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South Georgia Island

Part of the Shackleton exhibition.

"I gave Hurley a hand to lug a whole plate camera & 40 lbs weight! of gear & accoutrements up a 1700 ft. hill & by gum we had some lovely places to go up.... He did get some beauties though from the top, well worth the exertion of getting up there."

- Lionel Greenstreet, Letter to his father


South Georgia, at the gateway to the Antarctic Circle, was the Endurance's last port of call before she set out for the treacherous Weddell Sea. The island was inhabited only on the eastern coast by the Norwegians who manned the whaling stations of Grytviken, Stromness and Husvik.

From the whalers, Shackleton learned that the ice conditions in the Weddell Sea were the worst in memory, with pack ice extending far north. Shackleton held the ship at South Georgia for an entire month. Then, in early December, he decided to press ahead, despite the fact that the ice had not improved. By working his way some distance east before heading south, Shackleton hoped to skirt the worst of the pack.

Meanwhile, Hurley used the layover in South Georgia to begin his photographic record of the expedition. This spectacular panorama overlooking Grytviken harbor was probably sent back from South Georgia with the last mail ship.