South Georgia Newsletter, March 2010

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- Disclaimer: This newsletter is not produced by GSGSSI; it does not necessarily reflect their views.



£380K In Science Grants


£380K in Science Grants Towards Marine Conservation and Marine Protected Areas


South Georgia has been successful in attracting two grants, for science projects, totalling £380,000. The two projects should lead to better protection of marine organisms around South Georgia.


Benthos (bottom-dwelling marine organisms) probably constitute about two thirds of all species which occur at South Georgia and a much greater proportion of its endemics (unique to the area). The area is poorly studied but is suspected to be highly diverse and uniquely threatened by climate change as the seas around the Island are amongst the fastest warming on the planet.


South Georgia’s biodiversity is a key component of that for UK Overseas Territories due to the Island’s great age and isolation.


A Darwin Initiative Award, from the UK Government's environment department DEFRA, has been made to begin mapping the benthic biodiversity of the South Georgia continental shelf and slope. The project will establish baseline data for benthic biodiversity around the Island and identify the key (endemic) species and biodiversity hotspots. The data generated will be universally available and will be used to formulate management strategies for the conservation of biodiversity in the South Georgia Maritime Zone (SGMZ). In particular researchers want to establish the current threats in this zone and so work out the best conservation strategy, and to be able to measure future changes.


Researchers will take new samples from the shallows to the deep sea, as well as analysing and identifying existing collections. They plan to catalogue and identify all species and input the data onto a map-based database. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) ship “RRS James Clark Ross” will be used for deep-water benthic sampling and the Darwin Initiative Award of £218K will be supplemented by GSGSSI with the donation of time from the “FPV Pharos SG” to support diving by the Shallow Marine Survey Group (SMSG) from the Falkland Islands.


The project will be led by Dave Barnes (BAS), with Martin Collins (GSGSSI) and Paul Brickle (SMSG).


The second award is from OTEP (the Overseas Territories Environment Programme). £162,000 has been awarded to identify important and vulnerable marine habitats at South Georgia that require conservation in order to better preserve the unique characteristics of its fragile ecosystem. Work will focus on the krill fishery, which is a winter fishery. The “FPV Pharos SG” will be used to investigate winter at-sea distribution of krill-dependent predators and winter distribution of fish larvae, particularly in the area of the fishery. Based on this information GSGSSI plans to develop a representative and comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). GSGSSI envisages that MPAs will assist in the sustainable management of the SGMZ by conserving habitats and species especially in the context of climate variability and change, and pressures from local fisheries and tourism.


The project will be led by Phil Trathan (BAS) with Martin Collins (GSGSSI). As well as the £162K from OTEP, the project will get support from GSGSSI and BAS totalling a further £280K.


“RFA Wave Ruler” in Cumberland East Bay. Photo Ruth Fraser
“RFA Wave Ruler” in Cumberland East Bay. Photo Ruth Fraser




Fishing And Shipping News

Motor yacht “Polar Bound” at Elsehul.
Motor yacht “Polar Bound” at Elsehul.


The toothfish fishing season has started in the South Sandwich Islands area and two longliners arrived in Cumberland East Bay, on the 18th and 24th, for inspection prior to licensing.


An icefish trawler was also inspected and licensed on the 25th before commencing fishing in the SGMZ, but had to leave shortly afterwards to get repairs made to its fish detection equipment.


The Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel “RFA Wave Ruler” arrived on the 25th and Royal navy frigate “HMS York” on the 28th.


The tourist season is tailing off with just four cruise ships visiting in March. The final ship of the season is due on April 1st.


The Walk from Fortuna Bay to Stromness; a popular activity offered by many South Georgia tour ships.



March was a busier month for yachting activity with six yachts in the area. Five are private yachts and one was supporting an expedition.


The specialist 14.6m polar motorboat “Polar Bound” arrived on the 15th with two crew aboard. The bright yellow lifeboat-style vessel is designed to be safe in ice and has been taken through the North-West Passage. This is owner David Scott Cowper's second visit to South Georgia in the vessel. On his first visit six years ago he was single-handing on the vessel's shake-down cruise.


Expedition support vessel “Northanger” arrived back on the 16th for a week's stay, before departing the Island.


Three further yachts arrived, including a single-hander on “Restless”, towards the end of the month.


