South Georgia was a major Whaling and Sealing base with the first sealing expedition carried out by the British as early as 1786.
Seen from the present day it is a sad history of exploitation with first the Fur and Elephant seals driven almost to extinction and then Whales hunted to the point where it was no longer commercially viable. Grytviken was established in1904 and Leith Harbour, the last whaling station, closed in 1965.
At the peak of the hunting there were 5 Whaling stations operating; Grytviken, Stromness, Leith Harbour, Prince Olaf and Husvik. All but Grytviken are now out of bounds, with their old houses and equipment derelict, fear of asbestos contamination and the danger of flying debris in high winds injuring visitors.
Our approach into Grytviken gave us superb views of Mount Paget, South Georgia's highest peak at a little under 3,000m.
It is easy to see why Grytviken was chosen as the first Whaling station, situated in a small side arm at the back of Cumberland Bay the anchorage is sheltered from the worst of the weather, although williwaws blast down from the mountains above with wind speeds of over 100mph frequently recorded.
We tied Novara to the dock in front of the old whaling station surrounded by the evidence of the stations past.