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   News and Events 

South Georgia Newsletter, June 2007

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SG Ship has Role in Falkland 25th Anniversary of Liberation Commemorations

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RFA “Gold Rover”, FPV “Dorada” and “Pharos SG” in San Carlos Water, Falkland Islands, for the 25th Anniversary of Liberation commemorations. Photo by Roy Summers.

“Pharos SG”, the South Georgia Fisheries Patrol Vessel, had several parts to play in this month’s commemorations for the 25th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Falkland Islands.

“Pharos SG” was dressed overall and anchored in Stanley Harbour, opposite Government House, on June 14th to mark the day the Argentines surrendered 25 years ago. Among several VIP’s in the Falklands for the commemorations was Adam Ingram, Minister for the Armed Forces. Mr Ingram visited the ship and was briefed on her role as Fishery Patrol Vessel for South Georgia. While on board Mr Ingram present Merchant Navy Veterans Badges to a number of Falkland Islands seamen who had played a role in the conflict in 1982.

The events around the Falkland Islands attracted worldwide media attention, and on June 17th a well-orchestrated BBC broadcast mixed live coverage from the war cemetery at San Carlos and the commemoration events in London, 8000 miles and five times zones away. “Pharos SG” had sailed round to San Carlos Water where she anchored with Navy, RFA and other vessels as part of the backdrop to the ceremony at the San Carlos cemetery. The ship was also used to accommodate the 15 members of the Royal Marine Band.

 

 

Half of Wandering Albatross Chicks on Bird Island have Ingested Longline Hooks

Despite the achievements of the well managed South Georgia longline fishery succeeding in reducing mortality of seabirds to almost zero, a new diet sampling program at Bird Island has highlighted the shocking extent of longline hook ingestion by Wandering Albatrosses. More than 50% of wanderer chicks have ingested longline hooks, fed to them by their parents.


Robin Snape, British Antarctic Survey(BAS) Zoological Field Assistant at Bird Island, reports on his worrying find:

In winter, when the other albatross species have long since left the island, much of my fieldwork focuses on Wandering Albatrosses. Every fortnight I take diet samples from five different chicks as part of a study focussed on squid, the most important part of the Wandering Albatross diet. After a sample is taken, the chick (which is only handled once) is re-fed and monitored throughout the season. Previous studies indicate that one-off diet sampling in this way has no effect on chick fledging weight or survival, but provides a wealth of information on foraging ecology that would otherwise be impossible to obtain. By looking at the squid beaks found in the diet samples we can tell the species, size and the number of squid that are needed for the birds to be successful in raising their chicks.

Alarmingly over half of chicks diet samples contain large hooks from longline fisheries, usually with small pieces of line attached. These are most likely to have been consumed in discarded bait and offal thrown overboard by longline vessels, which the adult birds routinely follow at sea. The hooks are then brought back and fed to the chick along with the other food.

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A Wandering Albatross feeding its chick. Photo by Fabrice Le Bouard

In 2004 the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) adopted a Conservation Measure making removal of hooks from offal mandatory. Although compliance has taken some time to achieve, discard of hooks is now considered to be rare in CCAMLR waters. Unfortunately, however, this is not the case elsewhere, and the practice of irresponsibly discarding hooks in used bait may be typical of poorly governed fisheries. It is also likely that the vessels responsible are not employing other simple, cheap, and effective methods that help protect seabirds. In South Georgia’s regulated fishery the effectiveness of simple practices such as: greater line weighting; only setting lines at night; and the use of a streamer or ‘tori’ line that discourages scavenging birds from coming close to the longlines during setting, has been clearly demonstrated. In the South Georgia Fishery Zone seabird mortality on longlines has been reduced to almost zero for a number of years now.

Sadly, as Wandering Albatrosses are so wide ranging, they forage far outside of the South Georgia area and come into conflict with bad fishing practices that are responsible for the continuing decline in the South Georgia population, and the decline of seabird populations worldwide. Indeed, the Bird Island population has almost halved since the early 1970s when longline fishing really began to operate at large-scale in the Southern Ocean. Recently the rate of decline has accelerated.

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At the end of each season, shortly before the wanderer chicks fledge, they regurgitate pellets of squid beaks and other indigestible parts of the diet, amongst these we frequently find hooks and line.

Leopard Seal

 

Every season the number of these fishing items found in the pellets is recorded. Towards the turn of the century the number of hooks found per season peaked but fell thereafter until last season (2006) when, disappointingly, the number rose again to very high levels. This season looks to be equally as bad, if not worse. As well as all the hooks in the chick diet samples, this year we have found two adult birds, one of which had a hook exiting through its eye socket and the other had a hook piercing its tongue and exiting through the throat.

