31 August, 2004 King Edward Point
After being here on South Georgia for the past 10 months, I can tell you that although the amazing scenery, the extraordinary wildlife and the isolated hostility of thundering glaciers never fails to astound, the human activities and extraordinary way that we live is what I want to tell you about.
There are presently 8 of us on base – the lowest contingent of staff so far this year. The other islanders are Pat and Sarah and Tim and Pauline – so there are 12 of us altogether. For the first time we eat around two tables in the dinning room comfortably.
I shall cover the topical base issues this month in order of their importance.
This forms an important part of base, mainly because we have access to fresh food once every 6 weeks when a fisheries boat is passing from the Falkland Islands. Fresh fruit, vegetables and eggs are all privileges and the incoming cargo is always well received. We managed to make a very large pumpkin last at least 3 weeks on a previous occasion.
Under the food heading, I must mention the crab’s legs that the science team provide us with a highly edible by-product of their research. The Science Team is dissecting crabs looking for parasitic creatures called ‘snailfish’ that lay eggs and develop within the gills.
While I’m mentioning crabs, I might as well mention the other edible substance the scientists play with- krill. Forget the whales- krill is excellent human food.
Next I must tell you about the latest ‘ski-naked’ craze on base. This has only briefly been attempted by one member- pity about the ‘abs’ Chris – no slabs there despite tensing!
But this may be due to the fact that Rich has shrunk his clothes so small that when he puts them on he can never get them off again.
There is plenty of love that goes around on our base. It’s a good thing that humans don’t wind pollinate like the flowers with all the hormones in the air.
We ate sushi and chocolate fondue and watched The Hours. Boys night cannot be depicted unfortunately.
Our wellington running and fearless adventurer assistant marine officer departed this month for the Falklands- he is missed- in the surgery, and on base.
Much of this month has been spent doing snow dances, snow chants, muttering snow prayers. We have a little snow at present, but for most of the month have had no snow whatsoever. What is happening to the world’s weather?
There has been some fascinating sea-ice.
Every piece of Good Writing should tell a story of sorts – so I’ve found one for here.
We run medical resuscitation scenarios obsessively, excessively because it means that if one of us did get injured we would have the necessary skills at our fingertips.
The one we did this month was number 5 scenario.
Vicky the BC had been attempting some routine maintenance of the church roof at Grytviken in her spare time and unfortunately despite being terribly adept at this sort of activity- slipped and slid- fingernails failed to grasp the slates. She fell and landed in the snow head first. Tim and Pauline were first on the scene and applied immediate first aid and then called for the rescue team from the base.
Boat-suits on, stretcher and pulk at the ready, emergency medical kit out – we were a team ready for action.
The weighty casualty was stabilised and pulked back to the boat, where our reluctant rescuer helped to secure the stretcher to the boat as he complained that he should have been the ******* patient as his thighs were contorting his body with pain after a brief ski the previous day.
Once safely back at base we put the unfortunate BC in another stretcher – the vacuum one, and then put her into another boat just to make sure that we really did know how to use those stretchers and how to fit them into the boats.
And eventually after hours of fun, we let the patient – who was surprisingly still alive – escape. A happy patient. The end.
And all I have left to say is that over every snow-less hillside lies a rainbow.
Oh yes – and hello to all who know me who read this.