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Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Grytviken, South Georgia, Antarctica, 25 Jan 2008



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20080125 Friday Day 10 Grytviken (King Edward Point), At Andrews Bay, South Georgia, A visit to Shackleton's grave.
When we woke up in the morning, we were most happy to see the beautiful bright Sun. It was going to be a fine day. After breakfast, we gathered at the Forward Lounge to hear a presentation by the representative of the South Georgia Heritage Trust, he spoke about the work that they were doing to restore the old whaling station for tourist and continued to preserve the natural environment around here. Then we went onshore to first pay our respect to Ernest Shackleton, the great Antarctic explorer who was buried on at a small graveyard at King Edward Point next to the whaling station. On the back of his tomb, a quote by Robert Browning - "I hold that a man should strive to the uttermost for his life's set prize.". Our expedition members gather around Shackleton's grave and made a toast to him. We then visited the Church which was built during the active days of the whaling station and also a newly built museum which had a lot of interesting information on wildlife around this area and the life of the whalers who once occupied here. We got to touch a sample of the king penguin and feel its skin, it was very strong and thick on the outside with a tough inner layer that was hard and with lots of short spikes that can trap more air. As usual there were the usual king penguins and seals on the island and the mountains were covered with snow. We got back to the ship and the South Georgia representatives had set up a little "Post office" onboard for us. The boat then head off to St Andrews Bay.

After lunch we made a landing on St Andrew's Bay. Despite the bright and beautiful Sun, it still felt quite cold because of the strong wind. St Andrew's Bay had the largest colony of king penguin (over 110,000 pairs). Indeed they were everywhere, we took lots of pictures and videos. There were also quite a few elephant seals just laying around doing nothing!

At dinner we talked to an old lady who had worked in software programming for 26 years since 1964 and another old lady who also had worked in software since the 1960s.

We made another landing in the evening at a place called Gold Harbour, where we saw yet more penguins and seals and glaciers and ice float.

We watched a Japanese TV drama ("The variance of love") that we brought with us.

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