South Georgia


Emptying the cupboards

December 8, 2011   

I spent the morning helping Sarah out at the museum emptying all the cupboards over there of excess outdoor equipment much of which is very outdated being from the early 80’s.

It seems such a shame to be throwing out all the military snowshoes and skis. In fact I am bringing a set of each home as I can’t bare to see them be thrown in the tip. Maybe when I have a house they will look good above the fireplace. When the military garrison left it seems they left behind a full set of skis and snowshoes. Sarah kept a certain amount of military gear as it will soon be considered artefacts for in the museum.

I was able to snag a hard ski transport case which will be useful to get my skis home in one piece and also a few other bits and bobs including some arctic warefare tent booties which after a wash will be perfect to keep my toes warm up Aconcaqua.

Yet another stunning morning giving way to rain in the afternoon. I am trying to savour as much of my time left on this amazing island.

Dinner party after dinner party!


After a delicious dinner on Wednesday at Carse House I spent Thursday working on cupboards, spreadsheets, reports and then was invited with rest of base aboard Bremen for dinner. I finished work at 5pm and headed up Duse taking 6 minutes off my time from the beginning of the week. Just enough time to jump in the shower and rush down to the wharf to go aboard.

I didn’t know it was such a fancy ship so I had not really fully dressed for the occasion. We were seated on two tables with two expedition leaders on our table and as the menus were in German we had some interesting translations. One was water with cows swimming in it! – beef broth soup in english! Seven courses later it was time to jump off the ship and head home.

A new training program

December 7, 2011   

I have changed to a new daily program. AM 3.75km run, lunch time lifting weights and now the load carry of 33.5kg (73.7lbs) up the side of Duse after work.

Picture showing the scree slope I am going up in the evenings!

Today it was raining and I arrived back just in time for dinner soaking wet. Needless to say this meant the scree was very slippery and I fell twice on the way down even with walking poles. however, I cut 2 minutes off my time from yesterday so it is now taking 1 hour 4 minutes to get to the plateau at the bottom of the gully and back.

I load my rucksack up with water so that when I get to the top I can empty it out and only go back down with 10kg. This is to save my knees from the impact damage.

I am quite pleased as I get done with this and don’t feel like I did anything so I am hoping this is a sign that all my training has paid off. Now the unknown is how I deal at altitude.

I was lucky to be invited to Carse House for a delightful dinner and evening. I will miss hanging out with Pat and Sarah they really are a great couple with a long history in South Georgia.

Dentist visit

December 6, 2011   

John the Dr stopped for a few hours sorting out the food store and donned his surgical top to be my dentist. BAS gave him three weeks training as a dentist and he did a wonderful job of cleaning my teeth and lecturing me about brushing to hard. So I will make a concerted effort to change the way I brush – I wonder how long that will last!

The dense fog in the morning cleared to give us stunning weather in the afternoon.

Tuesday was busy with lots of maintenance to be done. So I got stuck into servicing the lifejackets which means inflating them, checking the lights and whistles and measuring the weight of the cylinders etc. We do the service every 6 months.

Stenhouse Sunday

December 4, 2011   

Today despite the mist we decided it was a good day to head out to Stenhouse which is a peak I have wanted to climb since we got here. Only one more to go in the travel area before I have summitted all of them! Les, James, Kalinka, Rob and myself had a great walk and were given some glimpses of the wonderful view a few bits at a time. Not a hard peak to climb even though initially it looked like it was going to be.

The gully on the way down was mud/scree on a large slab which made for a fast ascent if you were not careful. As I was the last in line there was pretty much a slick surface to make my way down!

Back in time for a sauna, some buttermilk biscuits (which I was craving for some reason), a haircut and still enough time to clean my room before dinner and a movie. Only one weekend left 🙁 my departure is coming quickly. Hopefully before I leave I will get to put up the christmas ornaments at the church and make my gingerbread house to leave on base for everyone to smash on christmas day.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Forgot the picture

December 3, 2011   

I realised I had forgotten to post a picture of Tommy and I’s new roof at St Andrews and also us two at the end of a long wet day of reroofing.

Furry pups everywhere and a whaling birthday


This morning I had a very long conversation with my mother about our February travels in Peru that we are planning. A few more hours on the spreadsheet and then time for a walk around to Penguin River as I hadn’t been over there for a while and wanted to check out all the furry harems along the beach.

Two new furry pups napping in the sun.

Two weaners lounging in the tussock.

