Nov 30 - Back to Bird Island and then on to King Edward Point
Due to the fact that bad weather had stopped play at Bird Island the James Clark Ross had headed out north-west of South Georgia to undertake the Western Core Box Survey. On top of the ships complement that had arrived at Bird Island were some of the science staff who had overwintered on the Island. This was to be their one chance to take a break from the Island in the whole two and a half year stint of work there. A large proportion of the trip was unfortunately accompanied by up to force 9 winds and heavy seas, making it slightly less of a holiday for those who had become accustomed to having their feet on solid ground. After 5 days at sea, undertaking science surveys as conditions allowed, the ship returned to Morris Point on the evening of the 23rd November.
As usual, the cargo tender was launched at 6am and preparations were made to start personel movements. Those holidaymakers who had been visiting the ship, aswell as those who were still on board prior to being finally deployed on to base for their own two and a half year stints were sent ashore first. It was then, once again, on to cargo work. 7 full loads of cargo were brought back to the ship during the day and the crew did not finish their 12 hour day of hard labour until after the tender was back in place at around 6pm. Work-wise the next day was to be exactly the same, with a 6am start, 7 runs back and forth with cargo, and the tender, again running solidly through the day. It was finally stowed away at 6pm after returning to the ship with a final of personel and building contracters, now finished after the long job of rebuilding the station
As before, these two days at BI were a great chance for many members of the crew's company to get out and have a look around at some of the wildlife bird Island is famed for. The first Fur Seal pups being studied as part of ongoing work next to the base had been born while the ship was at sea and new balls of fluff continued to appear throught the 2 day visit. Some individuals were able to join base members in their daily duties around the island, visiting the various Albatross, Penguin and Giant Petrel colonies being studied continually throughout the year.
After the two visits it was now time to leave Bird Island, but prior to leaving, the ship played host to those individuals just coming out of an isolated winter, aswell as those just about to start a long stint themselves. These 6 members of staff, along with the base commander, thus came on board on the second evening for a meal and a toast to Captain Elliott's final visit to another of BAS's bases. Evening was finished off by a fresh layer of snow over the whole of the deck and it's appropriate usage as a less formal good-bye to base members.
After The Humber had been lifted back on to the deck, the anchor was brought up at 21.15 and the JCR set sail for King Edward Point. It arrived into Cumberland Bay at 4.30am and waited to berth at the base at 7am. Once the construction workers had all headed ashore, it was straight into off-loading all their cargo for the crew. After another long day of cargo duties, a number of guests from the local community and station came aboard for the evening.
The second day at KEP was bathed in glorious weather. Work was finished by early afternoon and many of the ships company were given the chance to get ashore for a few hours to enjoy the magnificant scenery. After dinner there was the chance for a last formal visit by the KEP base commander and doctor, aswell as several members of the Grytviken community. It was, of course, another fairwell for Captain Elliott, a visitor to South Georgia for many years. After the six guests had left, the ship, with Captain Elliott at the helm for the last time, cleared the berth at KEP to waving and dancing on the quayside and headed back for Stanley.