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   News and Events 

South Georgia Newsletter, March 2006

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Saving Albatross and Petrels in the South Atlantic

CONSERVATION experts from around the world congregated in the Falklands in March to take part in a workshop, entitled Albatross and Petrels in the South Atlantic: Priorities and Conservation. In addition to fifteen delegates from the Falklands, South Georgia and the UK Overseas Territories of Tristan da Cunha and Ascension Island, there were twenty delegates from Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and South Africa.

This is the first time an international conservation meeting of this kind has been held in the Falklands; it is crucial to the UK Overseas Territories progression of the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP).

This multilateral agreement seeks to conserve albatross and petrels by co-ordinating international activity to mitigate known threats to the birds’ populations.

Presentations were made on the structure and function of ACAP, government perspectives, land-based conservation and management, at-sea research and management of sea-bird fishery interactions and international conservation perspectives.

 

South Georgia Heritage Trustees Meeting

The Trustees of the South Georgia Heritage Trust met in Cambridge on 5 April to take stock of the last 6 months of work and to plan ahead. Reports were received from Torolf Stenerson who undertook the work to renovate the exterior of the Husvik Manager’s villa and to learn about the condition of the Villa at Stromness used by Sir Ernest Shackleton. Darren Christie, the South Georgia Government Habitat Restoration Officer also gave a presentation. Details can be found at www.sght.org/trusteesReport.html.

 

Mount Pelagic Named

Summit of Mt Pelagic looking north

The Antarctic Place-Names Committee has accepted Skip Novak’s proposal that Peak 5680 which Julian Freeman-Attwood and his team climbed, including Skip Novak, on their British South Georgia Expedition 2005 should be called Mount Pelagic. The Commissioner for GSGSSI approved his proposal. It has been added to the SGSSI Gazetteer and is now available for official use.

The expedition’s object was to: “To sail the Pelagic to South Georgia. There the four man mountaineering team will be dropped off directly in Larsen Harbour approx 9th January (pending permission). Their aim is to spend three weeks ashore on a sledging traverse ending at Moltke Harbour (Royal Bay) and to attempt the ascents of some previously unclimbed peaks en-route. During this time the Pelagic will remain at South Georgia with a Skipper and three other crew remaining on board to provide emergency support in the event of any difficulties for the shore party and to extract them from Moltke Harbour at the end of their traverse. ~31 January.”

The name Mount Pelagic reflects the contribution the yacht “Pelagic” and Skip Novak, its owner and skipper have made over a number of years and continue to do so in terms of supporting expeditions and yacht cruises.

 

RFA Gold Rover and HMS Liverpool at South Georgia

  HMS Liverpool at King Edward Cove
     

  RFA Gold Rover anchored in Cumberland East Bay by Javier Fernandez.

Between 18th and 20th March, Royal Navy Task Group 337.01 comprising Type 42 destroyer HMS LIVERPOOL and RFA GOLD ROVER deployed to South Georgia.

The South Atlantic patrol ship and her RFA tanker support deployed swiftly in challenging weather conditions and conducted patrols around South Georgia’s many bays. Her Lynx aircraft also patrolled the interior and coastline.

Both vessels visited King Edward Point Research Station and Grytviken Whaling Station at separate times. Ships’ personnel had the opportunity to see the unique variety of wildlife that remained on the island towards the end of the breeding season and were able to visit the whaling station at Grytviken and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s grave.

HMS Liverpool’s Commanding Officer, Commander Henry Duffy Royal Navy generously invited KEP residents for lunch.

 

Father Peter Norris

Father Peter visited South Georgia on board HMS LIVERPOOL, as part of the Prefect orate for the South Atlantic. He saw an advert in the Priest News Letter stating that there was a need for a Priest in the Falkland Islands. He is now the Parish Priest of St Marty’s Church in Stanley and also the Officiating Chaplain to the British Forces in the Falkland Islands and Ascension Island.

 

 

Father Peter Norris at the South Georgia Post Office

 

Wedding at Grytviken’s Church

Georgia and Jarl Warren were married in the Norwegian Church in Grytviken, South Georgia at about 4 pm on 15th February 2006. They arrived on the Quark Expeditions vessel the Akademik Shokalskiy. The expedition leader Olle Carlson and a German lady employed on the ship witnessed the marriage ceremony. Jarl and Olle rang the church bells to announce the marriage. A beautiful rainbow greeted them as they left the church. Jarl is half Norwegian and is an air traffic control assistant. Georgia is a senior first officer (pilot) and flies Boeing 747-400’s for Virgin Atlantic. They have known each other for 13 years and met when both were private pilots. They live on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. Her father, Gerry Kennedy, who visited South Georgia on the RSS Bransfield’s maiden voyage, named his daughter “Georgia” after the island.

