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The South Georgia Traverse will take place in 2016
In May 1916 Shackleton and two of his loyal companions set out on an unprecedented crossing of the South Georgia icecap to reach the whaling station of Stromness and seek help for his party left behind on Elephant Island.

Charlie Paton and Ice Tracks Expeditions are delighted to share with you the final commemorative voyage for the Centenary of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

Map of Ice Tracks' planned journey, 2016
Honouring Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men of the Endurance and the Ross Sea Party is at the very heart of this unique voyage, therefore we have incorporated special activities and events, including the crossing of the South Georgia icecap, led by the remarkable polar adventurer, Charlie Paton (b. 1970), a former Royal Marine, and the first Scotsman to walk unsupported to the Geographic North Pole from Canada.

Making the Traverse with Ice Tracks with group leader Charlie Paton
There are two ways to participate in this superb Shackleton Centenary Expedition. The South Georgia Traverse is a four day ski crossing through the island's interior; or if camping and sled hauling aren't your style, you can remain with the cruise and explore the magical coast of South Georgia.

Penguins are the chief inhabitants of South Georgia
For those not taking part in the crossing, We are planning some spectacular hikes, including meeting Charlie's traverse party in Fortuna Bay and joining them on the final miles of this unique traverse. Afterwards we all visit the historic whaling station of Grytviken (where Shackleton and Wild are buried).

See the full itinerary, and other Ice Tracks Expeditions

The crossing of South Georgia will require four days of hiking and camping. Please register your interest as soon as possible, as only 15 places are available for the crossing.

Read about Ice Tracks

The climbers starting point will be that of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, the seldom visited and glorious King Haakon Bay on the southern coast of the Island.

Elephant Island is high on our agenda: we hope to pay tribute to Frank Wild and those men that endured four long, dark months waiting for the Boss to return.

The Ice Tracks ship, Hebridean Sea
We will continue to head South to the Antarctic Peninsula and into the ice of the Weddell Sea to experience the breath-taking vistas, peppered with cobalt blue ice bergs that dwarf everything in their midst!

Some of the remarkable Antarctic ice formations
Ice Tracks ran the Shackleton Centenary Voyage in 2014 and we are returning South in November 2015. We truly believe that Ice Tracks' experience combined with Charlie's Polar expertise will make the Grand Finale of the Shackleton Centenary Voyage 2016 not only one of the most successful voyages but a historical event not to be missed by those inspired by "the boss"'s achievements.

Charlie Paton, leader of the South Georgia Traverse
The South Georgia Traverse is a self-supported expedition for people who are eager to push themselves physically and mentally. The participants will need to demonstrate knowledge and previous experience, although with the right training the traverse can be taken on by novices. All Traverse trekkers will be expected to attend a compulsory training weekend during 2016. The group size will have a maximum of 12 participants/trekkers and they will be accompanied by 3 qualified mountain guides with extensive guiding experience in the Polar Regions, led by Charlie Paton.

The cost of the South Georgia Traverse is USD $5,250 per person above the price of the voyage. We will also be offering a Sea Kayaking Program for a close group of 16 paddlers. Participants will need to demonstrate some paddling experience. We will have 2 qualified and experienced Sea Kayak guides who will take the kayakers on excursions during the entire duration of the expedition, weather and ocean conditions permitting. The cost of the Sea Kayaking Program is USD $795 per person above the price of the voyage.

See the prices for the tour, and other options

To contact Ice Tracks, email
To reach the expedition leader, email

The Ice Tracks logo




Alan Wordie, the grandson of Sir James Wordie
Alan Wordie, grandson of James (later Sir James) Wordie, the Physicist aboard Shackleton's Endurance expedition, has written to describe his own journey to the far South with Ice Tracks Expeditions.

Alan talks about his visits to The Falkland Isles, South Georgia and Elephant Island, and comments: 'The stormy arrivals at Elephant Island and Peggotty Beach were the two highlights of my trip. There was a wonderful contrast at times when the natural ice sculptures refracted and provide enchanting blue colours. Antarctica itself is a continent to marvel at; and we should not forget the place of the tiny krill in the large mammal food chain. It stopped me in my tracks!

Alan Wordie with members of the Ice Tracks team
'Before the expedition I had read about men living off seal and penguin, rowing and sailing in the Antarctic winter, and keeping their inner flame alight. But until I had felt and touched the cold, the wind and the storms, I had no idea.

'Now having made this trip I can fully respect Shackleton, his crew and especially my own flesh and blood, Sir James Wordie – a great man.'

Read the article 'In My grandfather's footsteps' by Alan Wordie

James Wordie went on to make further Polar travels for the purpose of research. Capping a distinguished academic career he was latterly elected Master of St. John's College, Cambridge and became President of the Royal Geographical Society.

James Wordie's life and travels in both the Antarctic and Arctic are retold in Michael Smith's book Polar Crusader, which is published by Birlinn Books,

James Wordie - another of Michael Smith's fine biographies
Pen Hadow wrote in Geographical Magazine 'To read of Wordie’s life is to reach deep into the heart of British exploration – and to feel it pulsating as it metamorphosed from the Heroic to the Modern Age. He’s the real deal and absolutely worthy of such an engaging biography.'

