Captain Cook was looking for the southern continent but
an ice covered island, which he named South Georgia.
James Cook was born in the Yorkshire village of Marton on October 27,
He went to sea at the age of 18. He became an accomplished
in his spare time and was offered a command of his own ship but refused
and joined the Royal Navy.
His talents became known and the Admiralty placed later in command of
Endeavour which was to take a number of scientists to the Pacific Ocean
for observance of Venus. The Endeavour departed England in 1768 and
visiting Tahiti, he discovered New Zealand and claimed it for Great
Sailing west he sighted the east coast of Australia and then claimed
whole of eastern Australia as a British possession.
The Admiralty promoted Cook to Commander and he was instructed to
south to find Bouvet's Cape Circumcision. The Admiralty outfitted the
purchased Resolution and Adventure with the Resolution being Cook's
It was only 110 feet long and 35 feet across the beam and the Adventure
Cook sailed toward the uncharted waters of the south and they found
at the edge of an endless pack of ice.
For two months Cook sailed alongside the pack, looking for an entrance
travel further south then with the onset of winter he went north to the
Southern Island of New Zealand after sailing some 10,000 miles.
He returned to the Antarctica and continued his search for a way
to the south. He said " It extended east and west far beyond the reach
of our sight, while the southern half of the horizon was illuminated by
rays of light which were reflected from the ice to a considerable
It was indeed my opinion that this ice extends quite to the Pole, or
joins to some land to which it has been fixed since creation".
He again wintered in New Zealand, and then sailed to Tierra del Fuego
in a northeasterly direction. They sighted land and thought they had
the southern continent but instead it was an island which he named
The station's cemetery is the resting place of Antarctic
explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton, who stars in one of the greatest tales of
& greatest boat journeys in expedition history:
Just one day's sail from the continent of Antarctica,
the ship Endurance
became trapped in sea ice.
Frozen fast for ten months, their ship, the "Endurance", was crushed
and destroyed by ice pressure in the Weddell Sea and the crew was
to abandon ship.
After camping on the ice for five months, Shackleton made two open boat
First Shackleton and his men then set off in small boats and landed at
Island with hardly any landing room below the steep cliffs that line
The second journey was a treacherous 800-mile ocean crossing to South
Landing on South Georgia Island, Shackleton crossed the rugged backbone
of the island from the west to arrive at the Whaling Station on the
side seeking help for his men stranded on Elephant Island.
The "Endurance" crew, hand picked by Sir Ernest Shackleton in
England for his expedition in 1916, survived on the nutritious meat of
and seals while waiting for rescue on Elephant Island.
As the months passed, Shackleton made increasingly frantic rescue
each time thwarted by ice or weather. At last, on August 30, they
in bringing through the Yelcho, a tug manned by Chilean Navy
It was their fourth attempt and months had passed since their
Shackleton feared the worst.
They had finally made it back to Elephant Island after 105 days and
all of the men they had left behind.
The bow of the "Yelcho" is now found in Puerto Williams, Chile as a
monument to the daring
The full story can be found at http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/shackleton/
"In memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside
We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders.
had reached the naked soul of man."
Sir Ernest Shackleton
South Georgia's wildlife is once again abundant with fur seals back in
There are over 5 million macaroni penguins and two large king penguin
Some good South Georgia Photos
For those planning on sailing to South Georgia, the info below was taken from the Official South Georgia web pages:
Groups visiting South Georgia should be aware of the following:
· Cruise ships, smaller charter vessels and cruising yachts must be accompanied by a person with sub-Antarctic or equivalent experience of operating in remote areas.
· All tourist operations must be ship-based with no overnight stays ashore unless specified on the application form and approved by the Commissioner.
· All cruise ship and charter vessel shore parties should stay in radio contact with the ship and have with them appropriate first aid and emergency equipment. Deteriorating weather or sea conditions may, for example, make return to the ship hazardous and necessitate a longer stay ashore than planned.
· Shore parties must be supported by their expedition vessel at all times, which must remain in South Georgia for the duration of their stay.
· No on-shore accommodation is provided for visitors to the Island, nor are there public telephone or fax facilities.
· There are no hospital facilities or rescue services. Self-sufficiency is increased and risks reduced by sound planning, quality equipment and experienced personnel.
· Firearms may not be brought into South Georgia except with the express prior permission of the Commissioner, to whom application must be made in writing.
· No pet animals are permitted on the Island.
· The use of helicopters is not permitted except in cases of emergencies.
· The Conservation Guidelines are to be respected at all times by all visitors, including passengers, staff and crews of all vessels visiting South Georgia
· Cooper Island, Bird Island and Annenkov Island have been given special protection because of their particular ecological value. Entry into these areas is strictly prohibited, except where a visit is requested for scientific research, in which case a permit from the Commissioner is required.
· Visitors are prohibited from entering or approaching within two hundred metres of the former whaling stations at Prince Olav Harbour, Leith Harbour, Stromness and Husvik. They are in a dangerous state of disrepair, and wind-blown debris including asbestos dust is a hazard.
· Unexploded ordnance from the 1982 conflict and subsequent presence may be found on South Georgia. If you think you have found an item of unexploded ordnance you should carry out the following procedure:
Do not touch (items are in a dangerous condition).
Note its position and grid reference and place a marker nearby.
Make a note of its size, shape, colour, markings, condition and quantity.
Inform the Marine Officer immediately.
