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Viewing 18 items in Ships, Scientists & Explorers Definitive

¬¬¬¬¬¬Ships, Scientists and Explorers

Bill Tilman 'Mischief' 1964

Bill Tilman was a well-known mountaineer who climbed extensively in the
Himalayas, East Africa and elsewhere. He bought the pilot cutter
Mischief so that he could sail to the Arctic and Antarctic in search of
unconquered mountains to climb. In 1966 he sailed to the South Shetland
Islands and returned northwards via South Georgia, where he spent four
days at King Edward Point. Mischief was the first private yacht to visit
South Georgia. Tilman went missing on a subsequent expedition to
Antarctica, when the yacht En Avant disappeared on the way to the
Falkland Islands.

Alister Hardy 'William Scoresby' 1927

Alister Hardy was employed as a zoologist with the Discovery
Investigations in 1925. He studied the distribution of plankton,
including krill, and attempted to relate this to the distribution of
whales. To aid his work, he developed the 'continuous plankton recorder'
which is still in use around South Georgia today. In 1927 Hardy
transferred to William Scoresby (Captain Mercer) a new, fast vessel
built along the lines of a whale-catcher. She would be employed for
marking whales with numbered darts to study their migrations and as a
research ship working with Discovery.

Stanley Kemp 'Discovery' 1925

Concern that whaling in the Southern Ocean was becoming unsustainable
led to the Discovery Investigations, a pioneering long-term scientific
programme to study whale biology and the oceanography and ecology of the
Southern Ocean. The Discovery Investigations were funded by the tax on
whale oil. Stanley Kemp was appointed Director of Research to establish
and oversee the scientific programme. The first research vessel was
Captain Scott's first expedition ship Discovery (Captain Stenhouse). In
1929, she was replaced by a steamship Discovery II. Cruises were centred
around the whaling grounds of South Georgia and the South Shetland
Islands where vast numbers of records were made and samples taken for
later analysis. The last cruise was made in 1950/51 and the results were
published in 38 large volumes.

Ernest Shackleton 'Endurance' 1914

The Weddell Sea party of Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic
Expedition aboard Endurance (Captain Worsley) visited South Georgia in
November 1914. The main purpose of the visit was to take on coal and
other stores and refit the ship before sailing for Antarctica. While in
Buenos Aires, Shackleton was warned that it might be a bad year for ice
in the Weddell Sea so he delayed his departure from South Georgia for a
month. This gave time for scientific work to be carried out.
Unfortunately most of the records and specimens were lost when Endurance
was crushed by the ice and sank. After the Endurance was beset in the
ice and the party made it to Elephant Island, Shackleton led the epic
boat journey to South Georgia in the James Caird and then, together with
Worsely and Crean, walked across the island to seek assistance for his
stranded party. Shackleton returned to South Georgia aboard Quest on 4
January 1922 and died that night. He is buried in the Whalers' Cemetery
in Grytviken.

Robert Cushman Murphy 'Daisy' 1912

Robert Cushman Murphy was one of the founders of seabird science. He
travelled as a naturalist aboard Daisy, under the command of Benjamin
Cleveland of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Daisy was the last of the
old-time sealers and whalers to visit South Georgia. Over 1600 elephant
seals were killed for their blubber and whales were hunted from open
boats on the voyages to and from South Georgia. Murphy made extensive
collections of animals and plants, including over 100 bird skins, and he
also observed the habits of the birds.

Wilhelm Filchner 'Deutschland' 1911

Wilhelm Filchner's German South Polar Expedition spent three weeks at
South Georgia en route to Antarctica. They made scientific observations
and hydrographic surveys of coastal waters which resulted in a much
improved chart of South Georgia. Deutschland (Captain Vahsel) also made
a brief visit to the South Sandwich Islands but bad weather prevented a
landing. Ice conditions prevented a land station being established on
the southern coast of the Weddell Sea and Deutschland was trapped in the
pack-ice for the winter. When freed, she returned to South Georgia where
she left the expedition's polar equipment, ponies and dogs in the hope
that they could be used by a subsequent expedition.