Wordie, Cheetham and Macklin take their turn at scrubbing out below deck on Endurance, the picturesque scene captured by Frank Hurley




A safe pair of hands - Cheesemans Ecology Safaris
Gail Cheeseman has written from the US to announce an attractive special offer for James Caird Society members or their friends and acquaintances.

In October 2015 Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris will be conducting a special charter trip to South Georgia in honour of the Shackleton100 celebrations.

The South Georgia trip to celebrate Shackleton100
In a one-of-a-kind expedition, the exciting plan is for experts to lead a 25-30 mile (two to three day) trek across South Georgia, retracing the journey of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Frank Worsley and Tom Crean in 1916.

The fabulous mountain scenery of South Georgia
After the dramatic crossing of this Subantarctic island, with magnificent views on every side, all the adventurers will have more than a week to explore this remote, mountainous land covered by glaciers glimmering like frozen waterfalls and teeming with exotic wildlife, including elephant seals, wandering albatrosses and king penguins in great numbers.

For more information.visit the Cheesemans website

South Georgia is quite simply one of the most breathtaking places on earth.

One of the island's extensive Penguin colonies - this one is at St.Andrew's Bay
Intriguingly, one of the guides leading the journey will be Tashi Tenzing, who is the grandson of Tenzing Norgay, the sherpa who with Sir Edmund Hillary made the first ascent of Mount Everest half a century ago.

Tashi Tenzing, grandson of the conqueror of Everest and himself a superb group leader
Tashi Tenzing with a picture of the Polar regions he knows so well
For every booking made where the person signs up through hearing about the adventure through the James Caird Society, whether members or friends or simply someone whose attention is drawn to Cheesemans, the company has said it would be happy to make a $500 donation to the Society.

Each person who makes a reservation for the trip is also asked how he or she heard about the it, so we do keep careful track of referrals.

The offer comes at the suggestion of B.J. Bjorken, whom many will recognise as a member of the James Caird Society for many years. He will be one of those making the voyage.

Read all about Cheesemans' worldwide activities

Cheesemans has a fine and impressive reputation. With 30 years of leading expeditions across the world and 20 years of invaluable experience in the Antarctic regions, the company is widely known and admired for its elite group and party leaders, its wildlife and photography experts, and its significant low ration of participants to leader. It also utilises the maximum time ashore and is known for its renowned skill at making the best possible use of unpredictable weather.

With its wide experience, Cheesemans will take you on ther journey of a lifetime
Tributes include:
"This is without question the best trip for people who want the maximum time in the field and the opportunity to explore on their own."
(Doug Beecroft, Antarctica 2011-12)
"Cheesemans' veteran guides know the Falklands, South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula well. Their expertise made this, my third Antarctic trip with Cheesemans', a spectacular journey — spiritual, fun and adventurous. No one can top them." — Vicky Cooper
"The trip was superb! The expertise, enthusiasm and flexibility of the leaders and staff made an unbeatable combination." — Peter Macek

Penguins on the march - in South Georgia you virtually live among them
Full details are on the Cheesemans' website. Contact details are below:
Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris
20800 Kittridge Road
California 95070
Tel. 1-800-527-5330




News has arrived from Poland of an exciting new venture leaving Britain to commemorate Shackleton's Endurance Centenary.

Piotr Mikolajewski, the owner of the SY Polonus and chairman of the association 'Żeglujmy razem' ('Let’s sail together), the main organiser of the Shackleton Memorial events 2014
Expedition Shackleton 2014: Sir Ernest Shackleton Sailing Memorial is being organised by the Polish sailing association "Żeglujmy Razem", 'Let's saily together', under the leadership of its chairman, Piotr Mikołajewski, who proposes: "Let’s commemorate a great explorer!"

Visit the expedition's website

The Memorial Commemoration and voyage takes place under the auspices of the ambassadors of Ireland and Great Britain to Poland. The expedition is financed by the participants themselves, and by sponsors; the sailing magazines "Wiatr" and "Żagle", a well as Polish Radio III and Polsat Television, will serve as informational sponsors.

main sponsorsprincipal sponsors
major sponsorslead sponsors of the event
The main goal is to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton's Imperial Transantarctic Expedition of 2012-6; and to familiarize the general public with its main protagonist and his courageous companions.

Visit the expedition's website

Subscribe to the Expedition newsletter (see application at bottom of page)

Over a dozen yachts from Poland and other European countries will launch out for the south Atlantic, pausing en route at fixed ports of call, all of which bear a direct relation to Shackleton's Endurance_ expedition

The Memorial expedition's Shackleton logo
The Memorial expedition kicks off in London on Wednesday 30 July 2014 with a gathering of yachts and crews and the festive hoisting of the expedition's colours. The first leg begins on Friday 1st of August, 2014.

The final meet-up is scheduled to take place on 5th of January 2015 at Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave in Grytviken, on the 93rd anniversary of his death.

Find out more at the Memorial Expedition's website

See the S/Y Polonus's planned route and schedule

Friday 1 August marks the start of the first leg to Plymouth, with a distance of 330 Nautical Miles. Participating yachts should leave Plymouth on Friday 8 August and proceed South.

The S/Y Polonus, which will head part of the flotillaS/Y POlonus
The suggested route leads via Lisbon, Las Palmas, Dakar, selected Brazilian ports like Recife or Rio de Janeiro, and thence to Punta del Este in Uruguay.

