Archive for September, 2011


Not always

September 30, 2011   

Base from Grytviken on not such a glorious part of the day while out skinning

It isn’t always dingle days here in South Georgia and now we are in spring weather it is pretty volatile. A friend commented how bright it was down here and not so dull as he thought. That is mainly because I only ever post pictures of it being a beautiful day and also we have all the seasons in one day. Today it was snowing when I got up at 6am but at 12 noon I was out running on the beach in a gentle breeze and blue skies with sun. By 2pm it was averaging 30 knots with gusts to 50 white out at times and large white caps in the bay!

An arty picture of the impellors in our jet units on the launches from inside the unit as I was changing out the internal anodes. The horrible job of grinding off the non skid deck at the helm position was completed and a new section of adhesive non skid mat was installed. Also a new section was put in where you board the vessel.

Prion’s servicing is done and we got her back in the water yesterday in time for a Ice Fishing boat inspection. As she had to go back in at high tide it was an early morning.

Picture of Pancake with mother by Sam Crimmin. Pancake has now been joined by another 6 ellie pups on the beach outside of Carse House.

I have started to make a table to go with the chairs I made for Dad’s birthday. With the forecast for this weekend not looking that great I might have it all put together and primed ready for a top coat next week.

The midwinter picture needed a frame so using greenheart from the whaling station I made a simple rustic frame which Rob cut some glass for and Ali is making the matt for. Sam took the picture and has printed it out so the whole thing is a base affair.

Yet more snow shoes to fix with the same problem on all of them. I also found that the Atlas ones have a problem with a weld that had failed on 4 of them so I gave them to Tommy to fix with some stainless tube, rivets and welding they were good as new.

Tax $ at work

September 28, 2011   

Yesterday my US tax $ were put to good use! The Nathanial Palmer came to station as they have been doing Benthic trawls of the Scotia Arc and the government invited them in for a visit seeing as they were just off Cumberland Bay. They arrived first thing in the morning but by the time Robert had given them a talk about the Island and they had visited the museum it wasn’t until 1pm that people started to arrive on station.

As it was a stunning morning I went for a 7:00am skin over to the hydro and then as it stayed beautiful and the tide was low a lunch time run along the beach back to the hydro. As Pat and Sarah were on holiday they said I could use the bike in Carse House so in the evening I cycled 20km.

In between I worked on the jet boat resealing the sponsons and started to grind off the deck paint to apply new adhesive non skid decking.

Ali, Rob and myself split up with groups of Americans to take around on a tour of the base and they reciprocated with a tour of the ship which I didn’t go on as I had been aboard at Rothera. However, Rob was sent on a mission aboard to find me some hot chocolate Nestle Swiss Miss style. He succeed in bring me back a full Costco size box, my future camping trips are now complete. Also a plate of proper chocolate chip cookies which I scoffed down straight away – so tasty. Their generosity didn’t stop there! We were given more freshies than we have seen since The World (cruise ship last season) who gave us items back in January. A box of banannas, oranges, pears, avacados, celery, 15 heads of lettuce, more than a dozen cucumbers, potatoes and onions. Tonight we are all full having feasted on all the delicious food. Hence my tax $ at work seeing as I get to pay the US government despite not being in the US for 17 months!

Pancake the pup

September 25, 2011   

The paraffin filled jerry can at Maiviken hut unfortunately rusted resulting in a substantial leakage. Seeing as it was a low contrast day I decided to walk out instead of ski to the hut with a new can.

Yesterday the first ellie seal pup of the season was born at King Edward Point. As is tradition the first pup is named last year the pup was called ‘Charlie’. Unfortunately Charlie died when a bull steam rolled over him on the way to the water, the result was the death of the pup. As a homage to Charlie the base has named this seasons first pup Pancake.

The wildlife is starting to come back slowly but surely I am sure there will be a rush in the next few weeks. This female ellie lying in the shallows looks like she is ready to give birth any minute soon.

Winter ascent of Duse

September 24, 2011   

After taking Pat and Sarah over to the Greene for their holidays we enjoyed the glorious weather and went down to the glacier fronts.

Afterwards we headed to the wrecks at the morraine enterance their was no swell so we were able to get up really close to them.

After lunch Ali, Sam and I headed out for an ascent of Duse with ice axes and crampons. The picture above shows the route we took up the gully from the plateau to the summit.

There were snow petrels flying all around the summit they were quite inquisitive swooping around us. As we climbed you could see their shadows on the snow in front of us.

Once at the top the view was exceptional so Ali took pictures for a 360 interactive including the one above of myself.