Wintering yacht “Wanderer III” arrived back in KE Cove on the 27th having circumnavigated the Island. The couple aboard were blessed with a rare period of fine weather to round the usually stormy and very exposed south-west coast.




Visit Of “HMS York” And “RFA Wave Ruler”

Two military vessels visited Cumberland East Bay (CEB) during their work patrolling the South Georgia and South Sandwich Island areas of the SGMZ.


Royal Fleet Auxiliary tanker “RFA Wave Ruler” arrived on the 25th, followed a few days later by naval destroyer “HMS York”.


“RFA Wave Ruler” is in the area as part of the South Atlantic deterrence force. It is the first time a Wave Class (Fast Fleet Tanker) has been active in these waters and demonstrates the RFA’s flexibility to maintain far reaching, long term combat support in a range of theatres.


The crew of “RFA Wave Ruler” visited ashore, during their three-day stay in Cumberland Bay, before they sailed on the 28th to meet the destroyer. “HMS York” was arriving from a patrol in the South Sandwich Islands and the ships met at sea to conduct a RAS (Replenish At Sea); both vessels then entered CEB before the tanker sailed for the Falklands that evening.


The RN and RFA ship RAS at sea.
The RN and RFA ship RAS at sea.


The crew of “HMS York” have been celebrating the ship's quarter century this month. It is 25 years since the Type 42 destroyer was accepted into service in March 1985. Commanding Officer Commander Simon Staley said: “To be in command of this fine old lady, the 12th warship to proudly wear the name “York”, is a rare privilege indeed. She may be 25 years old, but to know I drive the fastest destroyer in the fleet, and that we still pack a significant punch via missiles and guns, gives great heart. The ship’s company are really terrific too, and display all the grit, character and pride synonymous with the fine people of Yorkshire.”


A small team from the Joint Services Explosive Ordnance Disposal (JSEOD) arrived on “HMS York”. It was two full days work for them to deal with the long list of potential explosives found on the Thatcher & Barff Peninsulas. More items than normal were on the list to be dealt with as an EOD visit a few months ago was unable to reach all the outstanding items at the time due to deep snowfalls. In all, thirteen items were dealt with, including a live anti-tank heat round close to the cemetery at Grytviken. Most of the items were either removed, if found to be safe, or blown up in the munitions pit in Bore valley. The anti-tank round however was too dangerous to move and had to be blown up in situ. Two further items remain on the list to be dealt with on a future JSEOD visit.


A palm service was celebrated in the old whalers' church. Photo Hollingsclough.
A palm service was celebrated in the old whalers' church. Photo Hollingsclough.


Despite “HMS York” leaving a day earlier than planned, on March 30th, the busy visit programme included: a well attended 'Palm Monday' service held by the ship's padre in the old whalers' church at Grytviken; the Captains and some of the crew of the two vessels were entertained ashore, with reciprocal social events arranged aboard ship; and sporting events included a football match, (read an excellent report on this match at the bottom of this newsletter); and super-runner and museum-worker Hugh Marsden guided the misguided, including the captain of “HMS York”, who wanted to run South Georgia's gruelling mountainous half-marathon course.


The visit of the two ships to Cumberland East Bay made for a busy time for the King Edward Point (KEP) locals with “HMS York” offered a lot of boating assistance to ensure as many crew as possible could enjoy a run ashore.


Info: http://www.royalnavy.mod.uk, Mercopress


“HMS York” and “RFA Wave Ruler” in CEB. Photos by the pilots of “Wave Ruler” helicopter.
“HMS York” and “RFA Wave Ruler” in CEB. Photos by the pilots of “Wave Ruler” helicopter.




Colossal Squid And A Sperm Whale Feature On Latest Stamp Issue

Squid and octopus (cephalopods) are the main subject of the latest South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands stamp issue. The set features four stamps, each depicting a species of squid or octopus found in the area, and a small sheetlet showing an interaction between a colossal squid and a sperm whale.



Cephalopods, which include the squid, octopus and cuttlefish, are marine animals found from shallow water to the deepest parts of the oceans. The name cephalopod means head-foot, which reflects the evolution of the muscular foot of the ancestral mollusc into the head and arms of the modern cephalopod. In both squid and octopus a ring of eight muscular arms covered with suckers surrounds the mouth. Squid also have two extendible tentacles that are used to capture prey.


