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   News and Events 

South Georgia Newsletter, October 2007

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Chief Executives Officer goes to CCAMLR

South Georgia Chief Executive Officer Harriet Hall is attending the 26th meeting of the CCAMLR Commission (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) in Hobart. The Commission is where the Total Allowable Catches (TAC) for Toothfish and Icefish are decided for the coming year, as well as other measures which will apply to all fisheries in the Southern Ocean.

En route to the meeting in Hobart, Tasmania, Harriet spent four days in the UK meeting many of the agencies involved with South Georgia. She visited Project Atlantis in Dundee where she saw and discussed the planned new South Georgia website, which will soon be launched on this website address. She also met the South Georgia Heritage Trust and was able to update them on developments in South Georgia and hear about their own work, including their fund for small projects related to promoting South Georgia (see heading below).

In London she met representatives of ‘Wholefoods Market’ in High Street Kensington who sell MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certified South Georgia toothfish (sold as Chilean Seabass). She was able to explain the strict regulations governing the SG fishery and discussed with them some possibilities for further promoting the fish in the UK.

 

South Georgia Fishery Science Meeting

Fishing companies with an interest in South Georgia gathered in Stanley, Falkland Islands, earlier this month for a meeting with scientists.

At the annual ‘Fisheries Science Meeting’, which is usually held in London, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and Marine Resources Assessment Group (MRAG) get together with companies that fish for Toothfish, Icefish and Krill in the South Georgia Zone.

South Georgia’s Director of Fisheries, Harriet Hall, said the annual meeting gives the opportunity to discuss with companies, “…the implications for managing the fishery and to flag up any developments that are likely to be introduced in coming seasons. This means that commercial concerns can be taken into account at an early stage in planning.”

Part of the license fee paid by the fishing companies is used to employ the scientific observers who accompany the vessels on the fishing grounds. At the meeting, data gathered from this and other science was presented to the Industry. Miss Hall said, “the meeting is a chance for companies to learn where the money goes and how important the research carried out on their vessels is.”

(With thanks to Penguin News)

 

Correction to September Article

The top story in last month’s newsletter stated that there was going to be a 50% rise in cruise ship numbers in the 2007/8 tourist season. This should have read “cruise ship passenger numbers.”

Further applications have now been received and processed. A total of 68 cruise ship visits are now on the schedule, a 35% increase in tour ship visits over last season.

 

Exercise ‘Cape Reach’

Exercise Cape Reach

The three ships that took part in ‘Exercise Cape Reach’. L-R, “RFA Gold Rover”, “HMS Southampton”, and Fishery Patrol Vessel(FPV) “Pharos SG”.

In the first week of October a large multi agency ‘Disaster Exercise’ was held. The scenario used for the exercise simulated that a medium sized cruise ship had running aground close to Grytviken in bad weather. A press release was posted on this site shortly after the exercise. Click here to link to the original article.

The two military ships “HMS Southampton” and “RFA Gold Rover” also spent time patrolling the area, with visits to the Stromness Bay area and “Gold Rover” making a traditional call to “Gold Harbour”.

Commander British Forces South Atlantic Islands, Brigadier Nick Davies, who is based at Mount Pleasant Airport in the Falkland Islands, made his first visit to South Georgia.

 

Heightened Biosecurity has Positive Results

Improved biosecurity measures are already proving effective at reducing the risk of accidental introduction of alien species to South Georgia.

GSGSSI has introduced a number of new biosecurity measures in time for the start of the busy summer season. With increasing numbers of visitors to the Island, and climate change potentially making South Georgia more hospitable to a wider range of species, the risk of a new and serious species introduction is ever increasing.

These new measures include special checking and packing of cargo, especially fresh food, before it is embarked for South Georgia. Further checks are made as cargo is received on the Island. People on yachts, cruise ships and other visiting vessels are required to clean footwear, walking poles and other outdoor equipment, not only before they reach the Island but also between sites. The biocide ‘Virkon’ is also used to help prevent the possibility of moving pathogens between wildlife sites.

Though it takes time and effort for tour ship passengers to check backpacks and outdoor clothing, early indications are that they do this willingly and are surprised at the number of seeds they find. One Expedition Leader reported his passengers…”found more than a few seeds” and ”all support the concept and were very cooperative.” A visiting yacht found evidence that may have indicated they had a rat aboard. After bringing it to the attention of the Government Officer they were supplied with a trap and rat poison.

