King Edward Point Diary – January 2003

31 January, 2003

New Year – old friends depart

Happy New Year!!

Well here we are the start of the New Year and what a start it has been for us down here at King Edward Point. First we had the Oosteshelder, a three-masted sailing ship and they joined in on our celabrations which included a boatshed disco by yours truly. New Years Day was a day off and was spent relaxing before the joys of fishing struck again. We had just got Quest, our fishing boat, back in to the water a few days before New Year after a short time out of the water receiving some TLC. It was time for the quarter trammel nets, plankton trawling and taking Pat our harbour master out to the trawlers that are in the area trying to catch ice fish (which I am told taste very nice, but I will have to take everyones word on that!)

A few days later we had a darts match with Bird Island which was good fun as the scores are read over the radio so lots of honesty is required over who is winning… unfortunately Lady Luck was not shining on us this time…

A few days later we had the fisheries patrol ship Dararda in to pick up Suzi and Therese to go on the ground fish survey for a couple of weeks. With the arrival of this ship we had the pleasure of Andy Smith back from his little “holiday” at Bird Island. So that was a mad rush round to get everything sorted at last minute. At least we got some mail from home which is always nice. We also had a short visit from the Ernest Shackleton which brought us a large amount of empty waste drums from Halley. In return we gave them all of our waste! A few hours later we had to say goodbye to Andy Smith who was on his way back home after being the mech here for nearly 2 years.

Two days later the Explorer, one of the cruise ships, came in and we had an offical base visit which was good as the ship supplied the bbq and drinks and a good time was had by all. The only sad part being having to say goodbye to Simon who had also been here for nearly 2 years, although his girlfriend was onboard so he was happy. I think by now readers there is a bit of a trend starting to happen: 2 ex-winterers down 3 to go!!

Life then got back to normal….well as normal as life can get here. With all the ships coming in and out it sometimes feels more like a major shipping port than a tranquil island!! One of the trawlers that was fishing for ice fish came back in as it had finished its time down here. Then back to more trammel nets and plankton trawls. The morning that we recovered the trammel nets it was so nice that I decided to get everyone who was interested in to the faster boats and we headed of to Jason Harbour about 6 miles away where there is a small king penguin site.

As we do not get round to Jason Harbour regularly, we took the opportunity to check that all was OK with the mooring that we have here for Quest. After about 2 hours a few more visitors arrived on the friendly ship Explorer. We all had a shock as under the sea of red coats there was Simon – back for another visit and proving that this place is hard to leave!! Also it was good for Jude and Steve to get out as time was running out for them before they left. We left the ship at Jason Harbour and headed around the rest of Cumberland Bay then back to KEP as the Explorerwas tying up alongside for the evening. Another pleasant evening was spent with our friends on this little red ship. We also have been over to the Barf Peninsula that is about 4 miles from us and got to see lots of reindeer, penguins and a variety of seals.

Well, that’s about all for this month – another busy one for us here in the Banana Belt.*

Just a short note to everone at home in the snow and cold….never mind! Missing you all loads will see you next year sometime and to everone who has left take care and take it easy.


*Banana Belt – South Georgia’s “warm” climate compared to that experienced at Rothera and Halley brought about this term.