 

    Jarl and Georgia in the Grytviken Church

 

South Georgia’s Guide Book

Sally Poncet & Kim Crosbie’s South Georgia Guide Book has now arrived at the South Georgia Post Office and South Georgia Museum. This guide contains detailed information including specialist contributions from a number of people with expert knowledge on the island and detailed descriptions of 24 of South Georgia’s most popular visitor sites. See Reference Section - here.

Sally Poncet said: “It took far longer to complete than anticipated. The idea started in 2002 as I came to the end of the 3 year environmental baseline survey project that I did with Jenny Scott for the South Georgia Government. At the time I asked Jenny and also Debbie Summers (who’d just finish the first edition of the Falkland Visitors Guide) if they would like to be involved in putting the book together. I think they must have known something I didn’t and it was another few months before I found someone who was willing to take on the long hard job of producing a book with me. I was really lucky that it was Kim Crosbie. She was keen and had the stamina to keep the project on track over the next two years of on and off writing, while we both did other things, and she got us trough to the final stages of editing.

So, what was originally scheduled for August 2004 came out and in December 2005 and from what I’ve heard, the first copies have finally made it to South Georgia just as the last cruise ship departs! Or nice and early for the beginning of the next season!

One of the nicest things about this book was the good-willed and good-natured participation of a number of people who Kim and I have known from our years of frequenting South Georgia. People like John Croxal from British Antarctic Survey, Phil Stone from the British Geological Society, historian Bob Burton and Bob Headland, locals Tim and Pauline Carr, Pat and Sarah Lurcock, to name but a few. All contributed to the book and generously provided “insider” information. Keith Shackleton and Dame Ellen MacArthur gave us their endorsements; artist Mandy Shepherd and number of photographers kindly donated their wonderful drawings and photographs to supplement Kim’s photos. It was very much a joint effort in that.”

 

Farewells

Time of Goodbyes at KEP

Farewells are never easy, particularly when people have enjoyed many shared experiences together at King Edward Cove. It was time for Scobie Pye, Paul Davis, Robert Gould, Christine Kraayvanger, Alastair Taylor, Nick Atkinson and Morrison’s staff among others to depart.

 

Musical Concert

Musical concert in the Grytviken Church. Photo by Pauline Carr

On the 12th March passengers from Bremen enjoyed a musical concert given by Burkhard Von Puttkamer, a baritone singer accompanied by Andras Vermesy in Grytviken Church. It was very beautiful day and many of the audience had a tear in their eyes after the finale of Bach’s Ave Maria. Mr Burkhard said that when he sings in Germany he often uses a mental image of the church at Grytviken, its surroundings and penguins, to allow him to recapture the tranquillity and beauty, so that he can project this in his voice.

 

Cruise Ship Statistics

South Georgia Island has had another busy cruise ship season. Totals included:
- 49 cruise ships, including Bark Europa (which is a sail training ship).
- 5436 passengers 28 yachts (73 passengers) (116 crew)

 

Taxidermist Steve Massam

The taxidermist Steve Massam is finishing his work in the South Georgia Museum for this season. His work is paid by donations from cruise ship passengers. He is currently finishing an excellent copy of a squid beak and the club end of a tentacle, from the 5 metres long giant squid (Mesonychoteuthis Hamiltoni) caught off South Georgia last winter. Unfortunately, the 20 year old male wandering albatross that died on Bird Island was not in good enough condition to be worked on and will have to wait for another season. Then he plans to wire up the skeleton of a standing King Penguin and a Fur Seal in a diving pose and then hopes to complete three fish models from last season.

Steve Massam working with the beak of a giant squid. Photo by Javier Fernandez. Steve Massam shows his work. Photo by Javier Fernandez.

 

Bark Europa at Grytviken

On 30th March, the sail training ship Bark Europa, which was built in 1911, visited King Edward Cove. It was a cloudy and rainy day on the cove. However, the visitors were able to walk along the coast and they had the chance to visit the old whaling station in Grytviken. Later on, Jamie Watts, a scientist from King Edward Point, gave a talk on fisheries science for the passengers. The Europa’s crew then offered an excellent barbecue for everyone from King Edward Point and the passengers and crew had a chance to meet them. The ship’s next port is Tristan Da Cunha.

Barbecue at Bark Europa. Photo By Javier Fernandez. Having the barbecue in the outer deck of the Bark Europa. Photo by Javier Fernandez.

 

Updated Report of Jamie’s Pledge

The latest update on the pledge that Jamie Watts is undertaking is that since beginning his fundraising initiative, he has raised a considerable sum of money for the “Save the Albatross” campaign. He has tried several hairstyles already, from blond hair to green and now his hair is growing from just one side. There is still a bit of growth required though to cover one side of his head.
Jamie shows his head. Photo by J.Fernandez  

 

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