Bird Island Diary – August 2005

31 August, 2005

A fun and frantic month

Hello and welcome to Bird Island’s August web page!

Well, it has been another fun-filled and frantic month. We have had a few extremes of weather this August, with gales, rain, snow and sleet… and that was in one afternoon!

We are now firmly settled in our new base, and apart from the little niggles usually associated with moving house, everything is going fine, the 4 of us are rattling around our big new home filling every available space with stuff!

I finally managed to get one of my major winter jobs completed, the re-fit of the workshop, re-using fixtures and fittings from the old base. I admit I don’t quite have the flair to start my own “transformation” TV programme, but I think the results before and after speak for themselves.

Not that I can, or will take all the credit, everybody helped out, and received my thanks, especially Isaac, who helped me recover from the “Too many nails for one shelf” incident – but we don’t talk about that.

A good Saturday afternoon was taken advantage of with another long walk around the island, although I pottered off to get some pictures of the crashing seas and sleeping seals for my rapidly growing photo album. I don’t think the seals were that bothered by me snapping away mind you.

We have even had a couple of nice sunsets during the odd lull in the weather, and some beautiful purple skies on an evening or two.

With the land still icy and the seas rough, we are continuing to get visits from leopard seals, although not as many as last month. One evening on the jetty a leopard seal came swimming over to have a look at us, and I managed to quickly snap a blurry shot of it silently gliding past.

The Wandering Albatross chicks are starting to fledge in earnest, and are becoming excited juveniles – (just like teenagers) – stretching their fluffy and feathery wings in anticipation of the flighty adventures they will go to in the future. Although I do think they have lost a little of their “cuteness” and are starting to look a little straggly.

Then again they do not have a warm base to sleep in at night!

Gentoo penguins are still coming inland in the late afternoons to escape the attentions, (and the jaws) of leopard seals, noticeably at Johnson beach and Landing beach.

With some unseen signal, they all swarm ashore in perfect formation. The next morning, they all swarm back again, all performed in perfect penguin precision.

We had a royal visitor too! At the very end of the month, a King Penguin appeared and looked regal, but lonely on Bird Island.

We decided at midwinter (21st June) that the 21st of each month would be an occasion, last month we had the “Little Britain” night, and this month we decided to have an Xmas party, this is probably unlucky to some people somewhere, but as we will not be together at Xmas, Sarah took on the serious challenge of “The Xmas Dinner”. (With a little help from “Good Housekeeping” but keep that quiet…ok?)

Helen eagerly piled in to help, and Isaac and me completed a traditional Xmas by drinking mulled wine and trying to fall asleep watching films…

Well we couldn’t all fit around the stove! (Good excuse though?)

Other Saturday evenings have usually been themed by the food being cooked. We have had a French night provided by Moi. An Eighties night admirably cooked (And DJ’d) by Helen, (Which brought back a lot of bad shirt memories) and finally a Japanese night served up by Isaac.

I can certainly say I have eaten some things here I have never eaten before, and I am not sure if my chippy back home does seared squid, sashimi or sushi! Or even just olives and feta; (Not my usual fuel) To be honest, I am beginning to think my taste buds will never be the same again, Although that could be the after effects of the Wasabi!….Ouch….!

Well another winter month draws to a close, and I am sure more adventures await us in September.

Once again I wish all the best to my friends, and send love to my family.


Allan “Tommo” Thomas