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King Edward Point Diary — August 2012

Well where do I try to begin to share one of the most pleasurable months I’ve had on this Island with you, in this, the August Diary… I think I can safely say, one of my best. It was action packed, the base a hive of activity with memory making days just rolling from one to the next.

The best place to start I guess is with the first weekend of the month, Friday the 3rd and the beginning of the 48 hour Antarctic Film festival. This is the third year KEP has taken part in the guaranteed weekend of high jinks, dodgy acting, fancy dress costumes/props and what KEP can offer better than anywhere else — high speed boat chases. Every year the previous winners choose elements that have to be included in the five (ish) minute film we must write, record and edit over the 48 hours of the weekend. So this year, a Queen, the sound of cracking ice, the line “I’ll save you”, a mouse and a map of your local area had to feature in any way shape or form in the film.

And so the brain storming began…

How could we go wrong? We had a handsome 007 (the granny’s favourite!), a busty Bond girl, an Irish Queen, 3 bald villains, a 5 ft 5 penguin and a Yorkshire man playing Q. A fine recipe for a blockbuster I hear you say. The photo below is testament to the serious production we endeavoured to produce!

Believe it or not the guy on the right was the film director! Andy, Matt and Jo (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Believe it or not the guy on the right was the film director! Andy, Matt and Jo (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)

Rather than spend the next three paragraphs reminiscing over a marvellously fun weekend, I shall invite you to click on the link below and hopefully you will enjoy the fruits of our labour as much as I certainly did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGE4zbHWpcM&feature=share

So from one weekend to the next, after another rapidly disappearing week vanished here at KEP. On the Friday night, we all pulled up our chairs and score sheets and settled in for an evening in front of the big screen. We were all eager to see the other bases entries to the 48 hour film festival, the weird, the wacky, the ones that leave you shaking your head and speechless but then also the rare gems of cinematic brilliance that make it all worthwhile. Every individual on each base, all over the Antarctic who took part has a vote to cast in different categories, some of which include acting, best use of elements and overall best film. There was some clear looking winners from early on and the French bases running away with the awards but Rothera featured in the prizes to fly the flag for BAS. We can hold our heads proud, the standard was higher than normal and well it’s all about the taking part they say (you’ve guessed it — we didn’t win a sausage!) The other highlights of that weekend must certainly include a mouth watering feast cooked up by Sarah Lurcock (South Georgia Director of the South Georgia Heritage Trust) in Carse house. I know you all think we have a hard existence here on a remote Sub Antarctic Island, and some days it does feel very much like that but then you will hear that we had mango trout, reindeer pate and guinea fowl to name just a few courses, I’m sure you will think otherwise. A ski was definitely in order the following day after the banquet, so James, John and myself headed up towards Junction valley, behind Brown mountain, and down into Penguin river. Thanks to the patience of those two my skiing has come along leaps and bounds this winter, and I’m loving getting out as often as I can and venturing onto steeper slopes than I imagined I would have done over the last two winters. So after a well deserved sauna, we watched the rest of the 48 hour film entries and the Antarctic cult classic “The Thing” before ending a lovely day, of a super weekend after what had been a very satisfying week.

Skiing trip (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Skiing trip (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)

The next week saw three of the lads head off for a week of skiing on the Greene Peninsula. John, Erny and Al from Tuesday to Friday, which ended up being Saturday (18th) due to some adverse Moraine fjord conditions. It was a well overdue holiday for the hard working trio and I’m sure they enjoyed the bonus night on the Greene and we got them home for the weekly Saturday night soiree which no one likes to miss. Miss Brigden was the hostess with the mostest on said evening — the finest cheeseboard creator in the Sub Antarctic… It had been a lovely day to be on the water that day, with the RIB zipping down to the Harker glacier to take in the sights. It was on this day that we first caught sight of the massive iceberg lying at the entrance to the bay, and is still there to this day as I write the August diary, over a month later! The triangular shaped berg, measuring approximately 7.5 nautical miles (NM) along its longest side, almost completely blocked the horizon when looking out from the bay. An even larger berg was lying further north of the Island. Called C19C, this berg originated from the Ross Ice Shelf, breaking off in May 2002. The main iceberg then split and split again producing C19C which drifted westwards on the circumpolar current. C19C was positioned at 53.2°S 37.1°W on August 16th and is 19 by 15NM, more than three times bigger than the smaller one. A stunning NASA satellite image shows both bergs in relation to the Island.

Satellite image showing the icebergs (NASA)
Satellite image showing the icebergs (NASA)

Now, where are we, another weekend vanished into the very happy memory archives of KEP. I was already looking forward to the next one, a four day weekend. Highlights of the week included reindeer burgers (food always features high in my personal diary!) boat school, some more skiing, and stripping outboards.

The long weekend couldn’t have got off to a better start, with a skiing outing to Maiviken hut with James and John on the Friday. A well earned cup of tea in the hut and a spot of lunch, set us up for the icy ski home where a beer, a sauna and a hot steamy shower were waiting to top off the super day.

Maiviken Hut (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Maiviken Hut (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)

It was then almost time to get ready for an eagerly anticipated holiday of my own. Andy, Will, James and I were heading off to the Barff Peninsula on the Tuesday for some crevasse training and a little explore of the local area around Sørling hut over as far as Ocean Harbour. They say a picture speaks a 1000 words, so I’ll let the smiles and photos do the talking after a tremendous time away, thanks to James, Andy and Will and of course this Island.

The Mr. B pose! (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
The Mr. B pose! (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Will enjoying lunch on the Nordenskjold glacier (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Will enjoying lunch on the Nordenskjold glacier (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
I'd rather be PAT testing than jumaring! (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
I'd rather be PAT testing than jumaring! (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Nordenskjold Glacier (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Nordenskjold Glacier (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Shake and bake Anders! (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Shake and bake Anders! (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Not a bad spot to spend the night. Again - the Matt Kenny pose in Ocean Harbour (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
Not a bad spot to spend the night. Again - the Matt Kenny pose in Ocean Harbour (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
One of two leopard seals at Ocean Harbour (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
One of two leopard seals at Ocean Harbour (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
The happy campers - Andy, Will, myself and James (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)
The happy campers - Andy, Will, myself and James (Photo: Paula O'Sullivan)

And so concludes the sensational month that was August. Another month notched on the calendar. Time is slipping by too quickly these days for me and it’s very true what they say — “Time flies when you’re having fun”…

Paula O'Sullivan
Boating Officer