Bob from the Fisheries Patrol Vessel took us to the beach (Salisbury Plain) on tuesday morning in the zodiac with a weeks worth of camping gear. We had steamed all night from KEP to the Bay of Islands after the Cumberland Bay Plankton Trawl. The primary purpose of going was for Pat to inspect the landings done by the cruise ships and to assess if they were taking sufficient measures to not unduely disturb the wildlife and to comply with the regulations of the SG Government.
There was one cruise ship already doing a landing so we cached our kit and then headed over to watch the landing and talk to the expedition leader. There were a lot of furries on the beach staking out there territories. Only one female had turned up and given birth. As the wind showed signs of increasing I headed back to the kit and put up the tents headed into the wind.
After lunch the wind shifted 90 degrees and came howling down the glacier increasing in strength to what I estimated 60+ knots. It proceeded to flatten Pat’s tent breaking four of the poles and piercing the flysheet. No pictures as I was too busy with Pat picking up the pieces! We decided to take down my tent before it was damaged. As Pat had his gear in a state that allowed him to move it and I had my kit out of my bags he headed for the morraine to seek shelter. I stayed and finished packing away my tent and organised the kit that needed to be moved the 1km to the morraine. I tied the rest of the kit to a 20L jerry can of water and covered the boatsuits with rocks. There was no shelter close to the morraine on the Plain so we had to climb up into the boulder field and found an area that was relatively sheltered that we could move a lot of rocks around and eventually create a platform of sorts for the tent. We were able to repair the poles from both tents and pack away the tent that was too damaged.
Taking Stephen Venables advice we put two poles into each channel and the tent was solid as it would ever be.
The advantage of the new campsite is that it was near a clean source of water that the penguins had not stood in! This was the storm clouds when I stuck my head above the parapet after re pitching the tent.
The next few days we sheltered into the tent while it howled a gale outside and sleeted, rained and snowed. Meanwhile we read a lot of books – I read about high altitude medecine and Pat read Ellen’s book ‘Full Circle’.
Thursday night was pretty cold before I went to bed I popped out to go to the toliet and my boots were frozen solid. On Friday morning the rivers were frozen but the wind had dropped and the sun started to come out so we could see the glaciers.
Self portrait taken yesterday just before being picked up by the fisheries patrol vessel.
Friday night I did the Rosita Bay trawls for Katie. This is the net going in for the first trawl.
We headed overnight back to base and arrived in Cumberland Bay to 35-40knot winds with 65 knot gusts. As the FPV couldn’t come alongside in those winds Matt came out to pick us up on the launch. Unfortunately one of the engines caught on fire as they approached so he quickly shut it down and headed back to base on one engine. We got back to base not much longer after Matt having caught a ride with Bob on the FPV RIB which was launched with us in it over the side.
Re reading the post I realise that I didn’t even mention the 10,000s of thousands of King Penguins which is why everyone visits Salisbury Plains. It is a colony which is a little smaller than St Andrews and it covers the Plain as well as the tussock covered hills above.