Grytviken Whaling Station Museum

Whale Hunting Ship in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Whale hunting ship in Grytviken, South Georgia Island.


Grytviken (Swedish for “the Pot Bay”) is a settlement in the British territory of South Georgia in the South Atlantic. It was so named in 1902 by the Swedish surveyor Johan Gunnar Andersson who found old English try pots used to render seal oil at the site. It is the best harbour on the island, consisting of a bay (King Edward Cove) within a bay (Cumberland East Bay). The site is quite sheltered, provides a substantial area of flat land suitable for building, and has a good supply of fresh water.

Grytviken used to a prosperous factory for whale hunting industry at its peak in early 1900s. However, whale population dwindles over time, and the station was closed in December 1966. Today the whaling station is a living museum, maintained by South Georgia Heritage Trust.

Old Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken Harbour (King Edward Cove) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Old whaling station in Grytviken Harbour

Today’s Itinerary – South Georgia Day 2

Whaling Station Village in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Grytviken, South Georgia Island

Whale-Catcher Ship in Grytviken Harbour (King Edward Cove) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Whale-catcher docked in Grytviken Harbour

Old Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Freezer Plant and Livestock. Production of frozen whale meat for human consumption took place at South Georgia only in the very last phase of whaling. Only the foundations of the Freezer Plant and Cold Store now remain. They had been erected in the Husvik whaling station in 1958 to supply meat for pet food. They were dismantled and moved to Grytviken in 1961/62 but the equipment was never re-installed. In the last two years of Grytviken’s operation, a Japanese company took meat for human consumption but it was frozen aboard a ship moored alongside the station. The Pig House and Hen House were sources of fresh food in the early days. Pigs were allowed to feed on scraps of meat on the Flensing Plan. Sheep and cattle were also kept for meat and milk. They were allowed to graze on the slopes around King Edward Cove.

Whale-Catcher with Harpoon in Grytviken Harbour (King Edward Cove) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: The whale-catcher ‘Petrel’ (245 tons, 115 feet) was built in Oslo (Nyland), Norway in 1928. 'Petrel' was one of the first whale-catchers to have a catwalk so the gunner could run from the bridge to the harpoon gun. She was converted for sealing in 1956 and the gun and catwalk were removed. (The harpoon gun is a recent addition.) Each summer ‘Petrel’ visited the beaches around South Georgia and brought back cargoes of seal blubber.

