King Edward Point Diary – October 2002

31 October, 2002

RRS James Clark Ross arrives

October was the month of scrubbing. This was not because the mess in my office had reached evolutionary proportions but rather because of the time of year, Spring to be exact, when we carry out the annual scrub down of the base in preparation for first call. RRS James Clark Ross was to be the first BAS ship of the season, arriving on 12th October on a typical, KEP, gorgeous sunny day.

The JCR is always a welcome sight but especially when she has so many familiar faces on board. We saw the welcome return of Andy Cope (facilities engineer but formerly wintering sparky), Howie (boatman and D.J. extraordinaire) and J.D. (the third sparkie on base, now working for the other side – Morrisons). We should certainly not have any trouble changing light bulbs this summer, or so you would think…..

It also saw some less familiar faces with our incoming doctor, Sue. There was a swift induction for Sue who already has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the base movies and is working on the intricacies of the foodstore.It was also a pleasure to get a visit from the Deputy Director, John Dudeney. John was only with us for a week, but that was long enough for him to get a good feeling for how the base works. We had some great discussions about the workings of the base as well as the wider issues within BAS.

As with any change of personnel it was sad to see the outgoing boatman Will McLennen leave our shores. He has carried away his little corner of Scotland but has left his mark due to his incredible creativity; drawings, propellers, anchors and some amazing woodwork within the cabin of Quest.

Almost hot jettying with JCR was Sigma, who also brought some new faces to KEP, or more correctly to Grytviken, as two museum staff, Alasdair and Irene arrived for the summer. Alasdair, a ski whizz, and Irene, a computer whizz (but also a pretty mean skier), are coping very well with juggling the demands of the tourists with the demands of the base members, “Where’s my carnivores dinner?!”.

But of course first call was not the first ship of the month, far from it. Accompanying the last of the fishing ships into Cumberland Bay were HMS Westminster and Grey Rover. As well as carrying out there millitary role they offered two fantastic weekend trips. Two of us got to St. Andrews Bay to see what must be one of the wildlife wonders of the world. 50,000 breeding pairs of king penguins and a whole lot of southern elephant seals made it an almost “lost for words” experience. The king penguin chicks are just some of the funniest looking fellas.

For those who didn’t make it to the Holy Grail of South Georgia there was a trip on Grey Rover to Drygalski Fjord. The Fjord is a favourite destination for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and a great chance to see some amazing glaciers.

With the fine weather watersports season has started. The water skis have been out and there have been a few boat trips to the glaciers and other top spots in Cumberland Bay. But as you can see there’s plenty of snow left for skiing.

Hi to everyone back home. Steph, I’ll be seeing you soon!