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Prince Olav Harbour


54° 04′ S


37° 09′ W


Prince Olav Harbour is a small inlet on the western shore of Cook Bay in Possession Bay. It contains some low islets, steep tussac covered shores running up from the beaches, turning rapidly to scree and fellfield mountain sides.


James Cook landed in Possession Bay on 17 January 1775 and claimed the Island for Great Britain. The exact location is not known. The bay was significant during fur sealing in the late 18th century, when it was known variously as Crow’s or Crew’s Harbour. In 1911 a lease for a whaling shore station was granted to the Southern Whaling and Sealing Company, owned by Irwin and Johnson. In 1919 Lever Brothers purchased the site. The shore station operated until 1931, when it was closed, and bought by Christian Salvesen, who operated South Georgia’s Leith whaling station. They partially dismantled the Prince Olav station for spares, sometimes using explosives. The wreck of Brutus, the station’s former floating coaling hulk, can be seen onshore at Pig Point.  Built in Glasgow in 1883, she was first used in the nitrate trade, then as a South African timber carrier based out of Cape Town, from where she was towed to South Georgia.



Fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) breed from November to January, and elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) of different ages and sexes come ashore to molt at different times throughout the season. Near Sheep Point is the entrance to Elephant lagoon, full of elephant and fur seals.


Kelp gulls (Larus dominicanus) and blue eyed shags (Phalacrocorax atriceps georgianus) are the main nesting birds in the area, some of which nest on Brutus.

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