The third rally point is Port Stanley, Falkland Islands. Yachts should reach it by Friday 12 December 2014, after covering about 7,770 Nautical Miles.

Piotr Mikołajewski with sundry crew members and friends  of the project
Each of the crews can then choose ONE of three suggested routes from the Falklands to Grytviken:
- via the South Shetland Islands, Elephant Island and South Georgia
- via South Georgia
- via The Magellan Strait, Cape Horn and Elephant Island

It is of the utmost importance for all crews to arrive at Sir Ernest Shackleton's grave by noon on Monday 5th of January 2015.

There is no specification as to the route of the return voyage.

The S/Y Polonus will serve as the expedition's flagship. This Bruceo 44 steel ketch with 860 square feet of sail area, and with its home port in Szczecin, on the Baltic, remains at our association's disposal.

The S/Y Polonus proved its merits in several demanding voyages including:
Svalbard (Spitsbergen) in 2008; around Iceland in 2010; and "Following S/Y Śmiały" in 2011/2012 across the Atlantic from Greenland to the Antarctic, and along the Pacific coast of Southern America.

A view of the Polonus
This epic last voyage was honoured with the "Golden Omega" and "Event of the Year" by the Sailing Association of Wielkopolska (Old Poland). It was also nominated for the Polish "Voyage of the Year" award.

Colours, flags and motto: As the Shackleton Memorial is expected to be an international expedition, each participating yacht will fly its national ensign. The expedition's colours and motto depend on sponsors' requests.
There will be an expedition's burgee, designed by the organiser and approved by honorary patrons, which will be flown from the port spreader by all participating yachts.

Read all about the 2014 Memorial Expedition on the website

Contact: Andrzej Minkiewicz email: For more information please visit

The Polonus's routes and stopping points on the Shackleton Memorial Expedition




Tim Jarvis's sextet of intrepid Shackleton re-enacters, triumphant at reaching the west (south) coast of South Georgia, after a gruelling 12 days sail in often stormy seas
Sunday 3 February 2013: At 15.30 hrs. GMT six heavily bearded, exhausted but jubilant adventurers led by Tim Jarvis took advantage of 15-20 knot winds and a 2 metre swell to help them land the Alexandra Shackleton, their 22/23 ft. James Caird replica, on the beach at Peggotty Bluff, South Georgia - the exact location where Sir Ernest Shackleton and his men landed on 10 May 1916, nearly 100 years ago.

Tim Jarvis looking rather as Shackleton might have looked before the boat journey, photographed by the 6 man team's photographer Ed Wardle
These intrepid British and Australian adventurers - three of them still have a taxing and dangerous climb ahead of them, like Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, across treacherous mountains and glaciers - have made it successfully through Leg One of the historic re-enactment of Shackleton and Frank Worsley's desperate voyage to get help in 1916, which resulted in their reaching Stromness on 20 May and effecting the subsequent rescue of all their men.

A memorable photocall aboard the Alexandra Shackleton: the challenge lies ahead
The Shackleton Epic is aiming to become the first expedition to re-enact authentically Shackleton’s legendary voyage of survival, honouring the great leader as the Centenary of his daring Endurance expedition approaches (1914-1916).

The journey begins amid the treacherous bergs off the Antarctic peninsula
Marching into history - the expedition's boat The Alexandra Shackleton
It took Jarvis and co. just 12 days to sail the 800 nautical miles from Elephant Island, an altogether smoother, more unruffled and less neck-breaking journey than that which it took the James Caird an exhausting 17 days to complete (24 Apr-10 May '16).

A celebratory cuddle for those who have survived unexpectedly treacherous conditions not so far from those that assailed Shackleton's team in 1916
But the present day commemorative expedition is distinctly arduous too. It now faces its perhaps most rigorous test. Now three of the team - expedition leader Tim Jarvis, mountaineer Barry Gray and cameraman/mountaineer Ed Wardle - are preparing to climb across its mountainous, crevassed interior to reach the whaling station at Stromness – just as, after a seven-day rest, Shackleton, Worsley and Crean did in 1916.

Anthony McKee's atmospheric, shadowy, imposing portrait of Shackleton Epic expedition leader Tim Jarvis
Tim Jarvis (46), the Epic Expedition's leader and coordinator, relieved and elated, notes "The Alexandra Shackleton really stood up well to the conditions. As an exact replica of the James Caird, she was designed as a lifeboat and that’s exactly how she performed. She did brilliantly. But steering her was a challenge that required enormous strength and focus."

Read about the expedition's faithful and accurate James Caird replica, the Alexandra Shackleton, honouring the explorer's granddaughter and President of the James Caird Society, patron of the expedition

Visit the expedition blog

"There was just no way to keep dry. The waterproofing with wax didn’t work. Below deck, the boat was constantly damp and being on watch meant that you were directly exposed to the elements. On a few occasions a big wave washed over the deck and down the hatch soaking everything down below."

"As more moisture worked its way into the boat," puts in bosun Seb Coulthard, "the reindeer skins began to get wet and shed. The reindeer hair went absolutely everywhere – it was in your food, your drink, your clothing, your socks – everywhere!"