Cephalopods include the largest and probably most intelligent of the invertebrates, having well-developed senses and large brains. Captive octopuses have been shown to perform complex tasks and to possess short and long-term memory. Most cephalopods possess chromatophores, which are cells containing coloured pigments, that can be controlled by muscles to allow it to change colour for camouflage or communication. The majority also have an ink sac, which can be used to expel a cloud of dark ink to confuse predators.


Most cephalopods have short lives, growing rapidly, reproducing once and then dying. In many tropical and temperate species the life cycle is completed within a year or less. In the cold waters of the Southern Ocean and the deep-sea, growth rates may be slower and longevity greater, but the majority of species spawn once and die. Eggs are either laid on the sea-floor (benthic) or drift in the ocean (planktonic) and hatch into small versions of the adult with no true larval stage.


Cephalopods usually eat small fish and crustaceans. Prey needs to be thoroughly broken down before being swallowed, as the oesophagus passes through the middle of the brain. To achieve this the mouth includes a tough beak, similar in shape to that of a parrot, which is used to break up prey before it is swallowed. Higher up the food chain larger animals, such as fish, seals, penguins, albatross and whales, eat cephalopods.


Globally the cephalopods include around 650 species. The waters of South Georgia are home to 13 species of squid and 6 species of octopus. South Georgia squid range in size from small species such as Bathyteuthis abyssicola, which reach a maximum body size of 8cm, to the Antarctic colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) (depicted on the sheetlet), which is thought to grow up to 3m in body length and perhaps a tonne in weight.


The colossal squid is probably the largest living invertebrate and has the largest eyes, at around 30cm in diameter, of all animals. Very few colossal squid have been caught. The largest specimen was caught in the Ross Sea in February 2007 and weighed 500kgs, but the beak was considerably smaller than some that have been found in the stomachs of sperm whales, indicating that they can grow considerably bigger. A fishing vessel at South Georgia caught a specimen in July 2005, but only the head, arms and tentacles were recovered, which weighed 40kgs, and are now preserved in the Natural History Museum in London. Colossal squid inhabit deep-waters throughout the Southern Ocean, where they are important prey of sperm whales. The colossal squid is a fearsome looking animal, not only because of its extremely large size, but the two long tentacles are armed with suckers and large rotating hooks that will grip prey. Scars from colossal squid hooks and suckers are frequently seen on the head and body of sperm whales, indicating that colossal squid put up quite a fight when attacked by a whale (£2 Souvenir Sheet). Little is known about the biology of the colossal squid, but they are thought to eat deep-sea fish and crustaceans.


Galiteuthis glacialis (27p stamp) is one of the most abundant and widely distributed of the Antarctic squids. It is a delicate mid-water (pelagic) species that lives from the surface down to around 1km deep. The stamp depicts a juvenile squid (around 5cm).


The glacial squid Psychroteuthis glacialis (65p stamp) is an active, muscular species, which reaches a moderate size of 40cm body length. It is abundant throughout Antarctic waters; South Georgia is at the northern end of its range.


The octopuses are divided into two groups, both of which are found in South Georgia waters. The incirrate octopods are the more familiar, shallow water forms and are represented by four species in South Georgia waters. These species are benthic (associated with the sea-floor) and feed on small invertebrates.


Pareledone turqueti and Adelieledone polymorpha occur in shallow waters, whilst Thaumeledone gunteri (90p stamp) and Graneledone sp. are found deeper. Thaumeledone gunteri is a small species (less than 10cm) living between 400 and 700m all around South Georgia.


The cirrate octopuses are deep-water animals that possess numerous pairs of cirri (like thick hairs) on the arms and have large ear-like fins that have given them the name “Dumbo octopus”. In South Georgia waters the cirrates are represented by two species, Stauroteuthis gilchristi and Opisthoteuthis hardyi. Stauroteuthis gilchristi (£1.10p stamp) is a mid-water species, living at depths of 700-1000m around South Georgia. The arms of this species are connected by thin membranous tissue to form a web and the stamp depicts the octopus expanding the arms and web. This may be a defensive posture, which makes the octopus appear bigger to possible predators. The suckers of the closely related Stauroteuthis syrtensis can produce light (called bioluminescence) and it is likely that the suckers of S. gilchristi have similar capacity. This bioluminescence may function to attract prey or for communication with potential mates.


