18 December, 2013 King Edward Point
December, for the northern hemisphere, is a time of long dark nights and cold weather bringing misery to the roads as soon as the first snowflake falls; not so for us lucky people down at the bottom end of the planet. For us December is a busy time of long days, sunshine, wildlife, and big changes.
The first big event of the month was the departure of the old wintering team; our colleagues who had been handing over the reins of running the base for the past few weeks. Their year (or in some cases two years) at KEP were over and they now had the realities of departing South Georgia and fending for themselves once more in the real world.
This is certainly the month of cruise ships; tourism is big business on South Georgia, and Grytviken whaling station attracts people from all over the world. Here they can visit Shackleton’s grave, see the factories and processing plants from an era of industrialised whaling, and for some they can visit a place where their parents or grandparents lived and worked back when whaling took place. This year in particular was very special for many Norwegians as it marked the centenary of the church at Grytviken being consecrated. This was marked by a special church service on Christmas Eve held in Norwegian for the passengers of the Fram. Many of the BAS folk had a go at joining in with the hymns, but Norwegian can be a bit tricky to pick up at short notice so most of us resorted to humming along.
December treated us to some superb weather and some great days out in the hills exploring our new home. For most of the team this is their first visit to South Georgia. Some of us are here for a year, some hardy souls have signed up to stay for two years. Whatever the duration, this is a fantastic place to live and work and for everyone in the team it will be an unforgettable experience.
Merry Christmas everyone!