Archive for April, 2011



April 11, 2011   

Tommy and myself on the ridge before Boulder Pass

Finally the temperature has dropped and the rain has turned to a mix of snow and sleet. The snow has been sticking at sea level today.

Beautiful picture of base by Tommy from the plateau below Hodges

Halfway up the gulley to Orca by Tommy
Yesterday Tommy and I were sometimes up to our waist on the slopes of Hodges beautiful white fluffy stuff!

Today it has been snowing all day and fluctuating from 5 knots to 70 knots with wind shifts of up to 100 degrees. Outside my office window the cove has been whipped up to a frenzy of white water and every now and again the sea is flung against the window. Matt boat mentioned that he hoped they had nailed the roof down well 🙂

So taking the opportunity as the weather is so poor I did a chart session this afternoon with 6 people as part of their theory boat training. Subject was plotting a position on a chart and then giving a position of something on the chart. We used our plots from the glacier ice front surveys so we could also measure the distance of retreat of the ice fronts on the Neumayer glacier.

Tommy is salivating at the idea of snow boarding and is trying to persuade me to take him up to Hodges Bowl tomorrow. Meanwhile I have a headache and am heading for my bunk! Tomorrow we start Race Antarctica.

A day for cooking

April 8, 2011   

Tommy excited it is the weekend! I dread to think what he is going to be like when he leaves to go home!

I was on earlies today and seeing as all it did outside was sleet, snow or rain it seemed like a great day to stay in the kitchen sort out the pantry and the fridges of left overs etc. I had my normal morning run and the snow were small round balls about 1mm by the end of the day there were some large fluffy flakes coming down. I made my Aunt Kady’s bran muffins which everyone on base devours when ever I make them. It reminds me of Kady and how we used to turn up at her house late at night having flown from the UK to Oregon and she always greeted us with brownies, vanilla ice cream and hersey’s fudge sauce!!

Starter of minestrone soup then main course of polenta with cheese, balsalmic vinegar and red wine reduction for a sauce.

Lamb loin in a marinade of cumin, olive oil an garlic seared and baked in hot oven for 15 minutes and mixed roasted veg (I tried to hide some brussel sprouts in there as we have a mountain of them!)

Dessert choice of pumpkin pie (first time I have ever made this american classic) and creme brulee with a fruit sauce

Dinner table setting

Boring I know…. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs lost my 09-10 return so now I have to redo it seems like a job this weekend during snow storms! I will also do 10-11 at the same time just to get it done. The joys of being a dual citizen and getting to file US and UK tax returns.

JCB wars!!

April 7, 2011   

This picture was taken a month ago at Harker Glacier

Today we did a Greene run to take Kieron and Andy down to the Harker Glacier end of the Greene to drop them off. We left their boatsuits and emergency overnight kit at the North end of the Peninsula next to the hut as we are having so much snow and wind at the moment. Seeing as it wasn’t that miserable of a day we also mapped the front of the glacier as we have already done with the Lyell and Neumayer. I have put these waypoints in our EasyGPS program and based on the charts made of the area in 2001 I estimate the Neumayer has receded at a rate of 333m a year!

We left the RIBs in the water until the afternoon pick up and got Andy and Kieron from the beach next to the hut at around 3:00pm it is a 30 minute round trip. Just as we rounded the corner into the cove Matt the mechanic was halfway along the track with the JCB to Grytiviken! I know it is only conicidence but it seems to happen every time we come back from a Greene trip and we really need to get the boats out – hence JCB wars. So I called him on the radio and asked when I could have the JCB back as that is how we get the RIBs out of the water on the trailer. He said in an hour….. well in the meantime we were having gusts that would pick the water up outside the boatshed and throw it into the air – so maybe 60 – 70 knot gusts! Obviously I didn’t really want to leave the boats at the wharf when they could be inside nice and toasty put away for the afternoon.

Matt Boat mentioned ”we could use the jet boat winch and then tell him we got the whole base to pull them out of the water on the trailer!” So we used the winch which was a bit of a pain taking 4 times as long but we did learn that it worked and we got the boats out before it really started blowing.

