Hercules Bay, Maiviken to Grytviken

Nov 17, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

This morning we enjoyed a close-up look at macaroni, gentoo, and king penguins as we cruised scenic Hercules Bay by Zodiac. Elephant seals and Antarctic fur seals also lined the small bay, busy with their mating schedules. All about us were the Cumberland Bay Formation sediments that make up the steep cliffs lining the bay. This former seabed has been uplifted and contorted into wild and amazing patterns, making the geology easy to decipher here.

After lunch some of us decided to hike from the small bay in Maiviken across the rolling hills into the former Norwegian whaling station at Grytviken. The day could not have been more accommodating with sunny skies, no wind, and perfect temperatures. To see the snow-capped peaks of the Allardyce Range in such conditions was simply marvelous!

Our afternoon was complete with visits to the whaling station itself, the South Georgia Heritage Trust Museum, gift shop, and post office. Of course, no trip to Grytviken would be complete without a visit to Sir Ernest Shackleton’s gravesite, and the requisite whiskey toast to The Boss.

This evening, all the South Georgia Heritage Trust personnel, as well as all the staff and British Antarctic Survey scientists, were invited for drinks and dinner aboard National Geographic Explorer. The latest scientific and conservation projects were shared, as well as a pint or two of Guinness!

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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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