Working alongside his fellow sailors, the  boat's Skipper Nick Bubb and Bosun Seb Coultard Seb Couthard, Paul Larsen kept the Alexandra Shackleton on course for King Haakon Bay, South Georgia, through storms, high seas and driving rain
Paul Larsen, who as the Frank Worsley of the party steered the boat on a solid course to South Georgia with only a few days of sunshine to record accurate sun sights using traditional celestial navigation, said:
"Putting on your traditional outer gear at night in the dark was like putting on a cold, animal carcass."

See a film about the Epic expedition

What's it feel like? Read an expedition Q&A interview with Seb Coulthard

Not much chance to relax put your feet up, then. Thank God for the food, even when it ws only hoosh shovelled up or slooshed around by the team's masterchef (the Charlie Green of their party) and soon to be their mountain leader, Barry Gray.

It demands a few accolades. "I’m immensely proud of this crew", Jarvis continues. "They all performed incredibly well under such dire circumstances and the fact that we managed to sail 800 nautical miles in such a small vessel really shows what solid performers they are individually, and how incredibly well we worked together as a team."

Visit the Epic expedition's extensive photo galleries

The six-man crew consisted of skipper Nick Bubb, a veteran round the world sailor who is famous for his few words; Australian navigator Paul Larsen; bosun Seb Coulthard, who oversaw the launch of the boat at Weymouth; mountaineer/cook Barry Gray; and cameraman/mountaineer Ed Wardle, who - a veteran of two successful Everest climbs - concedes "This was genuinely the hardest thing I have ever done. In the first few days it was really hard to get any footage at all: one wwas in basic survival mode. But when that storm hit we were riding really HUGE waves – it was terrifying."

Closer, indeed, to what Shackleton experienced than anyone might have expected (the storm as the James Caird tried to put in to South Georgia nearly did for them all in 1916). Thank heavens there were no 90 foot waves.

Ready for the up: the safety and security of the 3-man overland team will hing largely on the expertise and judgment of mountaineer Barr Gray. One foot wrong and ...all might not be well
The Epic Expedition 6-man crew will now rest for a day or so onshore before preparing for the climb by Jarvis, Gray and Wardle. Each will climb using traditional gear, while Coulthard, Bubb and Larsen will use modern gear and follow in a second party with a film crew. The planning, as always, seems impeccable.

You can send messages of goodwill to the expedition as it embarks on and completes it final stages by emailing A copy of your message will appear on the expedition website.

The James Caird battles the south Atlantic against near-insuperable odds
another powerful image evoking the the James Caird's nightmarish crossing of the southern oceans




The South Georgia Museum - an aerial view of the handsome complex
The Museum of South Georgia reports the exciting news that one of the most important documents of the entire Endurance expedition has been presented to the Museum, in time for the Centenary.

Thomas Kennedy writes: 'The South Georgia Museum, located at Grytviken, has recently acquired Frank Worsley's almanac which was used between Elephant Island and South Georgia.

The Almanac used by Worsley aboard the James Caird. That it has survived, tattered but magnificent, seems a miracle
'It was given to Reginald James (1891-1964), Physicist on the Endurance expedition, as a memento by Frank Worsley, and has been in the possession of the James family ever since.

Visit the South Georgia Museum website

Watch the almanac handover ceremony on YouTube

'David James, the son of Reginald James, has kindly donated the almanac to the museum on behalf of the James family.'

Professor Reginald James, eminent physicist and Vice Chancellor, and one of Shackleton's men who were trapped on Elephant IslandReginald James and Leonard Hussey aboard Endurance in the laboratory nicknamed 'The Rookery'
A note included with the almanac, written by Prof. Reginald James, who was later Vice-Chancellor and Acting Principal of Cape Town University, reads:

"Nautical Almanac used by Captain Worsley in navigating the James Caird from Elephant Island to South Georgia, April 24th to May 1916. Given to me by Worsley in Punta Arenas".

A close up shows the individual columns of Worsley's reference work. For brief details of naval almanacs, see below
Captain Thilo Natke of the cruise ship Hanseatic, born in Hamburg and himself a veteran of over 100 Antarctic and Arctic cruises (including at least four times navigating the legendary and terrifying North-West passage), very kindly couriered the almanac down to the South Georgia Museum.

Captain Thilo Natke, whose ship Hanseatic safely delivered the Worsley Almanac Sarah Lurcock is Director of the South Georgia Heritage Trust, which administers the pioneering, well-stocked South Georgia museum
'There was a short ceremony with an accompanying speech by the Museum Director, Sarah Lurcock, and Capt.Natke, while Thomas Kennedy unwrapped and displayed the artefact.

Unveiling and handing over ceremony of Frank Worsley's almanac on board the Hanseatic, with Sarah Lurcock, Thilo Natke, biologist and wildlife expert Sylvia Stevens and Thomas Kennedy (2012/13 Museum Intern) and others
'The South Georgia Museum,' Mr. Kennedy confirmed, 'is thrilled to bits to have this amazing artefact on show. It is displayed with a number of other Shackleton-related artefacts previously donated to the museum.'

The South Georgia Museum team: Sarah Lurcock, Gemma French, Darren Blanche, Thomas Kennedy
A nautical almanac, records Wikipedia, "is a publication describing the positions of a selection of celestial bodies for the purpose of enabling navigators to use celestial navigation to determine the position of their ship while at sea.