Hooks found in a single regurgitation. Photo by Robin Snape    

These injuries could easily have been fatal but the hooks were removed successfully. Clearly many birds must die from their injuries at sea and so will never be accounted for other than in the declining population level.

Leopard Seal

 

Leopard Seal

Adult wanderer with a hook through its eye socket. Photo by HelenTaylor.   Incubating adult wanderer with a hook through its throat. Photo by Fabrice Le Bouard

It would be nice to see the population recover to a more healthy level and to see an end to the needless and dangerous practice of discarding hooks by longline vessels. This would be a truly great achievement but clearly a lot of work is still required.

 

Reflection, Emotion and Pride

Lt Colonel Guy Sheridan OBE RM reports on 42 Commando Royal Marines reunion marking the 25th Anniversary of the Falklands Campaign.

On Saturday June 9th, veterans of 42 Commando from 1982 gathered at Bickleigh, Devon on the western edge of Dartmoor to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands Campaign. Smaller gatherings had taken place the evening before when many old friendships were rekindled, shared experiences were relived and addresses exchanged once again. If emotions flowed at the numerous gatherings on Friday, then the parade of 187 veterans and subsequent activities at Bickleigh surpassed everything on a day blessed with warm June sunshine. The column marched off with General Nick Vaux at its head and the salute was taken jointly by General Jeremy Moore and General Julian Thompson. 42 Commando’s main commemoration of those events 25 years ago came to an end at the Commando’s Memorial Glade in the barracks with a solemn and emotional service to remember with pride those that did not return. We also remembered all those of 42 Commando who have given their lives in the service of the nation since 1982 and more recently in Afghanistan.

The march past was a reminder that the scene was almost the same as that on 7 April 1982 when the Commando marched off the parade ground to Lt Colonel Nick Vaux’s famous order “42 Commando, To the South Atlantic - Quick march”. The salute was taken that day by Major General Jeremy Moore, and M Company Group marched to the gymnasium where Nick Vaux announced that they had been chosen to evict the Argentines from South Georgia. Operation Paraquat had begun. South Georgia was liberated two weeks later, on April 25th, with the last of the Argentines at Leith being rounded up the following day.

There were many from M Company Group at Bickleigh for the reunion – Company Commander Chris Nunn, Sergeant Major Paul Juleff (an artist’s image depicts him standing proudly at the foot of the flagpole at King Edward Point on the First Day Cover of the new South Georgia 25th Anniversary of Liberation stamp issue) and Surgeon Lieutenant Crispin Swinhoe RN who landed at KEP at 17.45 on April 25th with myself, flown there by Tony Ellerbeck, the senior pilot on “HMS Endurance”. Crispin gave first aid to a sailor from the Santa Fe housed in a room at Shackleton House. He had lost the lower part of a leg during the helicopter attacks on the submarine earlier that morning and was moved to the care of the Doctor on “HMS Antrim” later that evening. Crispin also conducted the autopsy on Felix Artuso, the only fatal casualty of Operation Paraquat.

Leopard Seal

 

Leopard Seal

42 Commando veterans march to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Falklands Campaign. Left to Right: Major General Sir Jeremy Moore; Major General Julian Thompson; Lt Colonel Guy Sheridan OBE RM; Major General Nick Vaux CB DSO); Captain David Chisnall BEM RM.   Generals Moore and Thompson take the salute at the march past of veterans.
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Bickleigh June 9th 2007. Left to Right: Major General Nick Vaux; Lt Colonel Guy Sheridan; Lt Colonel Chris Nunn OBE RM; Major General Sir Jeremy Moore; and Major General Julian Thompson. Photos by Dr Adrian Taylor.

 


First In, Last Out

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“To the South Atlantic - Quick march”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Chris Nunn RM and Company Sergeant Major Paul Juleff lead M Company Group to the gymnasium at Bickleigh on April 7th 1982. Photo by Guy Sheridan

While the British Nation and the people of the Falkland Islands were celebrating victory on June 14th 1982, it should not be forgotten that the last of the operations to free the Falkland Islands and their Dependencies was still to come. On June 18th 1982, M Company 42 Commando Royal Marines, who had been garrisoning South Georgia since April 26th, sailed from South Georgia embarked on “RFA Olmeda” with “HMS Endurance”, “HMS Yarmouth” and the ocean-going tug “Salavageman” in support. On June 19th reconnaissance teams of Royal Marines Mountain Leaders were landed on South Thule, a glaciated and heavily crevassed island in the South Sandwich group. During the morning of June 20th, Marines from M Company 42 Commando under command of Captain Chris Nunn and from the Royal Marines Detachment on “HMS Endurance” under Lt Keith Mills, landed at South Thule on a potentially very hazardous operation.

