Archive for November, 2010


Weener Creche…

November 20, 2010   

This is a picture of the elephant seal pups or weeners as we call them. They are in the shallow water between the wharf and the slipway it is where they ‘learn’ to swim. There are a lot of them on the beaches around base at the moment. Much cuter than the fur seals which come out of their mothers full of piss and vinegar ready to have a go at you.

Shackleton’s grave

November 19, 2010   

This is a picture of the cementry at Grytviken which is where Shackleton lies. His is the only grave in the cemetry that points north/south instead of east/west. He was buried on 5 March 1922 after a short service in the Lutheran church nearby. Next Friday we are going to have a dance in the church a celebration for Tee’s birthday. He owns Wanderer III a 30 footer which has wintered over here for the last two years with his wife Kiki. The photos was taken from cementry gully which is a waterfall just behind the graveyard – a beautiful spot to watch the world go by at the beach and a good way to get up to Gull Lake in the evenings.

Rob Webster

November 18, 2010   

This is Rob he is the base commander at KEP. He spent 2.5 years at Rothera as a met observer and after a year and bit back at home he decided to head south again. A talented musician and also woodworker – he actually made his own guitar at Rothera.


November 17, 2010   

On tuesday we took the government officer and Kelvin (who is here from NZ spraying invasive plants) to Husvik one of the old whaling stations 15 miles up the coast from base. It was a stunning day and while they were ashore for 4 hours we went and had a closer look at Stromness and Leith another two stations close by.

Since the below was written there is no access to the villa. We did encounter the fur seals and use of our bodgers (wooden stick) was necessary as they did try to charge us. At the cemetry we put the chain fence back together to the best of our ability.

Below is an extract about the station from wikipedia…

Husvik is a former whaling station on the north-central coast of South Georgia Island. It was one of three such stations in Stromness Bay, the other two being Stromness and Leith Harbour. Husvik initially began as a floating, offshore factory site in 1907. In 1910, a land station was constructed and remained operational until 1930; business resumed again between 1945 and 1960.

The three whaling stations, Husvik, Stromness and Leith were linked by a rough track along the beach. During the whaling era, whalers from Stromness and Husvik would use it to get to Leith Harbour to use the cinema. The track can still be still used, but in some places is rendered impassable by aggressively territorial fur seals during their breeding season (November and December).

The freezer plant was dismantled and moved to Grytviken in 1960, and whaling operations at Husvik permanently ceased. Afterwards, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey used the whaling managers’ villa as a temporary shelter when doing work in the area up until the mid 1990s. More recent inhabitants include the BSES expedition of December 2003, who used it as a base camp for a number of scientific and exploratory projects.

As with Leith, Stromness, and Prince Olav Harbour, the whaling station has been declared by the South Georgia Government as being too dangerous to visit, due to the danger from collapsing buildings and asbestos. Visitors must stay 200 m (656 ft) from the buildings and structures. Access to the villa is permitted as it is away from the main station area.

The jetty is within the 200 m (656 ft) ‘danger area’ so is not usable, and is in a very dilapidated state. A colony of Blue-eyed shags nests on its end each year.

In the southern summer of 2005/6, the South Georgia Heritage Trust hired a team of Norwegian craftsmen to restore some of the buildings at Husvik. In March 2006, the Manager’s Villa, a building known as the “Radio Shack” and a small generator shed were successfully repaired and restored.

South of Husvik is a whaler’s cemetery where 34 men were buried between 1924 and 1959.

Sunday muffins

November 16, 2010   

Every morning at 6am on a rota system someone makes bread dough and leaves it to rise in the electrical cupboard (warm) to rise while they go and do the morning rounds around base. We make all the bread that is eaten on station and as it is so good it is hard not to eat a lot of it especially when it comes out of the oven all warm. Now and again it is fun to make a different type then just the normal loaves. So on Sunday I made english muffins which to my surprise turned out OK. As you can see they are cooked right on the top of the stove.

The weekend before I made chelsea buns.

Recreating the Hurley photo

November 15, 2010   

On Sunday Rob, Alastair and I climbed up Mount Duse which is just above station with camera and tripod to recreate a photo taken by Hurley in 1915. The result you can see below. We had tried with a different group a few weekends before but didn’t realise that it was actually two plates put together until we read a book on station about Hurley and the Trans Antarctic photos that he took. It was a beautiful day for the small climb – just glad we didn’t have a large camera in tow like they did 95 years ago!

Thanks Alastair for doing a great job with stitching the two photos together after taking them!

Lone Penguin

November 14, 2010   

This is a picture of a King Penguin on the beach across from base. They wonder into base all the time last week I was coming back from my bike ride and about 20 had formed a crocodile and were walking from the wharf in single file to the accomodation block. It is hard not to smile when you see them.

Real life….

November 13, 2010   

This picture isn’t pretty but it shows the harsh reality of nature. This poor elephant seal pup was rolled over by a large male and unfortunately died. The skuas made pretty quick work of the carcass. There are elephant seal pups being born on the beach every day. Unfortunately some do not make it. The other day we saw one that had been abandonned by its mother it was getting weaker everyday without milk. The jeeps and skua actually started eating him while he was still alive as he didn’t have the strength to scare them away. Sorry for the downer posting today….

Some of my toys

November 12, 2010   

The marine team here in South Georgia is used not only for science but also to support the South Georgia Government. We are basically glorified ‘taxi drivers’ for the two government officers as they need to board fishing vessels and also visit nearby visitor sites. They also go on cruise ships to do customs however, the cruise ships normally send their own zodiacs out to take the officers onboard. Anyways in order to do passenger transfers at sea while this ships/fishing vessels are moving we have Harbor Patrol Jet Boats. They are called Pipit and Prion.

Terri on Simon Mayo Show

November 9, 2010   

Last season I worked at Rothera in the Marine team with Terri Souster (BAS Marine Assistant at Rothera). She talked live on the Simon Mayo show yesterday, you can still listen to it on BBC iplayer:-

Her bit starts about 20 minutes into the programme.