Mar
04
2016

Leith Harbours whaling station

Ghost town on rough sea

elephant seal

Impressively looking Seal Elephants basking in the sunshine with the crew

The South Georgia Island is located in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. At the begining of the 20th Century, this Island had six whaling stations which made it biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. After the destruction of most of the whaling stations during World War II, the station ceased operating in 1965. The slowly decaying buildings in the area are the last pieces of evidence of the past industrial whaling heritage. However the remoteness of the location and major costs needed to renovate the station means that the entire site has been left to fall down. For this reason, the entire faciliy has been exactly surveyed and documented.

To do so, the Geometria Heritage Management Group was involved in the adrenaline fuelled project involving Elephant seals, asbestos contained ruins and strong snow storms. All six stations have been captured with the help of the FARO Focus3D including storage, piers, barracks and accommodation facilities as well as the surrounding area (the Island cemetery and the former hospital).

 

 

Working conditions were anything but ordinary. Nowadays the South Georgia Island is practically uninhabited and serves only as a research station. A five day ship tour around the Falkland Island was required to bring the team on-site. Due to the abestos contamination of the facilities, the team had to wear protective clothing at all times.

At 8 am the research crew struck off with temperatures at -10° from the base camp, with the “Pharos SG” and used a a small speed boat to head to Leith Harbour. As well as the stormy weather conditions, the Island is highly populated with Seals and Elephant seals making scanning work even more difficult. Nonetheless, Geometria generated from 30 to 80 Scans per day with the Focus3D and disposed of more than 2700 Scans after one and a half months. The FARO Focus3D managed to precisely document outdoor facilities and the inside area of the whaling station.

After data processing, specialitsts converted the raw data into CAD drawings and 3D CAD models. This data is freely available for scientists as well as all interested researchers who have been using this for interesting projects.

 

speed boat

The journey to the whaling station was difficult at times due to the weather conditions

internal condition whaling

Few internal areas were well-preserved

 

asbestos

The high asbestos contamination makes protective clothing an absolute  must-have

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