South Georgia’s legendary Stromness
Stromness is perhaps the best-known whaling station in South Georgia. It was here that explorer Ernest Shackleton and two of his crewmen, Tom Crean and Frank Worsley, found help for the rest of their expedition team stranded on Elephant Island.
Stromness, the Shackleton Traverse, and Endurance shipwreck
After Shackleton’s Endurance was crushed by ice in the Weddell Sea, he and his crew made for Elephant Island using their small open-deck lifeboats. Shackleton and a small selection of his crew then sailed 1,336 km (830 miles) in one of these 6-meter (20-foot) lifeboats to South Georgia.
Picture by Barry Dench
After that, they had to hike 36 hours from Haakon Bay to Stromness to find help. This hike is known as the Shackleton Traverse, part of which you can walk with us.
On March 5, 2022, the Endurance was found in the Weddell Sea on the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s burial at Grytviken, South Georgia. Though we cannot sail to the area where it was discovered, our Weddell Sea trips often sail close to where Endurance sunk.
Picture by Gérard Bodineau
What you can see around Stromness
As with other abandoned whaling stations, there is an off-limits zone owing to the risk of asbestos and unstable buildings. Nonetheless, we may sometimes land at the beach outside this zone and walk the perimeter, seeing for ourselves the size of the station.
Other possibilities include a hike to the nearby Shackleton’s Waterfall or, as mentioned, a hike along the last part of Shackleton’s route (to or from Fortuna Bay). From the perimeter, you will be able to see the railway tracks used to transport goods around the station.
Picture by Sandra Petrowitz
Main image by Laura Mony