Otto Nordenskjöld 'Antarctic' 1902

The Swedish South Polar Expedition was led by Otto Nordenskjöld, a
geologist who had earlier worked in Patagonia. He set up a shore station
on Snow Hill Island and his ship Antarctic (Captain C.A. Larsen)
returned northwards to spend three months at South Georgia. A number of
places were explored and scientific work undertaken. The first fossil
found on South Georgia was extracted from a rock with the aid of
explosives. A newly-discovered bay was named Grytviken (Pot Cove) on
account of the seven sealers' try-pots found there. Larsen realised that
this sheltered bay would make an excellent site for a whaling station
and returned two years later to initiate the whaling industry on South

Carl Anton Larsen 'Jason' 1894

Carl Anton Larsen was a Norwegian whaler who made contributions to
Antarctic geography and science as well as laying the foundations of the
Antarctic whaling industry. He made two cruises to the Weddell Sea in
Jason to search for right whales. On the second cruise, in 1894, Jason
made a brief visit to South Georgia, in the company of Hertha (Captain
Evensen) and Castor (Captain Pedersen). Both cruises were commercial
failures but Larsen noted the large numbers of rorqual whales in the
waters around South Georgia. He returned in 1904 with Rolf, Louise and
the whale-catcher Fortuna to build the whaling station at Grytviken, the
first whaling station on South Georgia.

Karl Schrader 'Moltke' 1882

The German International Polar Year Expedition arrived at South Georgia
aboard the corvette Moltke (Captain Pirner) and set up a shore station
at Moltke Harbour in Royal Bay. Eleven men overwintered in the first
land-based scientific expedition on South Georgia. It was part of a
worldwide programme of mainly geophysical studies which included an
observation of the Transit of Venus. This is a rare event and which
allows an accurate calculation of the distance between the Sun and
Earth. Many other observations were made of meteorology, geology and
biology. The expedition was relieved by the corvette Marie (Captain
Krokisius) in 1883.

James Weddell 'Jane' 1823

The sealer James Weddell made one of the most significant early visits
to South Georgia. He took his vessel, Jane, together with the cutter
Beaufoy (Captain Brisbane), far south into the Weddell Sea which is
named after him. South Georgia was visited on the way northward to hunt
fur and elephant seals. Weddell's book about the voyage describes the
topography of South Georgia, the operations of the sealers in detail,
the first record of seismic activity and gives accounts of the habits of
seals, penguins and albatrosses. He suggested that there is a geological
link between South America and Antarctica through South Georgia. This is
now recognised as the Scotia Arc.

Fabian von Bellingshausen 'Vostok' 1819

The Russian Naval Expedition under the command of Fabian Bellingshausen
consisted of two vessels, the sloop Vostok (Captain Zavodovskiy) and the
transport Mirnyy (Captain Lazarev). The objective was to sail as close
to the South Pole as possible. They reached South Georgia on their way
to Antarctica and surveyed the south coast to complement Cook’s survey
of the northern coast. The South Sandwich Islands were also visited and
more islands discovered. Bellingshausen then proceeded to circumnavigate
Antarctica and is credited with making the first sighting of mainland
Antarctica. The expedition is remembered in a number of Russian place
names in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

James Cook 'Resolution' 1775

In the course of the voyage that made the first circumnavigation of
Antarctica, Captain James Cook of the Royal Navy headed for land which
had been reported 100 years earlier. The first landing was made at
Possession Bay and Resolution proceeded along the coast. The crew hoped
that they had discovered the continent of Antarctica but when they
reached Cape Disappointment they realised they had found only a large
island. Detailed descriptions of the island and its natural history were
made and observations of numerous fur and elephant seals led to their
exploitation by sealers. After leaving what he called 'the Isle of
Georgia', Cook sailed south-east and discovered the South Sandwich

Text provided by Robert Burton, South Georgia Association.

Technical Details

Designer Andrew Robinson

Printer BDT International

Process Stochastic lithography

Perforation 14 per 2cms

Stamp size 28.45 x 42.58mm

Sheet Layout 10

Release date 5 January, 2014

Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd

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