King Edward Point Diary – February 2007

28 February, 2007

February on base…?

What a month for all-round activities, from work, our daily base life, to our continuing discovery of this wondrous island.

Cumberland Bay this month played a very important part in welcoming the many cruise ships, with their onboard adventurers visiting Grytviken and KEP. The museum Staff Miriam, Serita & Niall were kept very busy in presenting talks to the passengers onboard and aiding the island’s guests throughout their South Georgian visit to King Edward Cove.

Team Fish had a scheduled visit from Mark Belchier; science coordinator for KEP science. We had a fantastic time in meeting and getting know Mark a lot better in his hopes and aspirations for the science team here at KEP. Under Marks guidance the team soon were heading towards Quest with great enthusiasm as they threw the fishing net aboard and headed out to set it at the 100 metre site. Checking the net the very next morning (Hallelujah Chorus) the first tooth-fish, for the team, of the season.

Mark with Team Fish,From left:- Anjali Pande, Mark,Jen Lawson & Charlotte MainJen & Serita removing Team Fishes’ first Toothfish from the net.

We ate very well that coming week…

As a base we have been honoured in assisting with the visit of Gordon Liddle, ( GSGSSI’s Operations Manager .) Gordon was here to assess the delicate wildlife infrastructures present on South Georgia one being the impact of the reindeer on the nesting birds. Martony, KEP’s Chief boatman, escorted him to a number of glaciers using the boats. Gordon was concerned with the receding of the Glaciers possibly due to Global warming and the reindeer populated areas.

Since the Good ol’ days , when the first explorers and entrepreneurs hit the shores of S.Georgia building the first communities, the steady coming and going of the whaling fleets and supply vessels brought with them a fiend for the future… the Rat. Over the century’s the rat has taken a foot hold within the ecosystems of the island, sadly inflicting harm to nesting birds such as the Sooty Albatross and Pipit. The South Georgian government’s growing concerns over this rodents’ destructive character has brought in Darren and Derek. Darren’s work throughout the world specialises in the eradication of rat infestation from large land masses & ecosystems.

The hopes are that Darren’s work, here in S.Georgia, means the rat can be eradicated to help boost the bird population once again. Gordon Liddle happily escorted the rat team around various S.Georgia peninsula’s to asses the overall coverage of the rats inhabitation. On leaving KEP, for home in the Falklands, Darren and Derek trained members of the team to use the specialised tracking gear which had been deployed to track the rats. We are all looking forward to Darren and Derek returning next year to continue their work.

HMS Edinburgh gave the bay a visit this month with certain training exercises. The team were pleased to be involved with helping the crew to have time ashore, by using the boats to transfer the ships company to King Edward Point for a good days leave. All members of the team were raising their hands to the air to volunteer to assist with the boating, which was a continuing all day event. As the sun descended behind the mountains that evening the last of the guy’s and girls were transferred back on board, with the team returning to a good hot meal and glass of wine for a hard days work.

It finally arrived!!!!!… months of training, a year of anticipation and then the horn sounded… Off were the competitors for this year’s 2007 S.Georgia half marathon. With the weeks leading up to the horn going off the final places were taking bets. With the regular observations of seeing Andy Barker heading out every morning in running shoes with walk-man, a definite first place was in the bag. Second & third place had speculation but all in all it was a very open event. Manning the various check points throughout the local area where Morrison’s contractors (Principle sponsors of the event) who set themselves up to monitor the runners, recording times and refreshing all who past with squash and chocolate. All who started finished with Andy Barker creating an assault on the course record for next year with recording a time, this year of 1hr56mins. Arriving home in second place was Charlotte Main with Anjali Pande arriving third. The team reflected on the day’s event with a BBQ thrown by Morrison’s. Certain points were raised over how two of the competitors took the wrong turning off Brown mountain, (no names to mention) adding 20 min’s to their times… Oops!!

The radio crackled with our good friends from the Pharos Fishing Patrol Vessel heading into the Bay to moor up at the newly repaired Jetty: Courtesy of Gareth and Andy. As she approached steadily all fingers were crossed, and maybe a few legs too, in the hope that the new fenders would hold. John (Captain) showed us why he was the captain and brought Pharos gently alongside. The team hurried with the lines as the wind raced down from Mt. Hodges pushing her onto the straining Fenders but safely alongside. The Pharos had come to pick up Gordon and Mark.

Before I bring this month’s newsletter to a head I could not go without mentioning the weather. From the sunny warm days of the summer, February brought a change, which saw 2 days of torrential rain. The mountains surrounding KEP and Cumberland Bay poured waterfalls from their slopes, washing away tracks and over spilling the small streams. During the teams trips away from base to the surrounding Peninsulas, reports came back as to how much of the land had changed. Gorged by the rushing waters.

Looking through the month of February, the team here at KEP has moved forward in their everyday lives. Sailing away for the long weekends to observe some of the spectacular wildlife enriched areas around Cumberland Bay. The stories shared, the adventures, and mostly the photo’s are the treasures which are with us each time we look out of the window to see the mountainous island which we presently call home… South Georgia.

Looking forward to March…

Andrew C.