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Demolition Week

Date: Sunday the 22nd January 2006
Position @ 1200 Local (GMT-3): 54°01.02 South’, 38°03.18 west.
Next destination: TBA
ETA: N/A
Distance to go:N/A
Total distance sailed from UK :N/A
Current weather: Overcast.
Wind: Southerly force 6
Sea State: Moderate sea / Moderate swell
Barometric pressure: 1006.6
Air temperature: 2.9°C
Sea temperature: 1.9°C

Click on www.sailwx.info for our latest position.

The Ernest Shackleton departed Port Stanley, Falkland Islands on Tuesday 17th January. Loaded up again with fuel and fresh provisions the vessel headed for the Island of South Georgia which is the area we will be working in for the next 3 weeks or so. The main task being the removal of a demolished building at Bird Island Base which will take the best part of a week to complete if the weather is favorable. The other task for the Ship is the removal of various abandoned scientific study huts which are dotted around the coast of South Georgia as part of an ongoing clean up operation, But first we will call in to King Edward Point to pick up the Morrisons builders to assist with the clean up.

View of Port Stanley on departure.
View of Port Stanley on departure.

Cruise ship Hunseatic in Stanley Harbour ferrying passengers to visit Port Stanley.
Cruise ship Hunseatic in Stanley Harbour ferrying passengers to visit Port Stanley.

The ship arrived at King Edward Point which is in East Cumberland Bay ,South Georgia early on Saturday 21st on a grey and wet day. It was only a short visit to pick up the morrisons builders and their tools to assist with the clean up operations over the next 3 weeks.

View of Grytviken abandoned whaling station which is about half a mile around the bay from King Edward Point.
View of Grytviken abandoned whaling station which is about half a mile around the bay from King Edward Point.

The Ernest Shackleton departed King Edward Point just after lunch time on the 21st and headed toward West Cumberland bay and the first abandoned hut will be removed which is already demolished so that should make it a little easier to clear the site.

View of the base at King Edward Point on departure.
View of the base at King Edward Point on departure.

After a short passage out of East Cumberland Bay we entered West Cumberland Bay after a couple of hours, just as the weather started to clear and the sun revealed some spectacular scenery en route.

Copestake Peak , Three Brothers and the Neumayer Glacier
Copestake Peak , Three Brothers and the Neumayer Glacier

A small bay named Carlita was the location of the demolished hut but to our surprise there was a team in situ, building a new one who were just as surprised to see us and helped to load the remains of the old hut for removal.

Carlita Bay and the new red hut. (West Cumberland Bay)
Carlita Bay and the new red hut. (West Cumberland Bay)

Neil Sullivan (A/B Launchman) & Alan Newman (Chief Officer) on the way to Carlita Bay Hut.
Neil Sullivan (A/B Launchman) & Alan Newman (Chief Officer) on the way to Carlita Bay Hut.

In the meantime while the old hut was being removed, a member of the Biological Sciences Division, Pete Convey was busy collecting soil samples from around the immediate area and will be analyzing what insects can be found living in the different locations we will visit over the next couple of weeks or so, We will get Pete to write a short article for the web page about his work collecting the samples next week so we will look forward to reading that. Pete can be usually found in the wet lab on the ship where he has a piece of equipment called a Tullgren Extraction which uses heat lamps to drive out anything living in the collected soil samples which in turn fall down a funnel and are collected in a small jar which is full of pure alcohol to preserve the specimens for later studies.

Pete Convey with the Tullgren Extraction device.
Pete Convey with the Tullgren Extraction device.

The Funnels which the samples are placed under the heat lamps.
The Funnels which the samples are placed under the heat lamps.

Collection Jar with pure alcohol to preserve the specimen's.
Collection Jar with pure alcohol to preserve the specimen's.

By late afternoon the work was complete at Carlita Bay and the Ernest Shackleton headed for the British Antarctic Surveys Bird Island base where it will take the best part of a week to remove a demolished building for disposal at a later date in the Falklands,

View of Bird Island from the ship.
View of Bird Island from the ship.

The ship arrived off Bird Island early Sunday morning and by 10am the clean up operation was in full swing with the cargo tender ferrying demolition debris back to the ship for transportation out of the Antarctic for disposal.

Loading demolition debris into the lower hold with Paul Curran (Cadet) Tim Patterson (A/B) and Chris Littlehales (Bosun) waiting to stow it safely.
Loading demolition debris into the lower hold with Paul Curran (Cadet) Tim Patterson (A/B) and Chris Littlehales (Bosun) waiting to stow it safely.

That's about all the news from the Ernest Shackleton for this week, Forthcoming events include yet more removal of the demolished building at Bird island and Pete convey will be busy collecting soil samples for analysis at a later date.

Last but not least a big hello to all our friends and family's back home.

Dave Bailey.