Falkland Islands

South Georgia

South Georgia, in latitude 54.5° south and longitude 36-38° west, has an area of 3,755 sq km, but no permanent residents. There are two British Antarctic Survey stations, King Edward Point and Bird Island, and a marine officer at the former is the government's representative and has responsibility for local administration. His duties include those of Harbour Master, Customs and Immigration Officer, Fisheries Officer and Postmaster. Visitors normally arrive by cruise ship from Ushuaia, Punta Arenas or Stanley. Some also come by chartered yachts. Intending visitors, who are not part of tour groups, must submit a request through the
Commissioner
i
Government House, Stanley, Falkland Islands, South Atlantic, T500-27433, gov.house@horizon.co.fk
. There is a landing fee of £100.

South Georgia is a largely chain of high (almost 3000 m), snow-covered glaciated mountains. At King Edward Point, near sea level, snow falls on an average of nearly 200 days annually, but the coastal area is free from snow and partially covered by vegetation in summer. This is the port of entry and is 1 km from Grytviken. Wildlife consists of most of the same species found in the Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas, but in much larger numbers, especially penguins, albatross, and seals. Reindeer, introduced by Norwegian whalers in 1909, have flourished. Other points of
interest are the abandoned whaling stations (although asbestos and other hazard restrict access), the little white whalers' church, and several shipwrecks. The explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, lies
in the whalers' cemetery at Grytviken. A South Georgia Museum has been established there, where the whaling station is now rearranged as a display featuring amazing steam industrial archaeology. Inside is a display of artifacts, photographs and other items about the old Antarctic whaling and sealing industry with descriptions the history of the island, including events of 1982, and its wildlife. The island issues distinctive stamps, which are sold by the Post Office and museum. There is a
South Georgia website
: www.sgisland.org, and a South Georgia Association. The
South Sandwich Islands
, some 500 km southeast of South Georgia, are uninhabited but administered by the same government as South Georgia. Although very rarely visited they are a spectacular chain of 11 volcanoes, several of which are active.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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