King Edward Point Diary – May 2013

31 May, 2013

May is the greatest month of the year. ‘Quite a grand statement’ you might say,’ what about December?’. Forget December, its rubbish. May is the best for two reasons 1)It is the month of my birth. And 2) It is only 3 letters long and easy to learn how to spell when you are young unlike months like Febraury… February. In Spanish it is Mayo, an extra letter but still easy to spell.

If you haven’t gathered from this ramble, not much happened here this May… Well when I came to writing this journal entry 5 months after the date, I can’t really recall much happening in May. My work as the Zoological Field Assistant had mostly wound down from the hectic summer of seal stalking and penguin watching. This meant only one thing: Holiday time. But where to? Zante, Kos, Ibiza, Newquay? No, even for holidays you can’t leave South Georgia. You can do all the things that you would regularly do on holiday: lie in your trunks on the beach with a nice cold beverage. You could do, but you would regret it and find yourself very frosty. May is not spring here, it the lead up to winter.

For my holiday and birthday I got to do something I’ve always wanted to do, which was head to the King Penguin colony at St. Andrews Bay. So walking machine Joe Corner and I loaded up our tent, and to Joe’s joy, my tin whistle. To get to St. Andrews Bay you have to cross the great expanse of the Barff Penisula, a journey which Joe and I ‘beasted’ in 5.30 hours. A new record time? Oh yeah.

Once at St. Andrews Bay I immersed myself with some of the 500,000 King penguins. And took some 500,000 photos. That’s an exaggeration, but it was a lot. While at St. Andrews every day I got to sit very still in the middle of the colony and pretend I was a penguin. It wasn’t very hard to do, all it takes is sitting in the colony and looking a bit bewildered, and boom, you’re a penguin. Instead of changing to a king penguin’s diet of squid, for lunch I stuck to the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Spending all the time with the penguins was amazing; however their conversation was a little thin. For sanity’s sake, after 5 days Joe dragged me back to base to socialize with fellow co-people. My days as a penguin were over.

On our return from St.Andrews Bay we were met by our old friends the Warship Clyde, who came in to base for some light socializing and hillwalking. Hillwalking should sound like nice little jaunts with the navy, but end up with our seasoned walkers ultimately attempting to ‘break the navy’, which occasionally has been achieved. It’s more a game of shattering their spirits on a steep mountainside rather than breaking bodies tumbling down the slopes (that is less funny).

WAKE UP! Sorry, I may have surprised you there. But I was only trying to simulate the surprise we got when we were woken at 3am on the 16th to the news of an incoming tsunami. Few things can make a person literally leep out of their bed as the news of an incoming tidal wave. The team frantically threw some warm clothes on and grabbed their most valuable item, in my case: a photo of my mum… only joking, I grabbed my SLR camera. After stocking up on vital chocolate, we dashed up the side of Mount Duse behind base, clambering up the slippery slope yelling ‘Every man for himself!’. Safely above tidal wave level we then waited for 4 hours sat eating dairy milk watching the sun rise over the placid calm ocean. Crisis averted!

But that’s enough from me, as I can’t remember much more of what happened in May. But, I did take a lot of photos, which is what you really want to see, not reading me blether on about KEP. And if a picture is worth 1,000 words, that makes this journal entry 10,824 words long, which is not bad for a first journal attempt. Probably a bit long actually.

Till next time,