At almost 60 degrees south latitude, the island was in the full grip of the Antarctic winter which provided formidable difficulties for reconnaissance teams and the Company alike. South Thule was repossessed for the Crown the same day and the last of the Argentines on British South Atlantic Territory were evicted. There were no casualties and 10 prisoners were taken. Code-named Keyhole, this operation concluded the Falklands Campaign. Many of the men in M Company Group, 42 Commando Royal Marines who landed on South Thule had landed at South Georgia on April 25th 1982 for the first operation of the Campaign. They can thus be considered to have been the 'first in' and the 'last out.’

 

South Georgia Heritage Trust Website Update

On SGHT’s website there is now information on South Georgia Heritage Trust’s royal patron HRH Princess Anne and the Trust’s first president Alastair Fothergill at www.sght.org/patron.htm.

There is also a new museum page at www.sght.org/museum.htm, celebrating the end of SGHT’s first year managing South Georgia museum, with pictures from last season at the museum and video clips giving a (shaky) virtual tour and narration of some of the museum rooms and its surroundings.

 

Historic SG Document Comes up at Auction

The historic document from the events of 1982 on South Georgia went up for sale at Bonhams Auction House in London in late June. The note was written down as it was relayed by radio from Commissioner Rex Hunt, and then presented to the Argentines who were illegally present at Leith Harbour.

The note was only rediscovered earlier this year when ex-BAS employee Neil Shaw was going through the diary he wrote at the time. It was then displayed as part of an exhibition on the Falkland Conflict at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London. The Head of Archives at the museum, Dr Alastair Massie, described it as “one of those documents, which, almost by accident, survive down the years and evoke a response from later generations because of the momentous events with which they are associated.”

Twenty-five years ago a BAS field party had discovered the Argentines ashore at Leith and reported back to the Commissioner in Stanley. When Rex Hunt was contacted at 5.30am on March 20th 1982, he dictated the message, and after a quick scramble to find a pen, Trevor Edwards wrote the message down. The note reads:

“SAT. MARCH 20th, 1982. FROM THE GOVERNOR OF THE FALKLAND ISLANDS. You Have Landed illegally at LEITH, Without Obtaining Proper clearance. You and Your Party must go back on board the BAHIA BUEN SUCESO immediately and report to the BASE COMMANDER at GRYTVIKEN for further instructions. You Must remove the ARGENTINE flag from LEITH. YOU MUST NOT interfere with the B.A.S. depot at LEITH. YOU MUST NOT alter or deface any of the notices at LEITH. NO military personell(sic) are allowed to land in SOUTH GEORGIA. NO FIREARMS are to be taken ashore. Govenor(sic) of the FALKLAND ISLANDS.”

Edwards and Shaw then took the note to Leith. Shaw, now fifty, is reported in a Guardian interview earlier this year as saying: “We took the note to the ship and read it to an interpreter, who read it to the Captain. They took the note and gave it back to us, dismissing it quite quickly. They said, “If you would like to come in for a meal and a drink, you’re welcome, but we’re not interested in this.”

On April 2nd Argentine troops landed in the Falkland Islands and the next day the BAS party at KEP, including Shaw and Edwards, were taken captive and taken to a prisoner-of-war camp in Argentina. They were released two weeks later.

With a guide price of three thousand to five thousand pounds, it is believed the note remained unsold at the end of the auction.

 

Fishing and Shipping News

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Longliner “Antarctic Bay” in Cumberland Bay

The ice has formed further south, around the South Shetland and South Orkney Islands, much earlier than last year, pushing the krill fleet north. As a result the South Georgia krill season has started much earlier than last year.

The first krill trawler “In Sung Ho” arrived at CBE for inspection and licensing on June 17. Two other krill trawlers have since arrived and joined her on the fishing grounds. On June 7th “Antarctic Bay” arrived, the last of the ten long liners licensed to fish for Toothfish in the South Georgia Zone this season. The ship then waited in Cumberland Bay East(CBE) for another four days until she had received her flag state license. Vessels cannot fish in CCAMLR waters (and so the South Georgia zone) without the vessel also holding a valid license from the country where the ship is registered.