The stamp set and two First Day Covers, designed by Ross Watton, will be released on April 7th.






Newsletters Available To Keep Up-To-Date On Habitat Restoration

The South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) published the first edition of the SGHT Habitat Restoration Newsletter “Project News” in March.


The first edition is four pages long and announces the launch of the Habitat Restoration Project last November; outlines the reasons why it is important to remove introduced rodents from the areas of the South Georgia they inhabit; and gives an outline of how the eradications will work and how it is being funded.


Funding for 'Phase 1' of the project has been raised and SGHT plan to start in February 2011. This phase will act as a trial of the special methodology required, and should see all land within 10km of King Edward Point/Grytviken cleared of rats after 200 years of their destructive presence. A quote from “Project News” describes the project as: “An implausible dream only a decade ago, the concept of clearing rats from South Georgia is now feasible. The Island is many times larger than the largest yet tackled, and the project will need meticulous planning and field methodology, but it can be done. And it needs to be done quickly, before the remaining glaciers become ineffective and allow rats to cover the entire Island. There is no time to lose.”


The second phase of the eradication is planned for February 2012, and should mean South Georgia is completely free of rodents by May 2014.


At the beginning of March the Habitat Restoration Project attracted a lot of media interest with several pieces about it in the major press in UK (including the Times, Independent and New Scientist) and in Australia in “The Australian”.


People wanting to follow the progress of the ambitious and important Habitat Restoration Project can subscribe to receive the e-newsletter by emailing Alison Neil


You can view the first e newsletter by downloading the pdf file, press the button at the bottom of the SGHT page here.


For more information see http://www.sght.org


As stated above, South Georgia is four-times bigger than any island where rodent eradication has been attempted so far. Next biggest is Macquarie Island. The Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project is close to starting the next phase of eradications on the sub-Antarctic island to remove rabbits and rodents. This vast project is under-way and eradications are due to start soon. You can follow the progress of their work by subscribing to their e-newsletter “Macquarie Dispatch” by emailing here.





Ghosts Of The Past

Artist and museum assistant Bridget Steed has once again used the old whaling station at Grytviken to site her artwork. Last month she orchestrated an exhibition of chart-based artwork from the locals and arranged the works in the meat cookery. She has often used maps specifically of South Georgia to make drawings about the Island. As a continuation of this she planned to make an exhibition “...in South Georgia, about South Georgia, for and by the people who live here.” Afterwards she said: “I was really overwhelmed by everyone’s enthusiasm for the project and creativity.”


This time, on March 14th, she literally used the whaling station as a canvas by projecting images into and onto the rusting remains of sealing vessels, storage tanks and factory buildings. One projection was made inside during the afternoon but the rest were left until after dark.


Describing her work the next day Bridget wrote: 'Last night the abandoned whaling station was filled with ghosts of it's often forgotten past; whale carcasses dominating the landscape again. As the day ended and darkness fell, Grytviken was illuminated and the flensing plan came alive once more. Bringing a layer of this place's past into the present by projecting old slides with scenes from the whaling days into the derelict whaling station, the machinery and architecture were illuminated and this ambiguous site was brought alive by its histories.'


One of the audience described it as: “Really very effective”.


The whaling station projections followed on from an earlier piece of work the artist did in 2008 on Ted Salvesen, past owner of Leith whaling station, in his old family home in Leith Scotland. For it she projected the photos of him and his family into the remnants of their derelict house.


Bridget, who left South Georgia on March 18th, spent some of her time on the Island gathering research for her art practice and making some new work. She had a small studio space set up in the museum and left with a sketchbook full of ideas.


Some of artist Bridget Steed's projections were onto the old sealer “Petrel”.
Some of artist Bridget Steed's projections were onto the old sealer “Petrel”.


Photos by Ainslie Wilson.
Photos by Ainslie Wilson.





Get Intimate With Erik And Erika And Eriksson

Two wandering albatross nesting on Bird Island, and their chick, are being closely followed as part of a project for the coming BBC TV wildlife series “Frozen Planet”.


