Nov 24 - Signy Island
Noon Position report:
Latitude: 55 12.1 S
Longitude: 041 07.2 W
Bearing: 236 °T, 128 Nm from Bird Island
Cruise Number: JR 187
Total Distance Travelled:
Total Steam Time:
Total Average Speed:
Wind: Direction WNW, Force 3
Sea State: Moderate
Air Temp: 3.2 °C Sea Temp: 2.3 °C
Pressure: 1009.8 Tendency: Rising
Current distance from Barry: 6,586 miles
This has been a great week! Our first task was to open up the base at Signy Island. Since it impossible to berth the ship at the small jetty on the island, so the adventure began with trips to shore in the small boats:
Once ashore we all got to work with various tasks; starting up the generators, fixing broken fences, taking down shutters etc. I was kept occupied helping to shovel snow to expose the path so that cargo could later be carried to the stores. All this frenzied activity was presided over by somewhat disinterested Elephant Seals - I must confess I was pleased at their apathy towards us — I should not have liked to pick a fight with one of those giants!
The morning‘s hard and cold labour was rewarded by a warm lunch sent ashore by the cooks on the mother-ship JCR
Our devouring of lunch did not go unnoticed, and we were joined by two extremely friendly Skewers, who joined us on the steps, willing us to share the food. The remainder of the day continued in the same vein, with the off-loading and storage of cargo, sufficient to keep comfortable those staying on base for the season. The following day, work went on, but I had by now found myself a warmer job, sorting through the medicines in the store room. By the end of the two days, we were all shattered, so Penny (the dentist) and I tried to boost morale with some tea and Welsh-cakes for the workers:
With Signy up and running, our next mission was to take cargo to King Edward Point on South Georgia. We must have seen it at its best, as the island was just magnificent:
And again, I could hardly believe it - the Welsh Dragon was there to greet me. I am beginning to realize that, like Wombles, there are Welsh people everywhere; North, South, East and West!
There was an old whaling station in the bay, the remains of which can be visited, and conjure up a rather eerie impression of a by-gone era.
Some of us took the opportunity to practise our campanology at the Norwegian church, and to visit the museum and Ernest Shackleton's grave.
Besides the stunning scenery, one of the best things about this island is the wildlife. During the day, we saw fur seals, elephant seals, even a leopard seal, Gentoo penguins, Adélie Penguins, King Penguins, and a vast array of smaller birds:
To my delight, due to a change in the weather and high work-load for our dentist (Penny), we were forced to remain at KEP overnight: inevitably this meant party time! Our kind hosts at the base, welcomed us with dinner and music and entertained us with various toys which to the unwary newcomer, resulted in a face covered in talcum powder… don‘t ask!
We were sorry to leave the sun and fun of South Georgia, but it is on to Bird island with great eagerness that we head this coming week.
The best photo taken in KEP during our visit must be this one, again, taken by Johnny: