Pete Seaward

South Georgia

The island of South Georgia, one of the first gateways to Antarctica, was the center for the huge Southern Ocean whaling industry from 1904 to 1966. Several important expeditions to Antarctica called at the whaling stations en route to or from the continent, notably those of Ernest Shackleton. Each station has a cemetery or burial site (

With its sharp, heavily glaciated peaks, crescent-shaped South Georgia (170km long and 40km wide at its broadest) presents a rugged appearance. The Allardyce Range forms the island’s spine. The highest point is Mt Paget (2934m), first ascended in 1964. Glaciers cover 57% of the 3755-sq-km island.

Visiting ships focus on South Georgia’s northeastern coast, with its many fjords and fantastic wildlife-breeding beaches. Thanks to the high mountains, this coast is protected from the prevailing westerlies, which is why all of the whaling stations were built on this side of the island.