King Edward Point Diary – August 2005

31 August, 2005

Another action-packed month

Another action-packed month down at the KEP OK Coral.

There have been a few getaways this month. The only problem was however the amount of time spent waiting to get replies to see whether people could go or not.

Steve Artis (our Mechanic) and Rick Johnson (our Boatman) went across to the ‘Dark side of the bay’ to Jason harbour and spent a night there.

They did a great job doing essential maintenance to the hut and installed two bunk beds. This was later appreciated by two GSGSSI persons who overnighted there, Pat Lurcock the GO and Harriet Hall the assistant commissioner of GSGSSI. They were both well impressed by the work that had went on and thought the guys had done a great job. Thanks guys, good to see the work was appreciated by some folk.

As mentioned in last month’s newsletter we had to say good-bye to Bernard Meehan – boat handler (for the readers out there he did leave in August and not in July).

Bernard has had to go back to the UK for personal reasons, he was a great character to have here and he is missed by all. Hopefully I’ll get to have a few beers with him one day. (For a pic of Bernie leaving see July’s diary).

Going back a few paragraphs KEP had the company of Harriet Hall for 10 days. After a not too nice time at sea on her way down here it was a relief for her to reach dry land and chill out. She had a wonderful time at KEP, some good nights in the bar, and some good days out. Sarah Clarke (our chief scientist) and myself had the pleasure of taking Harriet down into Moraine fjord in a RIB to view the Hamberg and Harker glaciers. The weather was awesome and the scenery stunning. Being a bloke I grabbed the wheel and let Sarah do the talking. For the cynical, this years BAS calendar falsely named the Hamberg glacier, the Hambrey, which on closer inspection revealed it to actually be the Harker, if in doubt ask!!!

Ali our BC has also departed us this month. The pressure of the job is too much and she needs the next upgrade of the BC chip. She’ll be back in October but standing in for her is Steve Artis, he hasn’t pulled his hair out yet but give it time. Ali and Steve had an ‘away day’ a few weeks ago and went over to Dartmouth hut and explored some of the Greene peninsula. It was a good trip and they both came back with big grins on their faces.

There have been some other good trips this month, a day trip up to Glacier col with Jamie Watts and Will Reid (scientists), along with T&P. Both Jamie and Will are Level 2 T&P proficient and are going for their ‘Lone skier’ tickets.

Another trip was Harpon bay with Jenn the Doc, and Will. After a dodgy landing on the beach, which ended up with everyone soaked, we spent a night drying out in the hut, thanks Rick!!!! We’ll not mention too much about Will being in the little dotty boat and almost getting rammed by a twin engined 10-metre metal contraption. Sarah Lurcock was at hand taking photos and laughing at the whole thing! Cheers!!!

We had a nice walk to the Lyell glacier and a ramble along the nearby beach viewing elephant seals, fur seals, gentoo penguins and giant petrels. Being in the hut felt like being on a train as it shook all night. I’m not sure what was going on with Jenn and Will on the top bunks but they claimed it was the wind.

With the weather getting worse the base started to get worried about three adults stuck in a hut so they tried to get us back via a boat, this proved risky and so we chilled out for an extra day and then used our combined age of 91 to think for ourselves and walk home.

I can’t go on any further without mentioning poor old Quest our fishing boat, well; she’s out of action again. This time a fractured housing, parts on the way we hear. Rick had left ~@#*’! at the wheel and next thing we were scrambling the rescue boat. This has affected the science work a little but with Rick’s enthusiasm and skill an outboard motor has been fitted and she’s ready to go again, even if she does need the whole base on standby, just in case.

We’ve had a couple of good nights this month, one was a meal at Pat and Sarah’s (pumpkin soup, salmon, and real cheesecake) and another was a Reggae / Caribbean night with Jenn’s ‘Cuba Libre’ sorbet. Clarkie’s rubber plant decorations were there to remind us of the plantations back in the slavery days along with (fake) Marijuana leaves to show the righteous way that the enlightened go.

I suppose as the base spark I should say a little about what I do. This month it’s been mostly trying to defrost a frozen sewage pipe. Working with Steve and the occasional spare beaker we’ve been ramming rods and firing high pressure hot water up the pipe to free a blockage that was almost 2metres of solid waste. Luckily however for us that it was the Larsen building and not the main Everson block that we live in. Larsen is used by visitors to the island i.e. contractors, marine observers, museum assistants, and others of that ilk. The problem had two major contributors, the septic tank that has slowly filled up with sludge over the years and the other part of course is the easterly breezes that bring in icebergs and swells which hammer the outflow pipe and fill it with silt. As I sit and write this, the pipe has been knocked and is now pointing up to the sky and is blocked again. The joys. What we do know is that a pump is on its way from FI and we’re going to pump out the tank.

The last thing I’ll mention is one more trip that I had and that was over to St. Andrew’s bay with Jamie and T&P. A marvellous ski (7 – hrs) starting at Sorling Valley, stopping at Hound bay for lunch and then carrying on up the hill towards Mt. Skittle. A superb day was had in the surrounding area with Jamie and Pauline watching Leopard seals eating penguins, whilst Tim and me explored some local terrain. The trip back was done in 8 hrs but that was with a stop off at Hound bay for 1 hr where we lay in the sun, looked at mountains, listened to the surf and had lunch. The weather was great, blue sky all day and no breeze at all.

That’s all for this month…

Take care, and sending love to all my family and to all the comrades and punk rockers out there.

Krissi…… 31st August 2005 ‘Freedom and Solidarity day’.

Chris Hall

KEP Electrician.