Latitude54° 18′ S
Longitude36° 17′ W
Godthul (God’s Cove) is a 3km long harbor between Cape George to the south and Long Point to the north. The head walls of two glacial cirques form natural cliff amphitheaters, which surround the harbor and extensive scree slopes which rise to a skyline of jagged mountain ridges 500m high. Nestling at the foot of the head wall are two tarns, ‘Echo Lake’ and ‘Lake Aviemore’. The former lies at the head of the harbor and feeds a waterfall that plunges 30 m into a tidal pool. The latter lies a short distance inland above the landing beach.
This site was used as a floating factory whaling station between about 1905 and 1912/13. After WW2 it was a whale catcher fuel and spares depot. Remains of the shore depot still exist, consisting of wooden casks, oil tanks, Jölle water boats and whale catcher harpoon apparatus spare parts. Whalebones from the discarded, flensed carcasses lie along the shore. A dam at the outflow of lake Aviemore fed fresh water down to the shore depot.
The steep slopes along the coast and on sections of the upper amphitheater are covered in tussac. On the gentler rolling areas, a mosaic of Festuca grassland, mire and bog communities mix with extensive areas of grazed tussac, moss and Poa annua. The ground above lake Aviemore was heavily grazed and suffered erosion by reindeer until their removal in 2013/2014.
Confirmed breeders: gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua), light-mantled sooty albatross (Phoebetria palpebrate), southern and northern giant petrels (Macronectes giganteus and Macronectes halli), white-chinned petrel (Procellaria aequinoctialis), kelp gull (Larus dominicanus), brown skua (Stercorarius antarcticus), Antarctic tern (Sterna vittatae georgiae), South Georgia pintail (Anas georgica georgica), snowy sheathbill (Chionis alba).
Suspected breeders: Wilson’s storm-petrel (Oceanites oceanicus).
Confirmed breeders: elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) and fur seal (Arctocephalus gazella).
Habitat Restoration projects to remove introduced land mammals commenced in 2013 with the removal of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus), and the brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) project is scheduled for early 2015. Any subsequent evidence of live rodents or reindeer must be reported to the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI).
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