This is a picture after we have turned the boat outside so it can be brought into the shed with the tongue ready to hook the JCB up when we launch them again it isn’t how we brought them out of the water!!

Race Antarctica

April 6, 2011   

I must say at the moment I feel like Forrest in Forrest Gump all I seem to do is run! I came with 15 pairs of brand new socks and now most pairs look like this.

Next week it will get even worse as Race Antarctica kicks off on April 12th. Teams of 6 from each station (we might have two teams) run, walk, ski, row, bike etc. 6000km or 12000km. Rowing 1km is worth 3km, biking 1km is worth 1km and walking/running etc is worth 2.5km per km. We race against teams for Cambridge and other stations. Cambridge obviously have the advantage of being able to go outside being as it is summer. Basically it is a good way to keep people who are south fit during the long dark winter. I will keep you informed of how our team is doing.

In the meantime time to darn my socks!!

Tsunami shelter!

April 5, 2011   

Today I did various small jobs – sorting out the spark plugs and why we have a total of 5 different types when we only have one type of engine!, taking the route off the chartplotter of the glacier front (had to build a nmea cable for this and connect up to the computer) and …

Above is a picture of our Tsunami shelter which is next to Gull lake at the top of the waterfall that goes past Shackleton’s grave. I helped Rob carry up some fuel, stoves, pots, head torches, tilley lamp etc. It has been raining quite a lot the last few days so the waterfall was really storming.

Meet Robert

April 4, 2011   

The Plancius came in this morning in miserable weather. It was the last cruise ship of the season I was glad my parents came in Feb instead of April!

This is Roberts second ‘season’ as Government Officer. He came in when Pat and Sarah went out on holiday for 4 months. He is scottish and is the ex Chief Officer on the JCR. The James Clark Ross is the ship that BAS use for science work south and also some cargo. She did relief for us here at KEP at the begining of the season. The picture of Robert was taken outside the church for the wedding we had here last weekend.


April 3, 2011   

First thing first up at 6:30am to get on skype and wish mum Happy Mothers Day and then down to let the lines go for the ship taking the rat team away. It was raining in the morning however, I decided to put on the foul weather gear and run around Gull Lake. It turned out to be a great run with the rain stopping and the sun shining. I also took 6 minutes off my last time so was quite happy. I got back and hadn’t even got out of my running kit when Tommy asked if I would go up Duse with him and take some video for him. He has put together a speech for a really good friend of his who is getting married. It required lots of little parts at different points while climbing. We spent a good while up top and Tommy took a photo for my mother of me for Mother’s Day. Then after lunch it was down for a long afternoon in the chippy shop.

This is the wood we have been picking up on the beach at the Greene. It has come out of the fishing boats which are wrecked at the entrance to the Morraine Fjord.

This is one of the fishing boats the picture is by Sam that is on the reef.

After yesterday in the wood shop I had it all milled ready for my midwinter present. It was horrible weather so I spent the day and found it was all beautiful high quality mahogony. Midwinter presents are given at our equivalent of christmas down here we all pick a name out of a hat and then secretly make presents. This is the only posting I will do until I put up a picture of the finished product in June!

Time lapse of relief

April 2, 2011   

Matt Holmes did a time lapse of the cargo loading and unloading when the Shackleton was in last weekend. At the very end you can see Matt and I setting off flares as the ship pulls away.

Al’s Birthday and drawings

April 1, 2011   

Yesterday was Ali’s 30th birthday so we had a little celebration – Sam made the cake (a sponge cake with pink decorations – princess cake!!), Rob made the frame, Tommy did the drawing and Katie stole his mail that last two times mail has come in so he had a large pile waiting for him in the morning! I come to think of it did nothing but sign the card despite wanting to make the frame! I will come up with something to do 🙂

Today I spent the morning making drawings of a new ‘fence’ which I would like to put up next to the jet boats which are tied up at the wharf. Basically at high water there is a potential that the boats could end up on the wharf if HW occurs during a storm so I would like to extend the height of the wharf by a meter. Cambridge asked for the drawings so they could get approval from South Georgia Government and to make sure we had thought it all through before building the fence. Hopefully we will get started on it in the next few weeks.