The South Georgia museum - a haven of the treasures of exploration

"The Almanac specifies for each whole hour of the year the position on the Earth's surface (in declination and Greenwich hour angle) at which the sun, moon, planets and first point of Aries is directly overhead. The positions of 57 selected stars are specified relative to the first point of Aries."

Nothing like consulting it amid cloud, ice, storms and 90 foot waves.

A close-up of the bottom of the front page (see above)
The South Georgia Museum. As much sun as snow...
Visit Tom Kennedy's South Georgia blog - and pose him questions




Shackleton's planned route in 1914/15

JCS Meeting, Autumn 2012
For more information, visit the James Caird Society homepage (
Bob Burton is one of the world's experts on the natural world and a highly regarded authority on South Georgia, where he was instrumental in setting up the magnificent collection at the island's admirable Museum.
Robert W Burton's travels have taken him from pole to pole in searchof the natural worldThe southern seas are well known to Bob Burton during his many journeys
Details here of all Robert W Burton's many books, especially those on birds and wildlife

Read more about Bob and his nature interests on his page at NTLWorld

Bob Burton's knowledgeable writings on birds and South Georgia have become classics of their kind. He also edits the Newsletter of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS)




Oceanwide Expeditions
Oceanwide Expeditions have approached the James Caird Society's Chairman, Admiral Sir James Perowne, with an interesting offer of a 20 per cent discount for JCS members on the cruise/expedition to South Georgia from 3-17 December this year.

It will offer for the adventurous a chance (optional) of crossing South Georgia from King Haakon Bay to Stromness on foot (snow-shoeing), and (also optional) of ski-trekking across the Shackleton Traverse, pulling pulks (Finnish pulkka: a short, low-slung small toboggan).

This 2011 crossing will imitate (broadly) the journey that Shackleton, Worsley and Crean undertook to fetch help after landing in the James Caird at 5.00 p.m. on Wed 10 May (May Day!) 1916.

View from the Sea towards South Georgiapart of the mountains of South Georgia
The Oceanwide prices for this cruise start at Euros 7000 before the 20% discount - so it is not cheap!!

Read Oceanwide's description of South Georgia with (at bottom) a summary of their cruises

See full details, including prices (in Euros/Dollars), of the South Georgia expedition

However it is obviously a great opportunity. The expedition (ref. PLA 23) will last 15 days and 14 nights, i.e. just over a fortnight. Oceanwide has experience of leading expeditions to many places in the Arctic, sub-Arctic north, South Atlantic and Antarctic.

Would anyone who is, or might be, interested please contact James Perowne - who guarantees he has no financial interest in this!!

please contact James Perowne if interested

See details of Oceanwide's various expedition and team leaders

See details of the Cruise, ship, the Dutch-built 'MV Plancius'

Frequently asked questions relating to Oceanwide's cruises

How to contact Oceanwide

Hauling a paulkSnowshoeing Approaching Trident Ridge in the South Georgia mountains - a key point in Shackleton's crossing
Snowshoeing in fileMV PlanciusSnoeshoeing in a spread out team
Oceanwide Expeditions




The attractive exterior of the South Georgia Museum
The glorious South Georgia Museum, housed in the former Grytviken whalers' manager's villa, now completely revamped and renovated and taken over by the South Georgia Heritage Trust in 2006, is one of the most encouraging developments in heritage preservation of recent years. The Museum is a testimony to South Georgian life, and it commemorates both the whalers who worked on the island over generations and those such as Shackleton and his five fellow James Caird sailors who were at such a crucial time dependent on the Norwegians' ready kindness, bonhomie, care and hospitality, and ultimately for their very lives.

Visit the new Carr Maritime Gallery

The museum is housed in what was formerly the Manager's villa for the busy whaling station in Grytviken, above which Shackleton is buried. Initially conceived as a whaling museum, it scope now embraces many aspects of South Georgia's heritage and also natural history.

Perhaps the most satisfying news for Shackleton enthusiasts is that the Museum has now acquired, thanks to diligent fundraising by the SGHT, a replica of the James Caird.

The handsome James Caird replica
The replica is the work of Bob Wallace, who built it to be used in the filming of the superb Imax film about Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance expedition, back in 2000. You can read about its arrival at Grytviken and hear Bob Wallace talking about it by following the links below.

The Carr Maritime Gallery, which houses the replica of the James Caird, is full of Shackleton memorabilia - a fine display for the visitorThe IMAX replica handsomely displayed in situ in the South Georgia Museum's Carr Maritime Gallery
The Museum is constantly moving forward and exploring new ways of reaching out to the many visitors who arrive, a lot from cruise ships, during the southern summer months. For instance, a new Maritime gallery has been opened (which contains the James Caird replica). And items from Shackleton House, previously used to house the military personnel at King Edward Point, were moved to the Museum for safekeeping when Shackleton House was demolished in 2001. The material - a time capsule of life in this South Georgia community - are carefully being catalogued and preserved.

South Georgia Museum and logo 600 126
Exhibits reach back as far as sealing in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and take in the early days of whaling, modern whaling techniques, and the whalers' social life. But they also embrace discovery and exploration, of which Sir Ernest Shackleton is an important part, plus the history of mountaineering and surveying expeditions, maritime history and natural history. Displays also cover the 1982 Falklands conflict which started at South Georgia, and the subsequent British military presence until 2001.