The sunset was beautiful on the way back down the gully it set over the mountains casting a pink glow over the snowy summits. We got back in time for a quick shower before a tasty meal of Spanish tapas cooked by Katie. (Photo by Ali)

RIB tipping weather

September 22, 2011   

The weather on Friday was horrible there was no way we were taking Pat and Sarah on holiday. I checked in on the two RIBs we had outside when I went down to work in the shed. Both were doing fine head into the wind with their covers on. However, some 60 knot gusts came through and 30 minutes later Matt came down and looked at the RIBs – we had a situation.

Luckily there was little damage to the boat with the only damage being to the navigation light.

In a brief lull we got Tommy and Rob down and the JCB out and we were able to put the RIB upright on the snow. The wind picked up again though so we left the JCB pinning the RIB down, the trailer lashed down and the other RIB lashed to the row of containers.

In the next lull Matt and I lifted the boat on the strops and put her back on the trailer.

After the excitement I wrote an incident report for Cambridge HQ and asked for concrete blocks to be installed so we can tie the boats down in future. Report writing complete Matt and I went back to jet boat servicing and scrub out.

I finished off the job of restocking our pantry shelves ahead of first call so there will be room in the food store for all the new supplies at the beginning of November.

Changing weather


First thing this morning it was a stunning day.

I took off at 7am for a skin to the museum this is the view looking back at base.

The same scene at 10am the weather changes quick in SG at all times of the year.

Lunch with Ernest

September 21, 2011   

The self righting bag looks like it has a case of the chicken pocks!

This morning when I awoke it was snowing lightly but the wind had calmed to nothing. We have been needing to take the jet boat out for servicing so Matt and I pounced on the opportunity. We cleaned the turbos (lots of smoke!) on the engine and a few small jobs while we waited for the tide to rise. After pulling her out we set to work straight away on servicing the self righting bag which like the other boat had lots of bubbles in the hypalon and unfortunately is also quite damp inside the tube. The anchor locker checks, engine ventilation system, annual jet unit servicing, normal 4 monthly jet unit servicing, repair of some damage to the hard sponsons – as usual the list of jobs on boats seems endless.

The day turned into one of the most beautiful SG days so far it seems spring is finally here. So taking the opportunity I jumped on my skis packed up my lunch and headed over to do a loop of Grytviken. I stopped for lunch and sat on the cementry fence next to Ernest Shackleton’s grave. What a stunning view he had today.

Back to the boatshed for more boat maintenance, the gym, dinner and a movie as it is wednesday night.

Verutti Family Fund

September 19, 2011   

Just after I came down to South Georgia I learnt that Joel Verutti one of the Moore 24 fleet ‘elders’ died from a brain tumour. My brother and I have raced in the Moore fleet for the five plus years on our boat Flashman (the blue boat in my blog header). We have not been that competitive and unfortunately with my work schedule and Daniels growing family we have not been sailing with the fleet in the last two years however, the Moore ‘family’ is a pretty tight knit group. Joel was always more than willing to give Daniel and I advice about how to get more out of our boat and really was a truely corinthian sailor a pleasure to race against and get beaten by!

In an attempt to help Joel’s wife and young daughter to build a new life without him the fleet have got an auction going at Many of the items are Moore 24 specific however, there are quite a few fun things whether you are a sailor or not including diamond earrings, travel luggage, dinner at a fire station, beach houses to stay in, tech support services etc. I scratched my head for a while to think about what I could possibly put up for auction and the end result is a talk about living and working in South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula. So go to the site and see if there is anything that appeals to you it really is for a great cause. Thanks for reading.

Full service


It wasn’t very nice weather on Monday but I really needed to get the 6 and 12 monthly engine services done so I wrapped up in the beautiful insulated orange boiler suits.

Cleaned foam filter for the turbo

We have to remove the covers off the heat exchangers as the penguin feathers clog them up and remove them with welding rod.

The lovely feathers that clog our engines up.

It takes an awful long time to get 10litres even pre warmed of oil out of each engine using a priming ball from the outboards! First call (November) we are getting a little 12V pump and it will make the job a lot quicker!

Melted away

September 18, 2011   

The snow tunnel is no longer – in the space of 34 hours the temperature went from -2 to +12C (53F). There are massive puddles all over and Ali’s snow hole has caved in.

The bummer is we didn’t even get to ski as the track was closed with avalanche risk and it went from snowing and cold to warm and wet overnight.

Sarah did a grand job of 70’s night with a seventies style buffet of coronation chicken and many salad type dishes. I didn’t feel that great so let the side down by not getting dressed up and went across to eat and then headed back to bed. It was a bit sobering when we realised that I was the only person on base born in the 70’s – made me feel old for sure – the rest of the BAS personell were all born in the 80’s.

However, everyone else got into the spirit of the event dressing to impress.

Robert the Government Officer

Tommy making use of his mohawk

Ali showing off his chest hair and wearing the ‘birthday shirt’. Apparently the shirt has been on base since the military were here. A marines mother sent the shirt as a joke for him to wear on his birthday and for many years after that whom ever’s birthday it was had to wear it.