King Edward Point Diary — February 2003
Back to school!
King Edward Point Diary
February has seen us all go back to school, well actually lots of schools. As well as the ubiquitous Doc School which this month has included a surgery tour, wound management and stitching, we have had Spanish School, Boat Handling School, Knot School, Abseil School, Stove School, Fire Extinguisher School, Watercolour School, and last but certainly not least Foot School run by Suzi and Frin. More on some of these later.
The month started with the return of the Fishery Patrol vessel Dorada from the Groundfish Survey, bringing us back Therese and Suzi, and dropping off Mark "Monkey Boy" Belchier and The Mighty Martin "Cookie Monster" Collins for ten days of unrelenting science (she's a cruel mistress....) The story of the Survey is an epic tale involving fish, nets, knives, more fish, ice, deep sea cameras, whales, yet more fish, bribery, corruption and chocolate, and is best told in picture form by Suzi....click the image to enlarge it.
Having munched his way through the biscuit tin on Dorada, Martin headed straight for the dining room in search of something with McVitie's written on the packet. Later that evening we had a barbecue on the ship before returning to base.
Steve, Jude and Therese left KEP on Dorada on February 2. They had been here since BAS's return to King Edward Point in 2001, and the fact that a relatively new set of buildings has such an established sense of being lived and worked in is largely down to them and the rest of their team of pioneers. Quite a few tears were shed as they left - Steve and Jude were bound for a couple of months holiday in the Falklands and South America, and Therese off into the waiting arms of Andy.
We had a few weeks of fantastic summer weather (people reading this in other bases may wish to skip this part) and at one point the temperature reached a fantastic 20° C. Some of us even managed a spot of sunbathing in bikinis on the veranda, but the resulting photo is not flattering so has been censored!! The summer flowers were out in force - most of which are foreign species that have been introduced over the years. However, the dandelions and buttercups do bring a nice touch of yellow to the slopes around Grytviken and the Point, and dandelion and tussock grass salad is a common item on our summer menus - some adventurous folk also make a tasty salad from dandelion leaves.
Sporting activities this month have included another match for South Georgia FC, this time against the James Clark Ross team. Once again we were beaten (3-1), but were coming back strongly at the end. There is an excellent match report (I believe) on the JCR web diary. Hopefully Santa will bring us a new football pitch for Christmas, as the existing pitch is an entertaining mixture of bog and tussock, with patches of knee-scraping gravel lurking in the middle. This time we managed to get some spectators - attendance was 2 - thanks to Willem and Evert from the yacht Terra Nova. They would have played for us, but had just done their washing and were due to sail later that day so didn't want to get too muddy! In order to get fit for our next match (and for skiing when the snow arrives), we have taken up running at lunchtimes. For some reason, we three girlies seem to come back from running resembling ripe beetroots whilst the boys don't even seem to sweat. Such is life....
The ship visits have continued throughout the month. As well as the aforementioned visit from the JCR (which also involved another appearance of DJ Howie's disco), HMS Leeds Castle paid us a very enjoyable visit, showing off their stunt ship-parking skills in the process. HMS Endurance also called in and gave us a look inside one of their helicopters ("Suzi! Don't touch anything!") and a chance to stock up on chocolate and Pot Noodles from the NAAFI store. The tour ships continued to pop in and out, with many of them inviting us on board for meals, sometimes in return for a short talk about the work done here. There are often very interesting people on board these ships, and this month one of the visitors was Toni Hurley, daughter of Frank Hurley. Frank Hurley was the photographer on Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition and took the unforgettable photograph of Endurance stuck in the ice with her rigging covered in rime.
Here at KEP it is a little bit different from the other BAS bases because we have neighbours! We celebrated what would have been Shackleton's 129th birthday on 15 February next door at Pat and Sarah's with a delicious nine course meal featuring local cuisine and red wine. Then on the 20th we all went over to Grytviken for a buffet and presentation at the South Georgia Museum - Molly presented an anemometer (wind-speed measuring device) taken from an Argentine submarine in 1982 to the museum collection. The pictures below show the dinner party (left) and the presentation. Click the images to enlarge them.
So, another busy month for us down here at KEP. One small unfortunate matter is that the ship specially chartered to bring our Valentine mail down here appears to have sunk without trace!!!! So, boys, we expect a gigantic effort next year - chocolate and flowers are always appreciated....
For a final picture, here's Howie trying out a prototype of the hot tub we hope to have installed by this time next year (are you listening, South Georgia Government?!). Bubbles are model's own!!
Anyway, it just remains for me to say hi to all the "old" team, wherever you are - we miss you - and send lots of love to Mum, Dad, Marky, Janey and Olly (big hug from Aunty Poops).
Bye for now,