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25 March 2001 - King Edward Point: A New Chapter

RRS James Clark Ross Diary

Noon Position : 53° 11' South, 45° 49' West.
Distance travelled since Grimsby: 26,279 nautical miles
Air temperature @ noon: 5.4 degrees Celsius
Sea temperature @ noon: 5.7 degrees Celsius

Science at the beginning and end though a little business and relaxation in the middle.

This week started with us doing our acoustic surveys off the north western coast of South Georgia as described in last weeks update. This was completed by the early hours of Tuesday morning after which we repositioned so that at first light the ship was at the entrance to the Bay of Isles. This is at the western end of South Georgia on it's northern coast. The aim here was to sail in and out of several bays on our way down the coast using the swath bathymetry equipment to do enhanced surveys of the bays. Many being done in far more detail than has ever been possible in the past. The weather at the start of the day was not brilliant, but brightened up in the afternoon to give us some great views of the later bays as seen below with this image of Leith harbour.

A Panoramic view around Leith Harbour, Stromness Bay. Click to enlarge.

A Panoramic view around Leith Harbour, Stromness Bay. Click to enlarge.

Rainbow over König Glacier. Click to enlarge.Due to the shorter days being experienced as winter approaches down here, we did not complete all the bays on the way into King Edward point. We did, however, manage to complete the last two, Cumberland Bay West and Fortuna Bay, on our way out afterwards. This allowed the chance of seeing this rainbow over the König Glacier at the head of Fortuna Bay.

An Important Week for King Edward Point, South Georgia.

This week has marked a change of residents at King Edward Point on South Georgia. Instead of a British Military detachment being stationed here keeping the Marine Officer and the other residents company, a new research station was officially opened with its' scientists and support staff who will be living here.

The opening was the culmination of six months hard work on the ground and a lot more planning before that. It has seen several new buildings erected and fitted out, this includes accommodation, laboratories, food stores and a facilities building for the generators, boats and workshops. The work was carried out by Morrison Construction, as main contractor along with Tophousing of Sweden, both of whom were involved in the new building at Rothera Station that we wrote about last season.

The left hand montage below shows some images of the new base and each are individually identified in the enlarged picture when you view it. The right hand image is similarly labelled and shows the base and JCR and the two naval ships out at anchor. Also shown is the beautiful Grytiviken church in which a service was held and The Commissioner laying a wreath on the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

A montage of views of the new buildings. Click to enlarge. Some other views of the day. Click to enlarge.

A montage of views of the base. Click to Enlarge.

Some other views of the day. Click to Enlarge.

The period at King Edward Point allowed everyone onboard the opportunity of a walk ashore to stretch the legs, with several people walking over the hill to the nearby cove at Maiviken. Though when the writers went over it managed to snow all the way home, but no complaints as the place is beautiful, even if you do have to watch out for the fur seals hiding in the tussock grass. Others left the ship for an inspection of the new facilities for themselves, which are impressive and more than one was heard to comment about wanting to spend time here.

Friday morning saw us depart KEP having disembarked nine people to be joined by nineteen taking the ship up to nearly full capacity. Most of these being building staff who have completed their work, leaving a few compatriots behind to tie up the loose ends before the RRS Ernest Shackleton will bring them out later. We have also been joined by the Commander British Forces Falkland Islands (CBFFI) and his wife for the return leg having travelled to South Georgia courtesy of HMS Leeds Castle. So hopefully we are able to give him a view on how BAS works during his period onboard.

Tuesday morning should see us into Stanley for our last call of the season. So next week will see us heading northwards as winter starts to loom down here.

King Edward Point - The Bridge's Eye View.

You might have noticed from the picture of Leith Harbour earlier on that David has just worked out how to do panoramic views with the digital camera, so we give you KEP as you've never seen it before.

Panoramic view of King Edward Point. Click to enlarge.

Panoramic view of King Edward Point. Click to Enlarge.

As for the other locals

As can been seen from the pictures below the local wildlife showed varying degrees of interest to the days proceedings....

Fur Seals. Click to enlarge. Elephant Seals. Click to enlarge.

Fur Seals. Click to Enlarge.

Elephant Seals. Click to Enlarge.

Those that are staying behind... At KEP

Those that are staying !. Click to enlarge. In a couple of weeks the eight intrepid people will be deserted by the builders and HQ staff to start the first winter for the new base. From left to right we have; John Blunn (Base Commander), Howie Owen (Boatman), Andy Smith (Mechanic), Therése Mulvey (Scientist), Daranee Boon (Doctor), Steve Brown (Electrician), Judith Dickson (Scientist) & Simon Morley (Chief Scientist). We all onboard wish them well and look forward to seeing them again next season, have a great time.

Man of the Week

Jim & Dr Pip. Click to enlarge. Just to show what a versatile crew we have we thought we'd show Jim (AB) assisting as personal dresser to Pippa (The Doc) as she dons a dry suit to enable her to travel in the Military detachments rigid raider boats. It looks like it could be a damp ride out on the boat, if you need that suit!

Weekly diary entries