The two parents birds, Erik and Erika, were this month fitted with small satellite transmitters so their movements can be tracked on the BBC Earth Explorers website. The project is a collaboration between BAS and the BBC and will track the pair over the next few months. The birds are expected to travel across the Southern Ocean for days at a time to find food for their growing chick. The chick (sex as yet unknown, but called Eriksson) began hatching on March 8th.


While Eriksson is still small, one adult will stay at the nest to protect him/her while the other finds food. Soon the chick will be big enough to survive for days alone and both parents can go further afield.


According to the Earth Explorer website a good deal is already known about the parent birds. Erika was born on Bird Island and ringed as a chick in 1979. She did not breed until she was 11 years old. She had three chicks with a different partner between 1992 and 1994, but one didn't make it to fledging. Erik was ringed as a chick in 1975. Once he had fledged and left the island he did not return until 1979. Erik had another partner before pairing up with Erika. His first two chicks died on the nest, so it wasn't until 1988 that he raised his first chick to fledging.


It is thought that Erik and Erika may have first bred together in 1997, but are definitely known to have successfully raised five chicks together since 1999. Eriksson will be their sixth if he/she makes it through the next nine months.


Follow their story here with weekly updates on the birds at the nest, or track the parents on the map here as they forage for food across the ocean.




Hayley's Solo Paddle Attempt

Hayley Shepherd's kayaking expedition had been beset by problems for a year before she launched (See February newsletter). But finally, on February 28th, she got going on her attempt to be the first to solo circumnavigate South Georgia in a kayak.


The problems leading up to the launch had at times seemed insurmountable, and in the same vein South Georgia has thrown plenty at her to make progress difficult once she finally set off. The poor weather that has characterised this summer has continued. Regular storms pinned Hayley in at her camp sites for days at a time, but a lady who did not give up when her main sponsors pulled out, or when her main kayak was discovered to be smashed, was not going to give up easily once she was at last out on the water. She had to start the expedition in a backup kayak whilst her support team stayed at Grytviken to continue the repairs to the vast damage her main kayak had suffered whilst being transported to the Island.


Paddling alone up the north-eastern coast, Haley made an early camp site ashore near the old whaling station at Leith. Here strong katabatic winds all but blew her tent down. For a couple of nights the noise of the wind battering the tent and concern for the safety of her equipment deprived her of much sleep.


Recognising the winds were locally influenced she took the opportunity of a short period of lighter wind to move an hour out onto the end of the Saunders Peninsula from where she could better ascertain the conditions along most of the coast. Another hop along the coast took her to the shelter of Rosita Harbour and an important rendezvous with her support yacht “Northanger” to reunite her with her purpose built expedition kayak. Problems with her main kayak were not over however; once loaded with her expedition kit and launched she quickly realised water was getting in. An inspection showed up more holes, but they were quickly mended and she was off once more paddling up to the northern tip of the Island. It was turning into a race against time; Hayley was aware that the time left before the support yacht would need to leave South Georgia waters was now short, meanwhile the poor weather was showing little improvement. If she just got a weather break of a few good days it was feasible she could complete her massive undertaking.......


Sadly it was only shortly after this that the combination of bad weather and lack of time forced Hayley to abandon her attempt to be the first to solo kayak around the Island. Once she accepted the situation she made the best of the time left to her to reverse her paddle back down the coast and enjoy the experience. She and the support yacht “Northanger” returned to King Edward Cove on March 16th. Hayley then departed the Island on cruise ship “Prince Albert II”.


Hayley Shepherds main website is http://www.kayakingtosavealbatross.com


You can follow her journey and read her blog here.




Bird Island News

By Derren Fox, Zoological Field Assistant at the British Antarctic Survey Station, Bird Island.


Wildlife Weighing, Worldwideweb Fame And Extraordinary Visitors


March started with two days of gentoo penguin chick counts across the island. An encouraging increase on last year’s figures with 1996 nests and 1634 chicks in total - not a great number but better than last year’s disastrous counts. We also weighed gentoo chicks at Johnson Beach, a messy job involving five field assistants, two nets, one hundred penguin chicks and an awful, awful lot of mud and muck! We were lucky enough to find a leucistic (or Isabeline) gentoo. This is a rare condition in which there is a shortage of melanin (a dark pigment) in the bird, leaving it looking like it has been through the hot wash!