Captain Larsen, Norwegian founder of Grytviken in 1904, was also the builder of the church where he is honoured by this bust
Sir Ernest Shackleton's walking stick, an exhibit at the MuseumTwo fragments of the original James Caird which are displayed at the Museum
The settlement at Grytviken was established on November 16, 1904, by the Norwegian sea captain Carl Anton Larsen, who was born in Sandefjord, Norway (where Shackleton's Endurance was built) and in 1910 was granted British citizenship. Larsen chose its uniquely well-protected site (it has two bays) during his 1902 visit commanding the ship Antarctic on the Swedish Antarctic Expedition (1901–03) led by Otto Nordenskjöld. The name Grytviken (Pot Cove) was given it because 'Try-pots' were used by previous sealers to boil seal oil. One of them is preserved at the Museum.

Stromness remainsGrytviken from above
The legacy of StromnessThe abandoned whaling station at Stromness
Larsen organized the construction of Grytviken by a team of sixty Norwegians in just over a month, for the opening of the new whale-oil factory in December 1904. Around 300 men worked at the station during its heyday, operating in summer from October to March. A few remained through winter to maintain the boats and factory.

The (originally, Whaling) Museum was originally conceived by David Wynn-Williams, a British Antarctic scientist, and then taken forward by the biologist, naturalist and conservationist Nigel Bonner, a former Deputy Director of the British Antarctic Survey, whose links with the island likewise date back to 1953. It was set up with funding from the South Georgia Government and the enthusiastic assistance of a small team, in 1991. In 2006 the South Georgia Heritage Trust took over the management of the Museum.

The superbly preserved Norwegian whalers' church in Grytviken
Read about the setting up of the South Georgia Museum

The Trust also looks after Grytviken's Norwegian Church. The Church was planned by Grytviken's founder Captain Larsen, built in Norway and brought from there to be assembled in South Georgia in 1913. The two church bells were cast in Tønsberg, Norway, and were first rung at midnight on Christmas Eve that year, and the church was consecrated on Christmas Day. The Trust likewise looks after the Grytviken cemetery where Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) is buried.

Sir Ernest Shackleton's interment at Grytviken cemeterysome of the faces around the coffin at Shackleton's funeral
Elsa Davidson is the Curator of Grytviken's South Georgia Museum, which also looks after the Whalers' Church and the Cemetery. If you would like further information about the collection please email her at the Museum (

The Museum's curator, Elsa Davidson, with SPRI and James Caird Society stalwart and inimkitable Antarctic expert Bob HeadlandCurator Elsa Davidson at her desk: running a flourishing museum and dealing with visitors and enquiries is a busy task
The Museum is surprisingly extensive, consisting of many rooms : the Bonner Room, Fullerton Room, Larsen Room, Ringdal or Whalers Bunk Room, Whalers Trades Room, Allardyce Room, Prince Room, Jarvis Room, The Carr Maritime Gallery. Each is pictured on the front page of the Museum's website.

Recent books about South Georgia

Read about the history of the museum, originally the whalers' Manager's house

Read Elsa Davidson's latest blog from the South Georgia Museum

The many galleried interior of the carefully curated South Georgia museum
The section of the museum that forms a memorial tribute to Shackleton
View other items from the Museum with a Shackleton connection, including his Nimrod compass

Choose from a variety of YouTube films about Shackleton and South Georgia

watch a rather good 10 minute YouTube film about South Georgia

Read about the South Georgia Heritage Trust




Scott's (and Shackleton's) Discovery exhibited at Discovery Point, Dundee
A two-day conference is to be held from Wednesday 7 to Friday 9 September 2011 in association with The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage and the South Georgia Association), with generous support from Institut Minos and the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Read more about the South Georgia conference

The event will be staged at Verdant Works & Discovery Point, Dundee, Scotland.

The Verdant Jute works - a vital part of Dundee Heritage Trust. They also remind us that Shackleton's main sponsor for the Endurance expedition, Sir James Caird, was a jute manufacturer and Dundee's leading philanthropist
The Wednesday evening opening lecture will be given by Gill Poulter, Dundee Heritage Trust, on 'Verdant Works and RRS Discovery in the context of whaling and Industrial Heritage in Dundee'.

On Thursday morning Susan Barr, President, International Polar Heritage Committee (ICOMOS) will discuss 'Polar Heritage - Neglected Child Becomes International Talking Point'.

Discovery Point, Dundee - a gateway to Antarctica
During Session 1 (The Value of Industrial & Cultural Heritage Sites in Polar Regions), Dr. Dag Avango, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm and Professor Louwrens Hacquebord, Arctic Centre, University of Groningen, Holland will talk on 'The value of industrial heritage sites in the polar areas as sources for historical research' and Michael Morrison, Purcell Miller Tritton LLP, on 'The present condition of the South Georgia Whaling Stations following an inspection in November 2010.'

Grytviken, South Georgia around the time of Shackleton's death in 1922
Read full details of the planned programme

Gustav Rossnes, Directorate for Cultural Heritage, Norway, will talk 'Of Whales and men – details of an industry: Reflections on the value of the historical remains found in Prince Olav Harbour, South Georgia' and Expedition Leader David Fletcher on 'South Georgia’s Industrial Heritage, an added bonus for tourists'.