CUSTOMS, IMMIGRATION and PORT CLEARANCE PROCEDURES
All vessels intending to visit South Georgia should make contact with the Marine Officer at King Edward Point in Cumberland East Bay, South Georgia, as soon as practicable upon entering the 200 nautical mile Maritime Zone around South Georgia.
CONTACT BY RADIO
· VHF channel 16
· HF frequency 4049 kHz USB 11.30hrs - 12.00hrs GMT (UTC)
· Note that 2182 kHz is not monitored locally
CONTACT BY INMARSAT
· Telephone +870 382 359 031 and +870 382 359 933
· Facsimile +870 382 359 032 and +870 382 359 034
· E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The following details will be requested by the Marine Officer.
· Vessel's name
· Radio call sign
· Type of vessel - fishing vessel, cargo vessel, military vessel, cruise ship, research vessel, yacht etc.
· Date and time of intended arrival at King Edward Point in Cumberland East Bay
· Purpose of visit
The first place of landing at South Georgia must be King Edward Point or Grytviken where the Marine Officer carries out immigration and other formalities. Permission may be granted for landings prior to clearance, but only under certain circumstances and after a formal request has been presented to the GSGSSI.
The Marine Officer will board the vessel on arrival to arrange customs, port clearance and immigration formalities and to receive payment for any related services. A copy of the crew and passenger lists should be available for his/her use.
Charges are levied for harbour dues, customs, fees, trans?shipping fees, yachts, buoys and water (see Appendix). Payment may be made to the Marine Officer in pounds sterling in the form of cash, cheque or travellers' cheques; or in United States dollars as cash or travellers' cheques. Payment may also be made via a shipping agent in Stanley, Falkland Islands.
A landing fee is charged for each person named on the passenger list of cruise ships and yachts (see Appendix). This fee is payable by the tour operator to the Marine Officer or by the vessel's agent to the Office of the Commissioner. No charge is made for members of the crew of a vessel. Revenue collected in this way contributes to the costs of conservation and heritage projects including the South Georgia Museum, and to the administration of the Island.
The Postmaster's representative will stamp passports upon request, although this is not a required procedure.
CONDUCT WHILE ASHORE
As a visitor, you are kindly requested to observe the following guidelines:
· Know your capabilities and also the dangers posed by South Georgia's environment, and act accordingly. Plan activities with safety in mind at all times.
· Take note of and act on, the advice and instructions from your leaders. Do not stray from the group.
· Be prepared for severe and changeable weather. Ensure that your equipment and clothing are of sufficient strength and quality to withstand Antarctic conditions. Remember that South Georgia's weather is unpredictable, so when ashore be prepared for the worst, however pleasant it may seem when setting out.
· Be aware of the location of the designated Specially Protected Areas and Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Entry into these areas is prohibited except by special permit.
· Do not walk on to glaciers or snowfields without proper equipment and experience. Surface conditions are constantly changing, particularly in the present period of glacial retreat.
· Avoid walking on fragile vegetation. A footprint on a moss bank may remain there a long time; trampling of vegetation, especially in wet and peaty soils, can cause significant erosion over time. Moss beds and the margins of streams and lakes are particularly fragile.
· Do not collect native plants.
· Always give animals the right-of-way.
· Be careful of the way in which you film or take photographs. Do not disturb plants or animals to get better pictures.
· Do not injure or kill reindeer, birds or other wildlife; or collect skulls, bones or eggs.
· Do not bring plants or animals ashore.
· Take back ALL rubbish, eg film wrappers, orange peel, tissues, paper, foil, to the ship. Rubbish takes a long time to break down, spoiling the natural appearance of the site and encouraging the presence of rats.
· Do not pollute lakes or streams.
· Do not remove, disturb or destroy any artefacts found at sealers' sites or in the whaling stations.
· Do not paint or engrave names or graffiti on rocks or buildings; or deface or vandalise any field huts or the buildings and other structures at the whaling stations.
· Do not enter emergency refuges (except in emergencies).
· Avoid marked sites where scientific experiments are going on and do not disturb any scientific equipment.
· Do not smoke where there might be a risk of starting a fire in buildings or in vegetation.
If permission is given for overnight stays ashore, then the following guidelines should be observed:
· All shore parties must have immediate support from their expedition vessel: there are no search and rescue facilities in South Georgia.
· If you can carry it in, you can carry it out. Return all rubbish to your support vessel. This also applies to any camping, climbing and mountaineering equipment.
· Use portable stoves and ensure that there is no danger of igniting the surrounding vegetation or peat.
· Do not use soap or detergents in fresh water streams or ponds. Carry washing water to the campsite and drain it into absorbent soil.
· Dispose of toilet wastes either directly into the sea or by burying in a shallow hole well away from fresh water.
WILDLIFE PROTECTION GUIDELINES
ALL visitors, tourists, scientists, journalists, military personnel, ships' crews must aim to minimise their personal impact on the environment by observing the following guidelines.
· Do not disturb mammals and birds.
· Do not use vessels, small boats, aircraft or other means of transport in ways that disturb wildlife, whether at sea or on land.
· Do not offer food to any animal.
· Do not bring any pets ashore. No animals of any kind may be imported to South Georgia (see section on Prohibition of Introduced Species).
· Be alert while ashore and particularly in the tussac grass. Watch your step in order not to stumble inadvertently upon an aggressive fur seal or a nesting bird, or to cause damage to seabird burrows, both in tussac and on scree.
· Stay on the edge of animal groups, approaching slowly and quietly. Avoid surrounding the groups during viewing. Back off if mammals or birds show any sign of being disturbed.
· Do not touch or attempt to touch any animals. Such action may cause substantial stress and disturbance.