Several longliners have been to Stanley, Falkland Islands, to make midseason transshipments. The remaining TAC (Total Allowable Catch) for the South Georgia Zone has been offered to the licensed vessels, some of which will complete their total quota in the month ahead.

The trawler “Betanzos” remains in the zone fishing for Icefish.

One longliner came to KEP for assistance with a medical case.

Video clip of the Government Officer Emma Jones going out to board,inspect and license a krill trawler.

 

South Georgia in the UK Media

Endangered albatrosses and explorer Duncan Carse have both been amongst the topics covered in UK media in the past month. The Island must also have been mentioned many times in the extensive coverage of the 25th Anniversary commemorations of the end of the Falkland Conflict.

The Guardian Weekend magazine, published on Saturday June 30th, had an article on adventurer Duncan Carse. The piece focuses on Carse’s experiment on living alone at Undine South Harbour in the early 1960s. Author Jon McGregor was inspired to write it after a visit to the South Georgia Museum when he traveled through on the BAS ‘Artist and Writers Program’.

On return to the UK, McGregor was allowed access to Carse’s papers and diaries where he found an intensely personal record of harrowing struggle Carse had with himself to survive the obliteration of his camp after it was hit in the middle of the night by freak waves.

Entitled “The forgotten man of the Antarctic”, the text of the article can be found at www.guardian.co.uk/weekend, though if you can find a copy of the magazine you will be rewarded with some of Carse’s own photographs of his camp before and after the waves hit. Jon McGregor intends to work up a much longer essay piece on Duncan Carse’s experiences to publish in a book in the future.

Last month we warned you to look out for the programme on BBC4 featuring Ellen MacArthur and her work with the endangered Wandering Albatross. The half hour programme “Ellen MacArthur and the Albatross” was aired on June 12th. Ellen spent time surveying albatrosses and petrels with Sally Poncet two years ago. The resulting film showed the science and their personal experiences while working on “Golden Fleece” and camping on Albatross Island, and looked at the environmental changes caused by fishing, whaling and Fur Seals and the conservation issues behind Wandering Albatross declines. The BAS Bird Island base and the scientists working there were also featured. The programme was well received and it is hoped it will be repeated in the future.

 

Classical Indian Dance Performance at KEP

It felt quite extraordinary to be sitting in the base lounge at King Edward Point (KEP) watching a professional quality Indian dance performance on June 22nd.

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Anjali Pande, the Chief Scientist, had arrived later than the rest of the BAS personnel at KEP because, after 13 years of study, she stayed behind to perform her ‘Arangetram’, a two and half hour solo graduation performance at the Memorial Theatre in Wellington, New Zealand.

There was a natural curiosity amongst her workmates and other residents of KEP about her dancing, and all turned out to watch her midwinter performance. For her local show Anjali chose three dances, each about ten minutes in length, to reflect the different styles of the Bharata-Natayam classical Indian dance she has studied since she was nine years old. This dance style evolved and developed in the temples of south India over a period of about 4000 years.

Anjali had not danced since arriving at South Georgia six months ago, so needed to practice hard for three weeks before the performance. And although she had not brought her beautiful and elaborate costumes to the Island, she did have her practice sari to dance in, which, combined with her makeup, some makeshift jewelry, bindi and “henna” decorated hands, helped to set the scene.

In the first dance ‘Todaya Mangalam’, Anjali portrayed the male god Vishnu in his roles as husband to the virtuous Sita, Prince, and conquering destroyer of demons.

In the second dance ‘Kriti – Kanchadalayatakshi’ Anjali used many stylised facial expressions to portray the beautiful goddess Kamaskshi of Kanchi who is said to have eyes like lotus petals. The third dance ‘Thillana’ consisted of pure dance movements with no facial expressions. This is traditionally used to end a Bharata-Natyam recital and is considered the most beautiful of dances with a celebratory mood. The fast drumming of Anjali’s bare feet on the floor added to the percussion in the music.

The energy put into the dances was huge, and at the end, after as big an applause as twelve people can raise, Anjali was plied with questions whilst she stood, glowing gently, ribcage heaving, recovering her breath.

When she leaves the Island in a year and a half she plans to continue her dancing. Her father is a Pahari from the foothills of the Himalayas and Anjali says the dancing keeps her in touch with the Indian side of herself. Widely traveled, it is not too surprising she does not know where she will go next, but if it is to the UK then she has already been invited to audition with a dance company in London, and if it is New Zealand again she will perform with the dance company run by her teacher.

