Stromness Bay

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Stromness Bay
Stromness Bay with (L to R) Husvik, Stromness & Leith Harbour

Stromness Bay is a bay 3 miles wide on the north coast of South Georgia, entered between Cape Saunders and Busen Point.

Stromness Bay takes its name from the town of Stromness on the Orkney Mainland, which may be in part that the Orcadian Stromness was also a whaling centre.


The bay was probably first seen in 1775 by Captain James Cook, and named in about 1912, presumably by Norwegian whalers who frequented its harbours.

Its historical significance is that it represents the destination of Ernest Shackleton's epic rescue journey in 1916.

During the Second World War the whaling stations were closed excepting Grytviken and Leith Harbour, both because of the danger of attack from German raiders and because the men were called up to serve in the war effort. The resident British Magistrates (W Barlas and A I Fleuret) attended to the island’s defence throughout the War, while the Royal Navy armed the merchant vessel Queen of Bermuda to patrol South Georgian and Antarctic waters, and deployed two four-inch guns at key locations protecting the approaches to Cumberland Bay and Stromness Bay, which thus protected Grytviken and Leith Harbour respectively. These batteries (still present) were manned by volunteers from among the Norwegian whalers who were trained for the purpose.

The three whaling stations, Husvik, Grytviken and Leith Harbour were linked by a rough track along the beach. During the whaling era, whalers from Grytviken and Husvik would use it to get to Leith Harbour to use the island's one cinema.

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