Checks before consignment have meant fresh produce arriving at KEP is mainly clean, but some aphids were found in a lettuce, and a large snail was found in a cargo container.

Two botanists visiting in December will make a study of the bittercress at KEP with a view to designing an effective method to eradicate it. Bittercress is thought to have been introduced in recent years.

A snail was found in a cargo container during biosecurity checks. Photo Pat Lurcock

biosecurity checks

 

 

Fishing and Shipping News

Icefish trawler “Betanzos” completed catching her TAC on October 20th and sailed for Stanley, Falkland Islands. The icefish fishery was closed on the 21st by CCAMLR.

Between October 4th and 7th the Royal Naval vessel “HMS Southampton” and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessel “Gold Rover” were here for ‘Exercise Cape Reach’ and general patrolling duties. The Fishery Patrol Vessel “Pharos SG”, which also had a role to play in the exercise, was here at the same time.

The first cruise ship of the 2007/8 summer season arrived on October 25th. “MS Nordenorge”, operated by Norwegian tour operator Hurtigruten, brought 213 passengers who luckily did not have too much difficulty with snow conditions as a prolonged thaw in the preceding weeks had cleared much of the snow at sea level.

 

The first cruise ship of the season “Nordenorge” in King Edward Cove.

Nordenorge

Bona Terra

Four yachts visited King Edward Cove this month. The first to arrive was the Polish yacht “Bona Terra” which spent just five days on the Island before heading for the Falkland Islands and Chilean Fjords. The yacht took two weeks to reach here from Mar del Plata in Argentina and had spent four days in the doldrums.

 

“Bona Terra” was the first yacht to arrive this season.

“Golden Fleece” arrived on October 15th with a charter group of photographers. Both the other yachts, “Le Sourire” and “Pelagic Australis”, were chartered to expedition groups who successfully completed the ‘Shackleton Route’ from King Haakon Bay to Stromness. The group of French skiers on “Le Sourire” actually crossed the island twice as they were actually dropped in at Possession Bay on the north-east coast, then crossed to King Haakon Bay on the south-west coast to start the traditional route. A report of the expedition from “Pelagic Australis” features below.

At the end of the month “Pharos SG” brought in a large cargo that took three days to unload at the King Edward Point (KEP) jetty. The cargo included four containers and 230 bags of stone and sand for use in the hydroelectric power station project. A similar amount of cargo is expected when the Morrison FI employees arrive next month to start the work. Much effort had gone in to specially packing and inspecting the cargo to comply with heightened biosecurity requirements.

On October 31st “Pharos SG” conducted the first of a series of trial plankton trawls. Over the next year she will trawl in tandem with the fishing research vessel “Quest” to verify the validity of the method. This first trial was a success. “Quest” is due to be retired at the end of 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

Unloading the cargo of stone and sand from “Pharos SG”

Pharos SG

 

 

SGHT New Online Shop

SGHT now has a new online shop, at www.southgeorgia.absolutewebhosting2.co.uk, letting you purchase items to support South Georgia securely online.

Select Paypal to pay by credit card or using your Paypal account, and buy exclusive South Georgia t-shirts, gifts and books . Brand new items include Bob Burton’s 2nd edition of his popular “Shackleton at South Georgia” booklet, price only £5, and South Georgia t-shirts for kids and adults, with fantastic photos of South Georgia wildlife donated to SGHT by Donald Malone and Miriam Iorwerth. New items will be added to the shop continuously, and if there are any other items you would like to see on sale, please contact us. All profits will go towards projects to benefit South Georgia’s wildlife and heritage.

 

SGHT Grant Awards Scheme

The South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) has just announced the ‘SGHT Grant Awards Scheme’. The scheme is designed to assist small projects related to South Georgia.

SGHT is keen to hear from any group undertaking a research project that will be of benefit to South Georgia's wildlife or heritage. If you would like to apply to SGHT for project funding, please contact us to obtain a grant application form.

 

 

“Scouts of the Quest” Stamp Issue Released

Scouts of the Quest

The new “Scouts of the Quest” First Day Cover.

A new stamp issue, timed to coincide with the centenary year of the Scouting Movement, was released on October 15th. “Scouts of the Quest” is a five-stamp issue celebrating the two scouts who accompanied Shackleton on his last expedition on the “Quest”.