Whaling Ship with Harpoon in Grytviken Harbour (King Edward Cove) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Whale-catcher with harpoon docked in Grytviken Harbour.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: This area is where the whale-catchers were maintained and repaired. Maintenance took place over winter so that the vessels were ready when the crews arrived for the whaling season. Originally the vessels were pulled by a large winch up a slipway (demolished). The floating dock (sunk) was built in 1928. Steel plates for the hull were shaped in the Platers’ Shop. The large building ahead is the engineering workshops (mekanisk verksted). As well as the Engineers’ Shop, it housed the Foundry and Forge. An important job for the smiths was straightening harpoons for re-use. There were also carpenters’, pattern-makers’, plumbers’, and tinsmiths’ shops in Grytviken. Several stores served the fleet of whale-catchers and sealers. Most important were the Main Store and the Rope Store.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Meal Plant - Hvalmelfabrikken. Meatmeal and bonemeal were collectively called whalemeal. They were important products of the whaling industry. Meatmeal was used in cattle feed and bonemeal for fertilizer. Meat and bone residues arrived from the adjacent Meat and Bone Cookeries and Separator Plants after the oil had been extracted. They were fed separately into five cylindrical rotating ovens. As the meat and bone residues passed along the ovens, there were simultaneously dried by hot gases blown in from oil-fuelled furnaces and crushed into meal. After leaving the oven, the meal went through a crushing mill and cyclone separator that filtered meat and bone dust from the hot gases. Finally the meal was stored in bags, in a huge L-shaped shed (demolished) until they were taken by an overhead conveyor to a cargo ship. Baleen plates, or whalebone, were initially a valuable product used in brushes, hats, corsets, fishing rods, and many other applications but they were gradually replaced by plastics. Eventually, baleen was the only part of the whale not utilized.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Whaling Station Museum Tour in Grytviken, South Georgia Island.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Flensing Plan. Whales were cut up on a large wooden platform, the Flensing Plan, that covered this open space of about 0.8 acre. This is the centre of the station. A 50-tonne electric winch (removed) at the top of the Plan pulled the whales from the sea up the iron slipway. The blubber was removed by flensers armed with long-handled knives. Cable were attached to strips of blubber which were ripped off the carcass, like the skin from a banana, by steam winches and taken to the Blubber Cookery. Then the meat was cut off the bones by the lemmers and sent to the Meat Cookery. The bones were then pulled onto the roof of the Bone Cookery. On a good day about 30 fin whales, each 18m (60ft) long, could be processed in 24 hours. They yielded 200 tonnes of oil. The chains lying on the right of the Plan were used to fasten dead whales to the whale-catchers, for towing back to the whaling station. The largest blue whale ever recorded is 34.1m (112ft). It was killed and cut up here in 1912.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Meat Cookery. The meat was cooked to extract oil and the residue was processed into meatmeal. Large lumps of whalemeat, together with the tongue and guts, were dragged up the steal ramp and onto the Meat Loft. They were cut into smaller pieces by steamsaws and dropped into rotating, pressure cookers where the oil was extracted. On the left of the ramp, there are two Kvaerner Cookers and a small, older Hartmann Cooker to the right. These units replaced the traditional vertical cookers. The Rose-Downs Plant on the right of the ramp was an alternative treatment. It speeded the prcess by mincing, lightly cooking and then pressing the meat to extract the oil. Lumps of meat were taken by conveyor to the top and dropped into rotary cutters and distributed through presses, ovens and screens. This process produced a higher quality oil and a more protein-rich meat residue than the rotating cookers.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Blubber Cookery. Oil was extracted from the whale blubber into two rows of 12 tall Pressure Cookers. The strips of blubber from the flensing plan were cut into small pieces by a Rotating Cutter, carried up in a bucket-conveyor and dropped into the Pressure Cookers. The blubber was boiled by blowing in steam until the oil separated out. Each cooker held about 24 tonne of blubber which was cooked for approximately 5 hours at 1.7kg/sq cm (60 lbs/sq in) steam pressure. The oil was then piped to the Separator Plant for purification. The Meat Extract Plant was built in 1960 and became a very profitable part of the operation. Presses and evaporators extracted fluids from whalemeat to make a thick, flavourful and valuable product used for making soups and sauces. The Boilers at the back raised steam for the cookers and driving the winches. Another boiler house, on the other side of the plan, has been demolished.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken.

Grytviken Harbour (King Edward Cove) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Grytviken Harbour (King Edward Cove).

Replica of the James Caird in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Replica of the James Caird

History of James Caird

This replica was built by Robert Wallace in Massachusetts, USA in 2000. It was used in the Shackleton IMAX movie, Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, in which Robert sailed the replica as Sir Ernest Shackleton.

This replica is built to represent how the James Caird would have looked on the journey from Elephant island to South Georgia. The sides of the original were heightened and canvas covered decking was added prior to their departure to give some protection from the elements during their trip. Shortly after their arrival in South Georgia, the topsides were removed to make it easier to pull the James Caird above the waterline.

Length 24 feet. Beam 6 feet 4 inches.

The hull is mahogany planked over steam bent oak. The deck is mahogany and the masts and spars are made from fir.
Windproof polar suit displayed in the James Caird replica was made from a bolt of Burberry cloth which was left over from Shackleton’s original expedition.

This costume was used in the filming of Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, which was made in South Georgia and Antarctica in 1999-2000 and was released in 2001.

Replica of the James Caird in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Replica of the James Caird

Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Grytviken, South Georgia Island

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Grytviken Old Whaling Station Museum, viewed from King Edward Cove.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Grytviken Old Whaling Station Museum, viewed from King Edward Cove.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Grytviken Old Whaling Station Museum, viewed from Gull Lake hiking trail.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Grytviken Old Whaling Station Museum, viewed from Gull Lake hiking trail.

Whaling Station Museum in Grytviken (King Edward Point) - South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - A&K Le Boreal Antarctica Cruise Trip | FollowPanda.COM

January 12, 2014: Grytviken Old Whaling Station Museum, viewed from Gull Lake hiking trail.

Today’s Meal

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