 

Bird Island News
By Robin Snape, Zoological Field Assistant and winter Base Commander at Bird Island.

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During the monthly Wandering Albatross chick census on the first day of June it looked as though winter was really here to stay with deep snow in places and sub zero temperatures. All four of us got out to count chicks at various locations around the island. Late in the day as the sun was setting Robert, from a vantage point on Molly Hill, called out across the radio that he had seen whales in Bird Sound. Luckily Fabrice and I were also high up above the valleys. It was quite a scene to take in as we all, in view of each other, watched a number of Humpback Whales repeatedly surfacing for air with the late afternoon light bathing the icebergs and the snow-swept landscape. Just one of many whale sightings we’ve had over the last few months.

 

 

Wandering Albatross on census day.

The first Leopard Seals have been seen hauled out on the beaches and Donald has been out daily with his camera taking snaps for a database where seals can be identified by their spots. This way we build a picture of how many are travelling to Bird Island for the winter from their cold breeding grounds in the icy south. The same individuals are often seen from year to year and photographs provide a secondary method for identifying seals where it is not possible to use numbered tags.

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Leopard Seal relaxing amongst kelp in Freshwater Bay. Photo by Donald Malone.

June 21st saw midwinter celebrations. This was like Christmas day for us, with a long afternoon of festive activities, including the midwinter games held outside in the pouring rain (best explained through photographs I think), some well earned relaxation, and a huge meal, which none of us could finish. We also exchanged presents that we each had grafted over for a long time, a tambourine, a sledge, a small shrine and a bizarre sculpture. Throughout midwinter week it rained and the temperature was +3 degrees at times so we lost all of our snow. Quite a different climate here to KEP just 100km or so down the coast.

Leopard Seal

 

Leopard Seal

The Midwinter Games included snowballing and kitchen ping pong. Photos by Robin Snape.    

On the 27th we competed, via webcam, with KEP towards the title for this year’s winter darts tournament. Bird Island are the current titleholders. After three games it was getting late and KEP decided to call it a day, conveniently for them at 2 games to 1. The BI boys now need to take the next two games in the final battle of this round due to be held next week, before moving on to defeat Halley and Rothera. This is a great opportunity for KEP and BI to get to get to know each other better. We’re relatively close geographically speaking but we may as well be on other sides of the planet, particularly at this time of year when no ships are visiting BI.

 

Midwinter Shenanigans

As is traditional on BAS bases, midwinter was celebrated with a week-long holiday where only the essential and most pressing work is done and everyone gets involved with a range of fun activities throughout the week.

The fun started on the night of Friday June 15th with a pub-crawl around the Point. Some people had been preparing their temporary pub for two days before, others cobbled theirs together that afternoon, and in all seven remarkably varied and inventive venues were visited. Prettiest had to be the outside snowbar with a lit ice sculpture that told of Charlie’s former training as an artist. Next door was the intended snowcave bar, dug for two days by Emma and Steve, but minutes before everyone arrived Steve decided to do some last minute adjustments to a sagging snow ceiling and half the cave collapsed in. Making the best of it, they stamped the floor flat again and the effect was excellent. You still had to crawl in on hands and knees, but inside you were snug and out of the cold wind and could still enjoy the starry sky above, if not the hail of snowballs thrown from the snowbar next door. Other venues included: the boats, covered over by a parachute; the fairy-light festooned sauna; the Fisherman’s pub in the old Jail; the real ale pub in the Post Office; and the karaoke lounge where a shower cubicle had been set up in the corner for the shy, and the showerhead wired as a functioning microphone. Hardened singers caroused until three that morning.

Leopard Seal

 

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The stunning ice-sculpture in the icebar., Photo by Patrick Lurcock   The partially collapsed snowhole bar was surprisingly cosy. Photo by Steve Artis.

Another evening, inventive technician Gareth produced his Tea towel machine. For some reason the sport of tea towel flicking has become prevalent on base. Gareth’s Heath-Robinsonesque machine had a variety of targets and devices to measure strength and accuracy of tea towel flicking.

On the 18th everyone trekked up the track above the whaling station to pose on the hill, with the station behind, for the official midwinter photograph. Photos of previous wintering groups, going back to the 70’s, adorn the walls of the dining room. Snow was falling as we faced an impressive array of cameras on tripods. Sadly the sun did not come out, so the plan is to repeat the exercise on a better day.

