Godthul, Grytviken

Nov 01, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer


All on board the National Geographic Explorer awoke this morning to dazzling blue skies and calm seas on the northern leeward side of South Georgia. Conditions were so perfect that our expedition leader Lucho Verdesoto made the decision to add kayaking to the options on offer to take advantage of the opportunity. Some guests chose to hike, others to get up-close-and-personal looks at the icebergs inside the bay, and of course, many decided to take Lucho up on his kayaking offer.

In the afternoon we repositioned the ship to Cumberland Bay for a visit to the abandoned whaling station at Grytviken. For Ken Greenwood and Beth Caldwell, this was a particularly exciting afternoon. They had travelled from the state of Georgia in order to see and touch up the replica of Shackleton’s Endurance that Ken had so lovingly built and donated to the museum.

You can read more about the building of his model here.

I was on board the National Geographic Explorer last year when that scale model had been shipped via Panama to Ushuaia, where we picked up the crate containing the precious cargo and transported it here to South Georgia. It was wonderful to witness Ken’s story (which started years ago) come full circle, as he finally saw the scale model on display in the museum and had the chance to touch up the minor damage sustained in transport. Not as harrowing a journey as the original Endurance, of course, but quite a large effort made by many hands to make the dream a reality. Ken’s passionate work will be on display here for many years to come.

In the evening we invited the museum personnel as well as the British Antarctic Survey staff and researchers to dine and enjoy libations here on board the ship. This accorded us all a great evening as well as the chance to get caught up on all of the latest research findings by the field scientists living and working on the island!

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About the Author

Michael Nolan

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Michael Nolan was born in Bitburg, Germany to an Air Force family stationed there. His first experience of the ocean came at age 12, when he learned to snorkel in the Italian Mediterranean. At age 17 he moved to Tucson, Arizona and became a PADI SCUBA instructor, before starting a SCUBA diving business that specialized in diving trips to the Sea of Cortez.

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