When Shackleton wanted to recruit a cabin boy for the voyage he approached the Scout Movement. Of the 1,700 who applied, ten scouts were interviewed and Shackleton had such a hard time choosing that he decided to take two, Patrol Leader Norman Mooney and James Marr. A photograph of the two scouts with Shackleton features on the 60p stamp. The boys appeared on the front cover of the magazine ‘Young Britain’, as shown on the 25p stamp, and soon became the most famous scouts in Britain.

The 50p stamp shows the scouts raising the King’s flag aboard the expedition vessel “Quest” in St Catherine’s Dock shortly before they sailed on September 17th 1921. “Quest” had a devilish movement at sea and the rough conditions were too much for Mooney who, overcome by seasickness, had to leave the expedition when they reached Lisbon. The rough passage continued as they headed south. They reached South Georgia on January 4th 1922, and the next night, aged just 47 years, Shackleton died in his cabin.

The Expedition continued under the leaderships of Commander Frank Wild. He later wrote a book “Shackleton’s Last Voyage, the story of the Quest”, the front cover design of which was adapted to form the First Day Cover illustration. (FDC £4.10). Continuing south the ship was trapped in ice for a while. James Marr helped the expedition photographer Hubert Wilkins to take the photograph featured on the £1.05 stamp.

A year after they set out the expedition returned to the Thames. Scout Marr was invited by Baden-Powell, who set up the Scout Movement, to a special rally attended by 60,000 scouts. The autographed postcard depicted on the 85p stamp was produced at this time. Marr went on to become an eminent Marine Biologist. He took part in several other expeditions; worked for the ‘Discovery Investigations’; and led ‘Operation Tabarin’, which later became the Falkland Island Dependencies Survey, which in turn became the British Antarctic Survey.

The stamp issue was designed by Andrew Robinson, and the story of the “Scouts of the Quest” has been researched and written up for the First Day Cover insert by scouting expert Colin Walker.
To purchase South Georgia stamps e-mail the Philatelic Bureau, Website: www.falklands.gov.fk/pb

 

The Four Mountains Tribute

Stanley Peak

Stanley Peak. Photo by Skip Novak.

The ‘Four Mountains Tribute’, to mark the 25th anniversary of liberation, had got off to a good start. Twenty years ago, in 1987, the Antarctic Place Names Committee elected to name four mountains on the Island after individuals who had played a leading role in the Island’s liberation. From the north the mountains were: Stanley Peak, 1263 meters in the Cornwall Peaks range; Mills Peak, 627 meters, at the northern end of the Barff Peninsula; Ellerbeck Peak, 684 meters, to the eastern side of the Nordenskjold Glacier; and Sheridan Peak, 955 meters, set in the Nordenskjold Glacier.

Just under a year ago, the concept of getting all four mountains climbed in the 25th Anniversary year of the Liberation as a tribute to all involved in the defence and liberation of the Island in 1982, was conceived during a conversation with yachtsman and mountaineer Skip Novak. It is fitting then that Skip and the ‘Insubrica Expedition’ should have achieved probably the first accent of Mt Stanley during their recent crossing of the Island on the ‘Shackleton Route’ (report below).

It is hoped that Mills Peak and Ellerbeck Peak can be climbed by parties from KEP this summer. The big challenge ahead will be getting Sheridan Peak climbed. In the past two attempts have been made on this mountain, one by Guy Sheridan after whom the mountain is named, but the exposed position and technical nature of the peak means it is still virgin territory. A group of French mountaineers and skiers based on the yacht Le Sourire did have a look at it as they crossed over to St Andrews towards the end of October, but they decided not to try.

 

Insubrica Expedition’s Shackleton Traverse and Ascent of Stanley Peak
(By Skip Novak)

The Swiss Italian “Insubrica Expedition to South Georgia,” powered exclusively by prosciutto, parmesan, pasta and cappuccino made a successful ‘Shackleton Traverse’ between October 20th and 24th, spending five days on the route with four camps. Losing no time and with an ideal weather window up front, “Pelagic Australis”, with Skip Novak on board as the local knowledge, deposited the group of seven at King Haakon Bay on October 20th. Here is Skip’s brief report of the crossing and the successful ascent of the virgin mountain Stanley Peak:

After the obligatory stop at Cave Cove just after dawn, having come in directly from Stanley, Falkland Islands, we were away on the beach by 1130 and found snow after only a ten-minute walk. We then disappeared into the mist towards the Shackleton Gap. Navigating with a GPS (backed up by Romolo’s sixth sense of direction) as the visibility came and went, we reached last year’s camp just below the Trident Ridge by 1700.