Leopard Seal

 

Leopard Seal

The midwinter photo was not blessed with sun. Photo by Andy Barker.   The dash for the water, midwinter madness! Photo by Emma Jones.

On the 19th everyone gathered at Carse House for a pub supper and quiz.

And the main event, on the 21st of course, was a full day of activities starting with breakfast in bed, cooked and served by Andy the Base Commander, who also delivered the midwinter magazine that had kept Anjali up until 5.30 that morning getting it printed in time. Late morning, all but four of us gathered for the dreaded midwinter swim. With the air temperature at minus three, and the water temperature not much warmer, we were in, out, and up in the sauna in little over a minute! A traditional showing of the horror movie “The Thing” started at 1pm, but several people had to leave early to make sure their offerings for the midwinter feast were going to be ready on time. At 4pm we all gathered for champagne cocktails then a multi-course meal, which we interrupted before the pudding courses to listen to the BBC World Service broadcast of midwinter messages from friends and families of all the BAS employees on the southern bases. Afterwards the fruits of the many hours everyone had spent in the previous weeks making a present for someone were appreciated. The standard of craftsmanship was really high and some beautiful things had been made. I think everyone agreed though that Gareth’s perfect 1/8th scale whaling harpoon with interchangeable heads was the most impressive. Gareth was rewarded with 45 bumps as it was also his birthday!

Videoclip of the Midwinter swim

 

Leopard Seal

 

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The 1/8th scale harpoon made by Gareth Wale. Photo by Anjali Pande.   Forty Five bumps for the birthday boy. Photo by Martony Vaughan

Impressively some managed to rouse themselves for a ski trip up Glacier Col the next day. We had recovered a bit for the fun evening spent re-enacting the old TV programme “Mr and Mrs”, and the final event before returning to a normal work routine was an invite aboard the Fishery Patrol ship “Pharos SG” for a curry evening whilst she was alongside on the evening on the 24th.

 

South Georgia Snippets

June was dominated by the run up to, and events of, midwinter reported above. Perhaps it was as well we had plenty to keep us busy indoors as the weather has produced few good days, and yes, the snow has continued to fall. A big low-pressure system towards the end of the month caused a build up of surf on easterly winds, which hit the gravel spit that is the Point and pounded the sewage outfalls with lumps of ice from the nearby glaciers, damaging the protective gabion baskets. With the wind behind it, the waves broke within three metres of Carse House, almost halving the closest distance to the house that has been recorded before. The easterly also bought King Penguin feathers from the huge colony at St Andrews Bay more than 20 kilometres upwind, and less welcome, the smell of fuel that, despite cleanups after their groundings, still leaks on rough days from the two wrecks at the mouth of Moraine Fjord.

On June 13th the annual Oil Spill Response scenario was practiced, giving everyone a chance to practice digging containment ditches, deploying booms, erecting the skimming tank and using the pump.

The Captain and crew of the “Pharos SG” used a bad weather day alongside to test their new ‘Crewsaver’ survival suits. As a comparison some of the crew started out in the older thinner survival suits but came out of the water almost as soon as they got in as they found the seals at the wrists leaked and they could quickly feel the cold. The new suits though were declared a big improvement. They were able to comfortably stay out, splashing about in the freezing water of the cove in blizzard conditions, for around twenty minutes and got out more from boredom than encroaching cold! It has to be said though that the red suits are more akin to the costumes of the Tellytubbies than any fashion wear.

In an after note to his report above Guy Sheridan told a story from the liberation of Southern Thule that depicts typical British military humour. He reports that: “It was declared that 1 Argentine civilian and 10 servicemen were taken prisoner at South Thule. In fact it was 1 civilian and 9 servicemen. The number of service men was increased by one when, during the clean-up operation, Marines found a man-sized ‘blow-up’ doll in the accommodation building!”

The science team were rewarded with a close encounter with a small group of Killer Whales (Orcas) when they went out to do the plankton trawls and set nets in CBE on June 27th. Anjali got a nice photo of a male with its big dorsal fin.

Leopard Seal

 

Leopard Seal

Inflatable boom being deployed from the jetty during the Oil Spill Response practice.   The Captain and crew of the “Pharos SG” ready to test the immersion suits.

Leopard Seal

 

Leopard Seal

Paul bobbed around in his new suit quite comfortably in the freezing water.   The big fin of a male Killer Whale. Photo Anjali Pande

 

Video clip of easterly waves hitting King Edward Point beach.

 

View of the Month

Don’t forget to see this month’s 'View of the Month' - available on the South Georgia Heritage Trust website

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