Location: King Edward Point Research Station
Only approximately 70 nautical miles from Bird Island lies King Edward Point (KEP). The ship eases her way into Cumberland Bay and then into King Edward Cove. Relief at KEP is made simpler by the fact that it is possible for the ship to tie up to the jetty adjacent to the base. For those not involved in the relief of the station, there is the opportunity to get ashore to stretch the legs. The surrounding landscape provides a stunning panorama during both the summer and winter months. The frigid and lofty peaks that grace the horizon have rarely been visited, and traversed less than a handful of times. During winter, skis are the main mode of transport, with just the generators to disturb the peace.
If you have time, you can visit the old whaling station at Grytviken. Although the buildings are now off limits as they are deemed unsafe, it is still worth getting as close a view as you can of the remains of what used to be a thriving whaling industry. The grave of the famous explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton lies beyond Grytviken and is a usual destination for a low level walk around the bay.
Upon arrival the layout is fairly easy to follow, the new base buildings are on the right of the track leading away from the wharf. Many of the old buildings are to be demolished in the coming years to clear away a little of the mess that man has left behind. One item to be salvaged from the old Military Garrison that was stationed here is the copper topped bar! The boatshed is next to the wharf, and has its own ramp and winch system to pull vessels into and out of the building. The carpenter’s and boatman’s workshop is located to the back of the building, with the generator cells and local plant against the seaward wall. Further back is the accommodation building and science lab. Once entered, the living area is to the left with kitchen, dining room, lounge, and library in the rooms facing the sea. Further on to the left is the pit room (bedroom) layout, with the Harbourmaster’s self-contained flat being at the far end of the building. Directly to the right of the porch door is the plant room and electrical switch room. Further on down the hallway are conference rooms and laboratories, with the base commanders office, Post Office, and Marine officers office making up the last rooms at the wharf end of the building. The building has two main porches, with an intermediate balcony on the leeward side of the building. Inside, the area between the accommodation and offices has been built out as a wet lab area with holding tanks, filter rooms and treatment rooms.
Next stop: Signy Research Station