South Georgia's industrial heritage includes the whaling station at Stromness where Shackleton finally reached help
During Session 2 (Recording, Researching and Interpreting Heritage Sites)
Ulf Gustafsson of the Arctic Centre, University of Groningen will discuss 'Surveys of whaling stations at South Georgia: From NARE to LASHIPA and beyond'.

Bob Burton, naturalist and former Director of the South Georgia Museum, a renowned lecturer on South Georgia and polar matters
Robert Burton, an inaugural James Caird Society member, former Director of the South Georgia MMuseum and a leading light of the South Georgia Association (he first visited the island in 1964), will examine 'A forgotten heritage: lights and beacons of South Georgia'.

Bob Burton's book (with Stephen Venables) about South Georgia and Shackleton
Elsa Davidson, Curator, South Georgia Museum, will introduce 'The South Georgia Museum ex-whalers oral history project: recording the human history of the whaling industry'; and Dan Atkinson, Headland Archaeology Bunaveneader, will speak on 'A whaling station from the Scottish context'.

Elsa Davidson, Curator of the South Georgia Museum
In Session 3 (Strategies and management of cultural and industrial heritage site) Stuart B. Smith, of The International Committee for the Conservation of Industrial Heritage (TICCIH) will reflect on 'Large scale industrial preservation and environmental problems' and Dr Nathalie Moreigneaux, who is i/c Heritage, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, will talk about 'A new vision of preservation: the laser programme of the whaling station at Port-Jeanne d’Arc at Kerguelen'. Martin Collins or Nigel Haywood, GSGSSI will explore 'The GSGSSI strategy and position on cultural and industrial heritage on South Georgia'.

South Georgian residents (numerous)
This continues on Friday with Tudor Morgan, UK Antarctic Heritage Trust, on 'Conserving and managing historic sites on the Antarctic Peninsula',
Knut M Ore, Chairman, Kings Bay Ltd., on 'Ny Ålesund, Svalbard – New uses and cultural heritage' and Dr. Frederik Paulsen, Chairman, Ferring Pharmaceuticals Group, who will deliver the David Nicholls Memorial Lecture.

Workshops follow on 1. Cultural Heritage management priorities on South Georgia 2. The future of South Georgia’s former whaling stations and 3. Cultural heritage research priorities on South Georgia

workers at Dundee's Verdant jute works in their heyday
There will also be tours of the Verdant Works (built in 1833, Verdant Works is the last working jute mill in Scotland and is now part of the Dundee Heritage Trust's unique collection; three years after opening in 1986 it was named European Industrial Museum of the Year); and Captain Scott's Ship RRS Discovery; and also a reception, dinner and a party (celidh) aboard the Frigate Unicorn; also an optional walking tour of Dundee on the Friday and a visit to McManus Gallery, highlighting whaling heritage of Dundee.

A striking view across the smoking jute mills of Dundee. The jute industry is of added interest to Shackletonians as Sir James Caird, the sponsor of Shackleton's Endurance expedition and a leading Dundee philanthropist, was a jute manufacturer




The very active South Georgia Heritage Trust
The South Georgia Heritage Trust is currently seeking a new Director.

The advertisement on its website says, 'The Trust is seeking a Director based at South Georgia Museum from October to March.'

This is obviously a very important post: the preservation of the history, heritage and wildlife of the island, as also its rle in the story of Shackleton, is of paramount importance.

Visit the South Georgia Heritage Trust's website

Find out more details about the SGHT Director's job

The Trust, which itself is based in Dundee, aims to:-

Conserve and protect those species of indigenous fauna and flora that breed and live on South Georgia or in the surrounding seas and to raise awareness of South Georgia’s threatened species, and

Preserve the historical heritage of South Georgia, including selected historical sites of importance, and increase international awareness of the human history of the island through the South Georgia Museum. The Trust has been responsible for the management of the Museum since 2006.

The view used by the South Georgia Heritage Trust as part of its front logo
Make a donation to the valuable work of the South Georgia Heritage Trust




This Exhibition staged at Dulwich is the work of seven artists who have visited the Antarctic Region and South Georgia.

It can be seen at Dulwich College, London SE21 7LD from Monday October 25th to Thursday November 4th. Admission is free.

As well as the Exhibition, visitors will be able to see the 'James Caird' and the accompanying photographs and artifacts associated with Sir Ernest Shackleton's heroic journey.




Rob Stephenson's extensive and valuable website Antarctic Circle ( has recently reported two stories of special interest to Shackleton enthusiasts.

First, a plaque in honour of Commander Frank Wild has been erected in the church at Grytviken, South Georgia to honour the veteran of five Antarctic eexpeditions and Shackleton's most trusted lieutenant.

The sculptor Angie Butler, who has done research in South Africa where Wild died and was cremated in 1939, was concerned that apart from a plaque in his local church in St John the Baptist Church, Eversholt, Bedfordshire, there is no lasting memorial to this Yorkshire-born legend of Antarctic exploration and leadership.

Angie and Elsa Davidson, curator of the Museum at Grytviken, are pictured on Antarctic Circle flanking the newly presented bronze plaque, now handsomely displayed on the wall of the Grytviken Whalers' Church. She writes in Antarctic Circle explaining the development of the project and indicates that any assistance towards this worthwhile enterprise, which cost around £1,600, from individuals or donating funds would be welcome.

