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King Edward Point Diary — September 2012

September has been my first month on base and it has been incredible. I am here visiting Jo Cox (Government Officer) and I have been making the most of this fantastic opportunity.

In early September it looked like the snow would not be with us much longer and the last ski was soon to be had; however with several big dumps of snow throughout the month conditions have remained surprisingly good. There have been many local ski outings throughout the month including this particularly tough day at Penguin River, pictured below.

Recovering from a long ski to Penguin River. (Photo: Will Whatley)
Recovering from a long ski to Penguin River. (Photo: Will Whatley)

Saturday nights at KEP are always looked forward to and this month saw a couple of special ones. Including a Gurka Curry night to celebrate Pat’s 50th birthday and an Arabian themed nights where we all ate sitting on the floor in our makeshift bedouin tent.

Arabian Nights (Photo: Will Whatley)
Arabian Nights (Photo: Will Whatley)

Other social events included a fantastic BBQ in the hold of the Pharos, with excellent food and a fantastic music selection provided by DJ Tamsin.

The highlight of the month for me was without a doubt a four day holiday to Carlita on the Busen peninsula. From Carlita we walked over to the Husvik side of the peninsula and camped there for the night. We encountered an abundance of wildlife including lots of reindeer, the first elephant seal pups of the season and countless gentoo penguins coming ashore to nest.

The Carlita Bay and Hut. (Photo: Will Whatley)
The Carlita Bay and Hut. (Photo: Will Whatley)
Our campsite near Husvik. (Photo: Will Whatley)
Our campsite near Husvik. (Photo: Will Whatley)

Whilst at Carlita we skied along towards the retreating Neuymeyer glacier. The scenery in this part of Cumberland west bay is some of my favourite in the Antarctic and it is ever changing with the glacier receding at a metre a day.

Me skiing towards the Neumayer Glacier (Photo: Will Whatley)
Me skiing towards the Neumayer Glacier (Photo: Will Whatley)

A Search and Rescue exercise was due to be done and our pick up from Carlita was the chosen occasion. With Jo hiding up the Olsen valley a short way with a “broken ankle”, I called in the cavalry and the SAR team did a fantastic job of finding Jo and getting her back to base safely.

The 'casualty' Jo Cox ready to be transferred to the boat. (Photo: Will Whatley)
The 'casualty' Jo Cox ready to be transferred to the boat. (Photo: Will Whatley)

On the 26th September we had our first elephant seal pup born at KEP. Luckily Sarah Lurcock noticed its imminent delivery so most of the base could go out and watch. There have been plenty more pups popping up around base and in other areas.

The first Elephant Seal pup and proud Mum at KEP (Photo: Will Whatley)
The first Elephant Seal pup and proud Mum at KEP (Photo: Will Whatley)

The final weekend of September was the most stunning weather with not a cloud in the sky and very little wind. It was hot enough for skiing in just a T shirt and sunbathing on Maiviken beach. There was lots of outside activity in the clement weather including an ascent of Mount Hodges and the Maiviken hut was fully booked all weekend.

Tortula Cove - Maiviken (Photo: Will Whatley)
Tortula Cove - Maiviken (Photo: Will Whatley)

September has seen a reduction in the number of boats working in the South Georgia fishery with only one krill trawler left by the end of the month.

The final Saturday night of the month was cooked by doctor John, it was delicious. The menu was fantastic with potted salmon to start followed by roast duck, chocolate torte and cheeseboard to finish off. A magnificent end to the month.

Will Whatley