More weighing was carried out on Main Bay, this time it was the turn of the fur seals pups for their third and final time before they leave the island. This year was a good season for them too, as, although numbers were much lower than normal, the average weights of the pups were much higher than last year’s at 14kg. The albatrosses also wanted in on the act and Claudia and I were kept active with daily visits to weigh the black-brow chicks and the grey-heads.


A hint of winter is in the air this month with a few snow showers and icebergs starting to appear on the horizon. The bergs sometimes break up and smaller bits of ice wash into the bay for the locals to play on (that’s the animals, not us human inhabitants!).


The locals playing!
The locals playing!



We were lucky enough to get two different species visiting the island in March. The first of which was a sub-Antarctic fur seal on the 16th. These more colourful relatives of our resident fur seals are occasional visitors here and this one was obliging enough to stay around for a few days, allowing everybody on base to get a good view and a photo or two. On 24th we were lucky enough to play host to an even more unusual visitor in the guise of an Antipodean albatross. This close relative of our wandering albatross has never been seen on the island before or anywhere east of Chile. This bird was ringed as a chick and was seven years old when she popped in here. She spent a couple of days on the ridge, but didn’t get too much attention from the local wanderers.



Unusual visitors to Bird island in March; a sub-Antarctic fur seal (above) and an Antipodean wandering albatross (right, with a local wanderer).
Unusual visitors to Bird island in March; a sub-Antarctic fur seal (above) and an Antipodean wandering albatross (right, with a local wanderer).



Well, that’s all from me for this month and forever I am sorry to say. The “RRS Ernest Shackleton” turns up here on April 3rd to take me home to the UK, so farewell and hope you enjoy the future diaries from BI.

Derren





South Georgia Snippets

The Director of the Overseas Territories Directorate, Mr Colin Roberts, was in the Falkland Islands at the end of March on a familiarisation visit. He was exploring security and good governance issues in the Falklands as well as finding out about those issues in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. Mentioning world class Fisheries Management Mr Roberts said it was important to keep quality in fisheries management and to communicate that quality to the international press.

(Info SAIS)


A new government Officer took up his post at South Georgia. Robert Paterson is the third member of the Government Officer team now working at the Island. From now on there should always be two Government Officers on the Island and one away on leave.


Robert arrived on March 2nd, but is already very familiar with the Island as his previous job was as Chief Officer on the BAS ship “RRS James Clark Ross”.


Robert says he has always been aware of the Antarctic because he grew up in Scotland on the Isle of Bute, a place where the famous Antarctic adventurer Birdie Bowers used to spend his leave at his mother's home.


Robert studied science at Edinburgh University but, having got the travel bug, he says he ran away to sea to work for the Blue Star Line shortly afterwards. He worked for them for ten years - his first ship was a banana boat running from Central America to the States.


His first visit to the deeper South Atlantic was to the Falklands, just after the conflict in 1982, on the troopship “Rangatira”. The ship spent the next 5 months in Stanley harbour, and Robert grew to love the islands.


He has also worked in the offshore oil industry on a multi-purpose semi-submersible support platform.


With hobbies including folk music, natural history and walking, Robert is expecting to really enjoy his new life on South Georgia.


The substantial cruise ship (and Norwegian ferry) “Fram” came alongside the very small jetty at KEP on March 3rd. The Captain was keen to find out if the ship could dock there in readiness for transporting the cabin of the historic vessel “Quest” (in which Shackleton died) to the South Georgia Museum next summer. The refurbished cabin will be carried in the ferry's car deck.


As in Bird Island, the final weighing of penguin chicks and fur seal pups was done in the middle of the month. Terrestrial Biologist John Ashburner needs help to do these measurements and suggested only the strongest should volunteer to help with the fur seal pup weighing as the pups are so big this year (22Kgs) that it is really hard to hold them out at arms length, keeping the bitey end as far away from vulnerable human body parts as possible.


The Gentoos showed good reproductive success, lots of chicks surviving even though the number hatched this year was low. The party that set out to Rookery Bay to do the final macaroni penguin chick weighing were disappointed, though, as this year the chicks had fledged early and had already gone to sea; only the moulting adults were left in the colony.


A rare visitor to KEP this month was this Weddell seal. Photo Ainslie Wilson.
A rare visitor to KEP this month was this Weddell seal. Photo Ainslie Wilson.