The beach was cluttered with pups and their mothers guarded jealously by lots of large males. In fact it was quite a spicy walk along the beach but well worth it. I diverted up into the tussock every now and again to get around a more protective male and had to jump from tussock mound to mound avoiding the smelly wet muddy elly wallows and the weaners.

Also had to be careful not to run into the lone pups who are hidden up off the beach in the tussock waiting for their mothers to come back from a four to five day fishing trip.

It was Katie Whale’s (so called as she is Katie that works at the whaling station as opposed to Katie who is the fisheries biologist and is called Katie Fish) birthday today and she wanted to have a BBQ and the party in one of the old blubber tanks.

There is one with a large hole cut in the side and the roof has been removed. It is a cool venue especially when Tommy takes the generator over and puts up the coloured lighting.

The candles were forgotten for the birthday girls cake so I jumped on the bike and headed back to base to get some. The sun was just setting and there were some beautiful clouds over base.

The South Georgia Mechs way of lighting candles!

I had the pleasant surprise of remembering that I had forgotton to put my advent calender that mum sent down out and therefore got to eat three days of chocolate.

Dinner out and spreadsheets

December 2, 2011   

Thursdays weather continued into Friday with 55 knots + in the Cove and yet another cruise ship finding life a little difficult for landing.

Can you tell how excited I am about the proposition of my morning run?!

I spent another day in front of the computer doing spreadsheets for my annual report. I made the mistake of asking my boss if the way that it had been presented before was how he wanted it done again. Apparently he was having to re do the numbers so we decided on a spreadsheet that would mean he wouldn’t have to re do them this year. This meant that I had to scrap the work I had done and start again – rookie mistake 🙂

I was lucky enough to get one of the spots to go aboard the old Prince Albert II for dinner which was very tasty. I was on a table with two interesting couples and the ships Dr. One couple from Brisbane Australia and the other couple from Boulder Colorado. The Dr is a fine arts studen studying in New York as well as a cruise ship Dr and was from Turkey. The meal was a delicious 5 course meal with many choices for each course. Unfortunately we were leaving at 10pm and with two minutes to go I had just ordered a chocolate cake with ice cream for dessert and had to leave it 🙁 However, the expedition leader came running after me with a plate of delicious fruit which everyone helped me gobble down as we donned our boatsuits and headed for the zodiac.

Summer Snow

December 1, 2011   

This morning we awoke to a dusting of snow on all the mountain tops.

Yesterday I was on earlies and decided to offer fish or pork for dinner with a choice of lemon drizzle cake or carrot cake. I am trying to use as much as possible all the extra goodies I brought with me in the P box. I only have one more earlies rota before I leave base for good. Time has flown by.

As I type this out the window a cruise ship is exiting the cove quickly with it’s tail between their legs with the wind they were dragging anchor and have a ton of kelp on it streaming off the bow. There are three little zodiacs following along like little ducklings!

Frank Wilde

November 27, 2011   

Today we all went to church. A cruise ship came in bringing the ashes of Frank Wilde to be buried in the cemetry next to Sir Ernest Shackleton. The boys dressed up in their suits and ties and the officers of the fisheries patrol ship were all in their shirts and ties with epallettes with the South Georgia crest. It was wonderful to see everyone make an effort.

The reverend of the church came from the Falklands with his wife to conduct the ceremony and there were many Wilde family members as well as Ernest Shackleton’s grand daughter. Luckily it was flat calm, sunny if not a little chilly.

Rob played two Shetland tunes on his fiddle, the church was absolutely packed and there were at least five TV cameras. Sam was the local Paparazzi all the pictures on this post are by her.

After a church service with hymns and eulogies by the Reverend and the Wild family members there was a procession from the church to the cemetry. The family members and VIPs were allowed inside the fence while the plebs (us included) lined up along the fence line to watch the proceedings.

The ashes were put in the ground to the right of Shackleton’s grave. The author of The Quest for Frank Wild who found the ashes in South Africa and organised for them to come to South Georgia owned the original cards that were put on Franks tomb in 1939. She had two of them laminated and attached them to a wreath which was laid on his new resting place in South Georgia.

The tradition of a toast to Shackleton with a shot of whisky then occurred and all were invited inside the fence for this. However, after the toast to Shackleton there was a toast to Wild before the remains of the shot were poured onto Shackleton’s grave.

Frank Wilde was Shackleton’s right hand man and stayed on Elephant Island to lead the men there while Shackleton headed off on the James Caird for help from South Georgia. It is fitting that he has been returned to the South to be buried next to his friend.