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Apr 05 - Signy and Bird Island

Noon Position : lat 53 47.9 S, long 37 56.1 W

Course made good: Variable

Air temperature @ noon today :  4.4 degrees C

Sea temperature @ noon today :  3.7 degrees C

Wind: Direction W, Force 6

Dear Diary..........well we have been busy since I last wrote.  After all that Swath and whale-watching we visited Signy for the last call of the season.  Turn off the lights and lock the door behind you!  Then we moved on and completed the third Western Core Box of the season.  If you aren't sure about the core box then read about is on this previous diary. 

We have now switched completely to logistics. So it was off to Bird Island to load cargo.  They have been very busy at BI this season.  As well as the science, which is ongoing, there has been a big project to build a new base.  As you can see from the photos they have made amazing progress.  We had to bring out a lot of the waste from the building work as well as the usual end of season cargo.  On our second day at BI the weather was calm, with bright sunshine.  Exceptionally rare!  So as many people as possible took the opportunity to walk on the island and see the wildlife, it was so good to see the albatross and their chicks, giant petrels, penguins, pipits and of course seals. That was all happening today and we are now steaming towards KEP, South Georgia, to arrive first thing in the morning.

Here are the photos so that you can see what we've been up to.

Closing Signy Base

Chris Green spots an iceberg Chris Green spots yet another iceberg!

JCR and icebergs The James Clark Ross parked behind a couple of handy icebergs whilst anchored off Signy during the last call.

Elephant seals  Elephant seals kept an eye on us throughout the whole proceedings.

Waiting for the ship Waiting for the big red taxi home!  The hardened explorers sitting amongst their belongings, hoping that they get picked up.

JCR and cargo  And here she is to fetch them all and their luggage!

First light in the Washington Strait  When leaving Signy we went through the Washington Strait in dramatic conditions at first light.

Last Call Bird Island

Bird Island before the rebuild    Bird Island after the rebuild The before and after photos of Bird Island Base.

The Bird Island building site Building site, BI style.  Fur seals are just one of the additional difficulties round here..

Albatross courting Albatross courting.

Albatross and chick    Albatross and chick Albatross chicks, cute aren't they?  Don't get too close or they'll vomit on you.

Big Mac penguin colony 'Big Mac' the Macaroni Penguin colony, if you look closely every dot is a penguin.

I'd like to say thankyou to the people on Bird Island on behalf of the crew and scientists on the JCR.  They have been the perfect hosts and tour guides for all of us ship-bound visitors, and we loved the cakes Sarah!  Thanks for a great couple of days.

Sarah  Sarah, with South Georgia in the background.

The Willis Islands The Willis Islands as seen from the meadow on Bird Island.