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King Edward Point Diary — October 2004

Spring

Its spring in the Southern Ocean and lots of cool things have been happening at King Edward Point. I like South Georgia lots, especially its wildlife (including FISH), scenery and people so coming up is a little bit about each, as they were in October.

Wildlife

Dad Sleepy Weaner

Above: Dad and a sleepy weaner.

Weaners, weaners, weaners, everywhere. They are so super cute. "Ba AA Ba Ah". They go. And they are born right outside our window. I kid you not. How will we ever be happy to work anywhere else ever? And the elephant seal dads are fighting for their bit of the action and puffing up their huge noses and the mums are getting skinnier and skinnier as the babies chub out. And the babies just go "Aa Ah" some more. Sometimes a pup gets run over by a dad or loses its mum and it's heartbreaking and nature seems cruel. But mostly it's super amazing.

Our favourite ever so beautiful sooty albatross are back too, they screech "AWWWWWWWWwwwwwwww" and pairs soar perfectly-together, kind of Jurassic park meets top gun. And the Giant Petrels (Jeeps) and skuas and sheathbills are here, yumming up weaner afterbirth. Jeeps are big and gangly and when they land they stick their feet out and stagger with their wings out in the funniest manner. Northern Jeeps have pink bits on their beaks and southern ones have green bits.

A Jeep safely sat down

Above: A Jeep safely sat down.

Terns are here too twittering all the time and eating flies on the lakes and the white chins petrels came back to their tussocky hides and it's lovely to hear their chatter in the night. Musky old furries have also begun to stake out their territories and it is good to have them back. Yippee!

Fisheries science is still cool, I love fish and squid and sea gooseberries! Suzi's snailfish has grown almost 8 mm since it was born 8 months ago and is quite a handsome chap with big eyes and a long tail. The berried (or pregnant) crabs in the aquarium are fairing well too, we hope for babies soon. Spring has also exploded in the sea; suddenly it's thick with beautiful plankton including tiny fish. Baby rattails, thousands of lantern fish with dark teardrop eyes, rock cods and toothy icefish with wingish fins have all turned up in our weekly plankton trawls (now sold as whale watching trips since a right whale and her calf were spotted this month).

Jen, Chris, Rich and H dissecting adult Rattails

Above: Jen, Chris, Rich and H "dissecting" adult Rattails, surplus to scientific requirements but not gastronomic ones!

This place is ace. Its so beautiful mountains and sea and snow wow. Its amazing too how the snow is gone for just a couple of days and the lowland is green. Not slowly green as you would imagine, waking up after a long sleep. But quickly green, wham bam, green.

The mega berg is still around and as it slowly disintegrates, icy hunks fill up our bay. And how old those bits must be. And how pretty they are all shapes and colours and worn into spikes or boulders. And sometimes they CRacK and it sounds like the island has split in two but it hasn't really - only a tiny lump has broken off. Or calved off, it makes me smile to think of bergs as calves.

Quest in the bay

Above: Quest in the bay.

We have done a bit to keep this place beautiful this month too. Rich has organised a number of beach cleans. It's sad to see litter on the beaches and annoying to clear up other people's mess. But at least here you really can clean a big beach, leaving it spotless. I reckon you would be hard pushed to remove every piece of plastic from most beaches in the UK. We must make less waste mustn't we? Otherwise the lovely world is going to be full of rubbish soon. If you see me with a plastic bag when I get home please pinch me very hard! Well back to fun:

People

Above: People, we get to meet the coolest people here. They are always warmly received.

Yachts came back this month and we tried to speak a little French and a little Spanish and practiced the drums and heard of brilliant adventures and met the cutest little boy and ate some tasty cakes. Thank you Golden Fleece, Northanger and Vallhalla.

Northanger on her way to explore the island Gaston entertains Nik with some dancing

Above: Northanger on her way to explore the island and Gaston entertains Nik with some dancing....

We love our friends on fisheries patrol vessels Sigma and Dorada who look after us very well all year round even when it's very stormy, and keep the fish safe too, lucky us.

Dave keeps the ladies happy on Sigma

....and Dave keeps the ladies happy on Sigma.

Finally look! Here's Brian on his birthday; we had cake and chocolates and dancing, and then we went on a magical mystery tour on a pretend bus, good one Bri! And thank you very much Margaret for sending Acres of Sky, now we all want to move to Port Logan.

Brian on his birthday

Above: Brian on his birthday.

Well that's all folks. I am very lucky to have spent two years here, its been amazing and very fast, zooooooom. My eyes are still wide. We all send lots of love and kisses across the sea. I'm sending back-mending fairies too, see you all soon, yippee.

Love Frin,
X X X X X X

Frin