains to this day.  There was probably nothing romantic about the daily activities of the whaling station and the workers would have led hard lives in a spectacular setting and a cruel climate.  MI6 deplores the misrepresentation here of fur seals, South Georgia cormorants and giant petrels.  The “duck” on the water that was not mentioned is maybe a skua.

Grytviken Part 2

12th November 2015. Grytviken, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . . (4. Grytviken)).

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Continuing the walk from the last post, here is an elephant seal bull recovering from a challenge for a harem.  Whaling detritus behind.  They used to hunt elephant seals as well as whales.

 

Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Another male elephant seal lurking in the shallows.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Whalebones that have probably been there a very long time.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Remains of a ship that wasn’t going anywhere soon.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Shackleton’s tombstone.

For those who aren’t aware of the history:  Sir Ernest Shackleton launched an expedition to walk across Antarctica, from one ship to another, via the South Pole, in 1914, just before the first World War started.  Unfortunately, his ship was crushed in pack ice in the Weddell Sea before they got to land.  They left the ship and camped on the ice floe until it began to break up so they sailed 560 kilometres in three ship’s lifeboats to reach Elephant Island off the Antarctic Peninsula.  Elephant Island was seldom visited by ships though, so Shackleton had one of the ship’s boats strengthened and with five others set of on a 1,300 kilometre journey to whaling stations on South Georgia, where he would find help.  They survived a savage storm that sunk a 500-ton ship in the general area, to land on the south coast of South Georgia.  Rather than try to sail round, in another incredible feat, Shackleton and two others climbed over the the mountains to reach assistance on the other side.  Eventually, all were rescued and the only death was a sailor who was injured when the ship was crushed.

He died on board ship in harbour in South Georgia in 1921 at the start of another expedition and was buried there.

The 1914-1916 expedition was also remarkable for the photographs of Frank Hurley.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Once a whaleboat.  I’d turned around by this stage, back towards the zodiacs.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

It’s no surprise from this view that Grytviken is the most sheltered harbour in South Georgia.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I head back past the whaling ship “Petrel” again.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

… and past the decaying factories of death….

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

They might look like elephant tusks in the foreground but they are the rib bones of whales.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Still chained to the past…

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

… and walking past more rusted relics of a less than memorable past.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Almost back where we started, now.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Waiting zodiacs, whale bones and dead ships.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

And here he is, still in place, the King Penguin from the beginning of the previous post.

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Grytviken Part 1

12th November 2015. Grytviken, South Georgia.

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(Map of journey . . . (4. Grytviken)).

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

We are now approaching the great metropolis of Grytviken, in fact the only place in South Georgia where the population is greater than zero, not counting seals and penguins.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

A closer view.  A small number of British scientists live here, though Argentina briefly captured the place in the early eighties.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

A king penguin was hanging around on shore, on the somewhat muddy ground.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I was not the only person to photograph him (or her).

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

These I believe are casings for the explosive heads of harpoons, fired from harpoon guns at the front of whaling ships.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

This place is probably a paradise for scrap metal dealers, were they allowed to remove anything.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Grytviken was founded in 1904, initially as a Norwegian whaling station.  It closed in 1965 when virtually all the whales were gone and in the intervening period processed 53,800 slaughtered whales.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Many relics of that period remain.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I would think that the purpose of this huge pile of massive chains was to haul whale carcasses ashore.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

… though in this case, to anchor a ship.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

Ancient machinery whose purpose probably doesn’t bear too much thinking about.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I went for a walk along the shore quite a way past the settlement.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

There are also remains of various wharves….

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

I understand the road accident casualty rate is quite low on South Georgia, much lower than India for example (though actually they usually drive pretty slowly in India in my experience).  For all I know, this may be the only vehicle on the island.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

There are also a couple of old ships moored beside the bay.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

This one is an old whaling ship.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

You can see that the end of the harpoon does appear similar to the rusted sections we saw further above.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife

And finally, here are a few shots of rust and paint on the side of the ship.

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Grytviken, King Penguins, Landscape, Nature, Photography, Rust, seascape, South Georgia, Travel, Whaling, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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