Sculptor Angie Butler and South Georgia Museum Curator Elsa Davidson and the presentation of the Frank Wild Plaque
Secondly, Rob includes an intriguing item about a tunnel which has been discovered to penetrate through Elephant Island not far from Cape Wild.

To read the full article and see Ted Stump's impressive photo, please visit the Antarctic circle website.



Some time ago a plaque was unveiled at the Church in Grytviken, South Georgia, in whose graveyard Sir Ernest Shackleton is buried. The plaque depicts a well known picture of Shackleton, the famous picture o the launching of the James Caird which is also the Society's logo, and includes the following words:

'Greetings from Members of the James Caird Society, the Alleyn Club and Dulwich College, your granddaughter [Alexandra], President of the Society, and Harding Dunnett (Founder).

At the bottom it carries the words 'Sic transit gloria mundi'.




The first public meeting of the South Georgia Association (President: Stephen Venables, Chairman: David Tatham, former Governor of South Georgia) too place in Edinburgh on Saturday 19 June 2004.

A light lunch was provided at the Royal Overseas League, 100 Princes St., Edinburgh, and this was followed by a series of brief talks on recent expeditions to South Georgia, with time for questions afterwards.

The Association’s meeting was timed to precede a gathering of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Club in Edinburgh on the evening of Saturday 19th. The choice of a Scottish venue was designed to highlight the close and valuable links over the years between Scotland and South Georgia. Scots and people based in Scotland who have recently had connections with the island of South Georgia spoke about their activities.



The formal setting up of the South Georgia Association took place in London during September 2001, followed by an inaugural meeting on 14 December 2001. This valuable new Association, spearheaded by a steering committee led by David Tatham (former Governor of South Georgia), Bob Burton and the Hon.Alexandra Shackleton, James Caird Society President, has as its objectives : the encouragement of interest in, and concern for, South Georgia both in the UK and worldwide; the encouragement of the study of South Georgia, and the conservation of both its natural and its cultural heritage; and the promotion of contacts and encouragement of fellowship between those who have lived and worked in or around South Georgia, have visited, or have an interest in, the island.

In its first six months of existence the Association amassed a healthy membership of well over 200. Planned events include lectures, dinners and other gatherings. Membership costs £15 per annum, or £50 for five years. Details from : Stephen Palmer, Membership Secretary, The Vicarage, 72A Medina Avenue, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 1HF, UK.



The Villa at Stromness whaling station was the home of the managers and also the Norwegian whalers' administrative centre. Compared with the rest of the station, it was extremely comfortable : it boasted a bathroom, soft chairs, flowers in pots and other luxuries. The manager Thoralf Sorlle, who welcomed Shackleton to the Villa in 1914 and again following the boat journey in 1916, was sometimes accompanied to South Georgia by his wife and four daughters.

As 'Journey's End' for Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, the Stromness Villa remains one of South Georgia's historic sites: 'Mr Sorlle's hospitality had no bounds. He would scarcely let us wait to remove our freezing boots before he took us into his house and gave us seats in a warm and comfortable room.' - Shackleton in South

Stromness closed as a whaling station in 1931, but the site was converted into a ship repair yard until its final closure in 1961. Since then, the Stromness Villa has suffered from the weather and vandals. Destruction of the windows and doors has allowed snow, rain and seals indoors, and some of the wooden fabric is rotten. The gaping holes have now been boarded up so that deterioration has been greatly reduced and the Villa is safe from imminent collapse.

An increasing number of visitors to South Georgia walk Shackleton's route from Fortuna Bay to Stromness. A hardy few attempt the complete crossing from King Haakon Bay. At the moment they are denied their ultimate destination - the Stromness Villa - as access to the whaling station is forbidden for reasons of safety.

A message from the Commissioner of South Georgia was read out at the London premiere of the Shackleton IMAX film, confirming the planned restoration and preservation of the Manager's Villa. Funds are now being raised for saving the Villa and clearing the area so that all visitors can visit without danger. Members of the army will clean up debris and make a structural survey.

'It is hoped', Bob Burton writes, 'that everyone who has fallen under the spell of South Georgia and the story of Shackleton's Endurance expedition will feel inspired to contribute to the restoration, perhaps by buying this little book' [Shackleton at South Georgia, see above]. 'The generous support of so many individuals and organisations means that the entire price of each copy goes to helping save the Villa.'



Shackleton at South Georgia, a valuable and informative 24-page booklet by two South Georgia experts, Robert Burton and Stephen Venables, with a foreword by the Hon. Alexandra Shackleton, has recently been published (2001, 24 pp, ISBN: 0-9541389-0-2). All proceeds will be donated to the restoration of the Manager's House, the 'Villa' at Stromness whaling station where Shackleton and his two companions finished their epic journey. Available price £3 plus 35p for postage and handling (USA : $5 plus $1 postage and handling) from Robert Burton, 63 Common Lane, Hemingford Abbots, Huntingdon PE28 9AW, UK. Tel: +44 (0)1480 352340, E-mail:

Shackleton visited South Georgia with the Endurance, then the James Caird, and lastly aboard the Quest. This booklet, illustrated with little-known historic photographs and modern re-enactments, describes the three visits, his funeral in 1922, and retraces his legendary crossing of the South Georgia mountains with Frank Worsley and Tom Crean.

Enthusiast Paul Carroll has devised an intriguing and informative South Georgia website.








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