Congratulations go to Martin Collins, GSGSSI Chief Executive Officer, who not only came second in the Stanley Marathon on March 14th. Together with ex-KEP BC Tom Marshall and Anton Wolfardt (ACAP Co-ordinator), Martin also raised more than £2,500 for Oxfam, in the name of the Chilean Earthquake Fund. Conditions for the run were terrible, very cold, drizzly and windy, bad enough to cause some professional runners to pull out before the end of the race. The Men’s Open was won by Stephan Frear in 2:43:05, and Martin came in second in 3:21:29.


Date For Your Diary:

There will be an exhibition of photographs by Katherine Snell entitled 'Polar Ark', at Verdant Works, Dundee, from April 1st – May 1st.


Katherine, who is a photographer and polar biologist, visited South Georgia for six weeks aboard charter yacht “Golden Fleece”. You can see her interpretation of this polar oasis in the exhibition 'Polar Ark'. Limited edition prints will be on sale to raise funds for the SGHT. Admission is free.


(Verdant Works, West Henderson's Wynd, Dundee. Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm, Sunday 11am to 6pm)



Two keen Girl Guides found like-minded friends on the Island when they visited on their family yacht “Hollingsclough”. Postal officer Ruth Fraser and Doctor Susan Woodward were both Brownies and Girl Guides when they were younger and were glad to show sisters Caitland & Morgause Lomas around KEP. The sisters have also been hosted aboard both the visiting RFA and RN ships. You can read Caitland's report on the KEP v RN football match below.


Girl Guides past and present at KEP. Photo Hollinsclough
Girl Guides past and present at KEP. Photo Hollinsclough




The Football Match

By Caitland Lomas, Yacht Hollinsclough


The football teams bleeding but unbowed after the match! Photo Hollinsclough
The football teams bleeding but unbowed after the match! Photo Hollinsclough


My sister Morgause and I were looking forward to this. Football, eleven a side, mud bath mayhem on the southern side of the World. “HMS York” put forward eleven of their best: Pony, Jimmy, Fletch, Andy Rae and even gave one striker, Lucia, to us. Grytviken International FC was made up of: BAS team players adorning the front line, former Brownie Ali mustering her troops, Paula steadying the defence, knees bleeding from the gravel burns; Government Officer Robert was team Captain, and saved one attack bang in the ribs; Susie, the doctor and former Girl Guide, took the starboard wing; Kicki and Thies from yacht “Wanderer III” midfield; Ron from yacht “Restless” as striker; Daddy (Lord Hollinsclough) on port wing; and my sister doubled as goal keeper and forward. Southern Ocean pitch, a little gravel, grass as green as you could ask for, flat as you like. Hugh had given the goal posts a new coat of white paint, heavy ship rope marked the perimeter of the playing action. Mummy took referee duty, gave best wind on her brass trumpet and the players were away. Wind, snow, hail and rain for combat, that’s thirty minutes each way then. Grytviken FC, truly International, Kiwi Museum Manager Ainslie led the cheer leaders. Rocket Ron whirled into the air flattening the pitch corner, a true bog of mud bath madness to take two goals that would have defied Gordon Banks. GO Robert, salvaged tackles George Best style to deliver the ball forward on every occasion. HMS York team in smart yellow jumpers were pushed back again and again but those boys had resilience.


‘Tea and biscuits’ half time in sunshine between the snow. The York boys were just holding the score in their favour. Sunray (Captain of “HMS York”) settled the matter, donned his devil horn hat to little Morgause and pushed the Grytviken midfield. Morgause took two deliveries to the goal mouth, whites of their eyes and all. Eleven years old in the teeth of the adult champions of the southern hemisphere. What a sister! Time up, Mummy hooting between trumpet crescendos.


A draw goal score dead even. Penalties? No, It’s a play off. Last goal to win shouted the “HMS York” skipper. Battle at fever pitch, blood and gravel in the knees, shin pads scuffed to hiking boots. York by a whisker, Doctor Susie had taken the goal mouth for a defence to die for but those boys in blue with their yellow shirts just kept coming. Bless she was overwhelmed and the day was in the hands of York. Strongbow cider all round like you do, steady on Morgause. Goal mouth photo of celebration, Morgause with the Captains Devil horns on her head. We held strong to the last. Memories of Blighty soccer deep, deep, deep down south.



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