Our first sighting of Stromness

Our first sighting of Stromness, its rusting roofs and holding tanks hugging the distant shore below, was evocative of a bygone era folded into the pages of history books. I stood a moment in silence, teared up with the emotion of a moment that I too would always remember, as our expedition was making history also. There was no horn hooting for us, and it started snowing, reminding us exactly where we were. Time to keep moving — we weren’t there yet!

A mass scramble and tumble ensued down the slopes with many sliding on their arses in the deep snow, roaring in laughter. On reaching the old whaling station, we disturbed a large herd of slumbering elephant seals at siesta amidst old propellers and rusted machinery. This time, something else made us keep our distance. A large warning sign read, ‘Approach within 200 metres of Whaling Station Prohibited. Danger — Unsafe Structures and Asbestos’.

The thickly falling snow added to the atmosphere of the derelict settlement as back-slapping and hearty congratulations for the traverse team took place. They’d made it — just as Shackleton and his men did in 1916! We unfurled the Irish tricolour and gathered as a group to sing our national anthem with pride; many eyes welled up.

cute baby seal
Stromness Whaling station
Just another iceberg!
Emperor Penguin
Just checkin
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