Archive for April, 2010


Back in the USA

April 29, 2010   

After a few days in Ireland including walking in the mountains of mourne I flew back to San Francisco to a wedding and a mound of paperwork.

Looking forward to friday night racing tomorrow, the wedding on saturday and a week filled with fun working on a few boats. Life is somewhat going back to normal. The garage was a nightmare today trying to find offshore kit for the round britain race. Life is not as simple these days 🙂

Ash clouds

April 22, 2010   

Luckily for us the volcanoe let us into the UK however, it didn’t let me out! The upside is that the weather is beautiful and I got lots done on the boat (my dad’s) to get it repaired for Round Britain and Ireland. Santana went in the water yesterday for an incline test and we await the results next week to see if we are allowed to enter the race in June. Meanwhile I unfortunately missed my friends wedding in Seattle and am not on a flight home until the 28th to San Francisco however, I am in time for the wedding on the 1st May.

It is now much noiser with the planes flying again and there are vapor trailers criss crossing the sky. The last week since I got back to civilisation has been a little bit of a shock but I am getting used to it all again – car keys, mobile phone, wallet, internet that actually works faster than dial up, noise etc.

Home in the UK

April 14, 2010   

fighter jet
Fighter Jet escort while in Falklands airspace

DSCN5648Just arrived back in the UK after a very long flight from Falklands. It is nice to see daffodils, tulips, grass etc. Must have bath and go to sleep….


Docked in Stanley

April 10, 2010   

mel and ash
Up on the monkey island looking for land in the fog with Mel.

We are now docked in Stanley and the guys have gone out on the ‘town’ for a few beers at the smoky pub. I have stayed put on the ship and will venture out tomorrow. We have two days here before it is time to get on the RAF plane back to the UK via the Ascension Islands.

Heavy seas

April 8, 2010   

The porthole awash with waves.
We are at 52S heading 277T towards Stanley with winds averaging 45 knots on the nose with gusts to 60 knots. The ship moves around quite a bit due to the icebreaking shape of the hull. So there are many people in their bunks incapacitated. I spent the day making a movie from video clips I took south. I am just happy I am not on a small race boat in charge at this point – nice being a passenger 🙂

Loading at Bird Island

April 7, 2010   


This morning at 4am we left the shelter of the bay we had anchored in for 16 hours on the north coast of south georgia and headed to Bird Island.

The weather is still damp and foggy but we have to get relief done so the ship is holding station and all morning the fast response craft has been plying people back and forth. There were 5 people on base so one is joining the ship to go back to the UK and the other 4 stay for winter. Those four have been on to purchase last minute supplies from the ships bond and have their teeth checked and that will be it for the winter.

I am on gash today so have done a bit of cleaning and get a break before the lunch rush in half hour. Not much excitement to report all in all! Tonight we will be heading to the Falklands it could be 3 to 5 days at sea depending on the conditions most likely longer as we are meant to have 40 knots on the nose. So glad there are engines and I don’t have to go up on deck and get soaked every three hours and change sails! This working south has made me soft for sure!

Easter Monday – Three Peaks

April 5, 2010   

KEP says goodbye to the BAS ship until November.

DSC_0570Today was bright blue sky and sun but very windy. Gusts of up to 70 knots were recorded on the ship. We didn’t let it stop us however and we climbed up past gull lake and up to Orca, Hodges and then onto the Petrels. All the summits afforded amazing views down to the whaling statino and King Edward Point and the bay.

Tired after a long day of walking but still had the energy to go aboard a 30 foot yacht which has done one winter down here and plans on doing another. The owner and his wife have lived aboard for 30 years cruising around the world. It was a cozy little boat built in the 50’s. Anyways I am off for a long sleep.

We leave at 8am for Bird Island to see if we can do relief. What an amazing place south georgia is..

Easter in South Georgia

April 4, 2010   

So instead of hunting for yummy chocolate eggs in the grass we were on the look out for baby fur seals in the tussock grass. You don’t want to end up getting bitten by one as the bites are nasty and full of bacteria that requires IV antibiotics etc.

A group of us set out at 6am for a run to Myviken (spelling) which is a beautiful little bay. It was a stunning morning however, the run didn’t go that well in that I had to keep on stopping to take pictures!

Back for a quick breakfast before we set out again to go up Mt Hodges but then the weather came in so with wind and snow we decided to spend time in the museum. The museum is in the house that the whaling station manager lived in. It is a well run place with lots of interesting information. The weather continued to be a bit miserable so we headed for the King Penguin colony about 3km around the bay on the beach. Again it took a long time to get around as there were so many great photo ops!

Now time to go off for a BBQ which will be typically British in that it will continue to rain/snow but everyone will have a great time! Pinch me am I really getting paid for this!

KEP South Georgia

April 3, 2010   

We arrived off the Base at Bird Island this morning at 8am to find the swell was too high to get the landing craft to the wharf. So after lots of bird watching – the albatross are so stunning – we steamed along the coast of south georgia.

The Captain was kind enough to take a slight detour and took us into a bay with two derelict whaling stations. Stromness was where Shackleton arrived 94 years ago after crossing South Georgia. Click here for more info. The views of South Georgia have been stunning and once we were allowed off the ship many people enjoyed rolling in the grass which is something we don’t have at Rothera – some people aboard haven’t smelt or felt it for almost 2 and half years. Just to see colour is amazing in comparison to the ice at Rothera which sometimes is blue in color but is mostly white or gray.

Tomorrow being Easter we are having the day off for ‘jollies’. We will be starting with a 6am run across the little peninsula to a hut. Then back to the ship for a quick change of clothing and some refreshment and then we plan to bag the summit of Mount Hodges. Followed by a visit to the penguin colonies and the museum at Grytviken and Shackletons grave. So much to do in a day!

Gray sea and clouds

April 2, 2010   

We are in the middle of the Scotia sea 250 miles from Bird Island. Bird Island lies off the north-west tip of South Georgia in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. It is separated by a 500m channel, Bird Sound, from the South Georgia mainland. It is approximately 1000km south east of the Falkland Islands and is accessible only by boat or ship supported helicopter.

The sea state at the moment is fine for this ship however, looking out at it it would be a nightmare sailing with a swell going in one direction and very few breaking waves moving across in a totally different direction.

In less than 24 hours we will be anchored off Bird Island hoping the swell isn’t too bad for landing with the landing craft. We will be doing relief there for a day. South Georgia was invaded by rats coming off ships which has decimated the wandering albatross population. Bird Island has so far been immune to this invasion. It is designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest so basically only scientists are allowed on the island. However, each piece of cargo that comes off the Shack has to be meticulously checked in the case of a rat stowing away before it is taken over to the island.

Check out BAS website for more on the station.

There are typically 4 personnel on station throughout winter, comprising of 3 zoological assistants and 1 person as technical support (e.g. an electrician, plumber or builder). The assistants currently complete 2.5 years on station (without leaving the island!) and specialise working with either seals, penguins or albatross. The technician typically spends around 5 to 8 months of the winter period on station.