King Edward Point Diary – March 2004

31 March, 2004


This month’s news letter is going to be a little different than usual. It is time you had a tech services look at things down here in South Georgia. The month got off to a good start when a couple of us and myself “Brian” stayed up to do the official turning of the Kylie calendar, which is in the bar as it happens. It went well and we all agreed that it was better than lasts months picture, I think the others must have had a sneak preview and went to bed early. Despicable behavior! To help pass the time we had some tech service wine which to everyone else is rum and coke, while Pat opted for the tech service white wine which is also known as G and T.

After the success of the half marathon there was talk about having what could have been the first South Georgia beer festival but when we put together our training program it was noted that the training program would consume all our beer stocks. The beer festival was therefore put on hold, but I think that the JCR comes in at last call next month and there will be a bit of training done then.

This month two of our team have celebrated their birthdays. Frin’s birthday came first on the 8th and Jenny’s on the 23rd. Frin’s birthday was a very pink day, possibly her favorite color! We had a bit of a Saturday night party and a fantastic meal across the road at AWG on the 8th prepared by Andy and Martin. There was another celebration which almost went unnoticed when our Volvo generator set 3 reached the 20,000 hour mark. For a little treat I shut it down for a couple of hours, changed it’s oil and wished it well for hopefully another 20,000 hours after which it may be put into retirement.

As well as all the usual things that you need to survive down here, like central heating boilers, triple glazing two dish washers, we have a fantastic Swedish thing called a sauna. Our sauna must have the best view of any sauna in the world, we look out to see the fur seals and penguins on the beach. One time in the sauna it was quite bizarre to see flocks of tourists walking past the sauna window. The last of the tourist ships have been and gone so we should be safe in there again.

As I am constantly reminded by the science team here, the only reason that I am indeed in South Georgia is to support our world class science team so I will hand you over to Suzi from team fish to tell you what’s new in the world of fish science.

Fish science news from Suzi

Another thing March saw some exciting arrivals in the aquarium here at KEP. Whilst cleaning out the crab tanks one morning I noticed a small pair of eyes looking at me from the side of the tank. On closer inspection I saw a tiny fish with its tail curled around. Over the next week or so the whole science team (Suzi, Frin and Rich) watched as a total of 28 baby fish appeared. Baby fish come from fish eggs and fish eggs come from a big fish so you might assume there were fish in this tank. You’d be wrong though because these little fish hatched from the shell of one of our crabs. Some Snailfish, which is what our little babies are, lay their eggs in the gills of particular crabs. The eggs then develop in a sheltered environment away from predators until they hatch. Snailfish have a sucker with which they have been found to “hitch a ride” from crabs. The story of Snailfish in these waters is rather unclear and we are now hoping to study the development of our little fish and identify them properly. See next months newsletter for a picture.

Fascinating Suzi!!!

However back to the real world. Another thing that people may or may not realize is that we have no chef here, so we take it in turn to cook the evening meal. That is something that remains stressful but it’s only once a week. There are people who take their cooking a little too seriously though, they make all sorts of amazing biscuits and cakes that are to hard to resist. Luckily we have Chris who is still doing circuit training with us twice a week. It is ironic that he and the doc are probably the biggest bakers of cake, no wonder they have to go out running as often.

For Jenny’s birthday Chris opened up the Komrades coffee shop in the morning where we were spoilt with the best coffee and home made biscuits to die for. Once again we all ate far too much, then we had the birthday cake which was shaped like a penguin. Jenny would like to say a few words.

If any reader is under the mistaken impression from this newsletter that the whole base does nothing but drool over the semi clad form of Kylies adolescent body airbrushed onto the calendar that hangs behind the bar- I would like to correct that misperception- and say that indeed there is a wet patch of carpet beneath the calendar from the salivating – TECH SERVICES males, who turning their backs on the view of Mt Paget out the window rather face more gentle slopes of Kylies thighs and cleavage- not realising that anyone who has such an appearance must have the personality of a snail fish.(Or some other form of sea weed.)

I tried- unsuccessfully to bin last years Kylie calendar- that shrine of femininity was pulled out of the landfill container- decaying food wiped off, and placed back on its pedestal. I placed a calendar of the sunny scenery of Southern Africa on the wall next to Kylie – however this fails to attract half as much attention!

Mmmm!! I sence a little tension there Jenny. Moving swiftly along.

On the 11th we had to say our goodbyes to five of our South Georgia team. Andy and Rosie who have been here working at the museum since October have moved on to new challenges. I thought long and hard about what to say about the pair of them, but nothing I could think of even came close to doing them justice. We miss them lots. Tim and Pauline Carr from the museum left to go on their first holiday for many years, and we look forward to hearing their adventures in a few months time. Steve the taxidermist also left us, but hopefully he will be back later in the year to continue his amazing work.

On the arrival side we have Rob who came in on the JCR to join us for a couple of months. He is what is known as a Field Assistant or a GA, they usually live in tents and have large beards. Rob has not got a beard but we do wonder if he has a tent in his bedroom! Since Rob arrived the weather turned wet, yet he still managed to get us all out and about in the hills. Frin and Peter managed to get out and about on their summer camping trip, they had the best weather of the year and came back with a sun tan. I was talked into going out for 2 nights with Vicky and Suzie, now don’t get me wrong camping is great but usually there is a pub close at hand.

March saw the first radio darts match of the season, when the HF radio turned bad we continued the match with Bird Island by telex. The match went well until in the end we both struggled to finish. Just as the darts were getting boring Pat won the match for us. The telex conversation was getting interesting as Rich tried to do some trading for Bird Island’s only real asset!

A little bit of useless information there were no planes sighted in the skies over King Edward Point, or no polar bear sightings this month.

I shall pass you back to Jenny for another quick word, hopefully.

Poetry evening was held in March – the second one this year and the last one before AWG left. Once again the collection of poems was diverse – but each poem revealed a little about the reader – such is the nature of poetry. Chris spoke about coffee being like his mate (…who must be dark skinned as he likes his coffee black – or perhaps she’s just steamy hot?), Vicky chose the humorous aspect and wrote a limerick for everyone (remarkable similarity to a Friday base meeting – all very humorous), Little Al read about ‘what it feels like to feel artificial breasts,’ (no comment), and Frin read two poems – one about chocolate cake (hmmmmm – the best food in the world, …can I marry you…) and the other about a vicar with rather long fingers… And that’s just a few of the many read. With Tilley lamps lighting the building and the skeleton of wood that outlines all the rooms casting shadows over the poetry readers who clutched at cups of mulled ale, it was an evening to be remembered by all.

That was better Jenny.

On the wildlife side of things there is a lake a couple of miles over the hill that has been full of fur seal pups. It is an incredible sight to watch possibly over 100 fur seal pups playing at the same time, in the same lake.

The month came to an end much the same way it started with even more of us waiting up to turn over the Kylie calendar. We all agreed that it was better than last month’s picture. The calendar was given to me by a friend of mine, Simon McCulloch who I think deserves a mention for such a popular gift. I would also like to mention fellow boarder Chris Higgins who celebrated his 30th birthday in some quality pubs back home in the sunny South West Scotland. There won’t be any speeding tickets on Loch Lomond this year Chris!

Well there goes another month, another month closer to getting back onto snowboards and skis for the chicks with sticks. I had plans for building us a ski lift but it failed it’s risk assessment at an early stage. So for this month I would like send my best wishes to my mum and dad my grandpa to friends and family, hi to Tina, to Steve Burns and love to the girlies from Brian.