 

Camp Two, between the Crean and Fortuna Glaciers.

between the Crean and Fortuna Glaciers

A quiet night was spent in the windscoop, and by 0700 we were away, opting for the middle of the three cols that descend to the Crean Glacier. An otherwise easy descent was made harder by having to lower the four heavy pulks (the prosciutto and parmesan in bulk) with two 50-meter ropes over an icy slope in four stages. Then came a long, ‘atmospheric’ pull to the col between the Crean and Fortuna glaciers, again in variable visibility. At 1600 we stumbled across the previous French expedition’s campsite and decided to re-excavate it as, after six hours of pulling, this seemed an opportunity too good to miss.

From here our objective was to climb the virgin Stanley Peak, which lies at the base of the Cornwall Range that joins the Wilckens Peaks. Named after Lieutenant Commander Ian Stanley, RN who helped liberate the island from the Argentines in 1982, it is one of four peaks honouring British soldiers who fought that campaign. A beautiful summit at 1263 meters with an imposing north face, the left skyline ridge looked doable possibly on skis.

sleds

The next morning, after a windy night as expected in these parts, four of us attempted to ski to the base up the Fortuna but were stopped by windy knock down conditions. As it happened the weather came right that afternoon, so we decided to move camp (by riding the sleds ‘au cheval’) a short distance to below a spur for better protection and to be closer to the start the following morning.

Carlo, Romolo and Anna riding ‘au cheval’.  

Away by 0345 Romolo, Anna, Carlo and I skinned up the hard surface to the head of the Fortuna and easily gained the east ridge of Stanley and just kept on skinning up to about 100 meters below the summit. Only a short walk with crampons from there and by 0730 we stood on the windless top in the sunshine and had superb views all around – Antarctic and Possession Bays to the northwest, the Three Brothers and Mount Spaaman to the south and right adjacent the teeth of the Wilckens Range and below the Kohl Plateau. Nicholls Peak we believed to be just down along the ridge to the west.

near the summit of Stanley Peak

 

Romolo, Carlo and Anna near the summit of Stanley Peak, the Three Brothers and Mt Spaaman behind.

The ski down from the sunshine into an ethereal cloud bank back to the camp was the South Georgia dream. After pasta, we broke camp and made it up and over the Breakwind Gap and skied down to the first fur seal near the beach. Deciding to camp and enjoy the greenery and the animals rather than forcing it up and over to Stromness the same day turned out to be a mixed blessing. Because at 0800 the next morning (after Stewart and crew delivered the vino from Pelagic Australis) we awoke to the cruise ship “Nordnorge” parked close in shore in front of our tent like a giant video camera. Attempting to perform our ablutions into the sea (our protocol for such when camped near the shore) with nowhere to hide along this stretch of open beach was an exercise in humility out of dire necessity. . . . And so later that day we carried on, up and over to Stromness in the rain. The Swiss Italians, all in their sixties and Gianni who is seventy, having been just about everywhere else in the world where there are mountains, all said their South Georgia expedition was “bellissimo!” For me, well, I never ate better on the mountain.

The ‘Insubrica Expediution’ members were: Romolo Nottaris, Mountain Leader; Gianni Caverzasio; Carlo Spinelli; Anna Mattei; Fabrizio Bernasconi; Sergio Brambilla and Skip Novak. They were supported by the crew of “Pelagic Australis”: Stewart Richardson, Skipper; Jessica Hay; Mick de Hoog; and Mike Galluci.

The Insubrica team

Skip Novak

The Insubrica team, when they met up with renowned yachtsman Amyr Klink and his wife Marina at Stromness.

The author Skip Novak on the summit of Stanley Peak. All photos Skip Novak.

 

 

New Book: “An Artist in South Georgia”

A new book has just been published entitled “An Artist in South Georgia” by Molly Sheridan. The book is a record of an artist’s visit to the Island in the summer of 2003/4.

Molly came here with the assistance of a Shackleton Scholarship, and spent three months sketching and painting. Her visit coincided with that of single-handed yachtsman David Cowper on his motor yacht “Polar Bound”. Accepting a lift, Molly accompanied him to several of the more remote spots on the Island where she could sketch and paint fjords and bays from Cape Disappointment to the Bay of Isles.

Some of her work features the whaling stations, and as her visit was shortly before the massive clean up of Grytviken Whaling station, during which many of the old station buildings were demolished, they form an important record catching the atmosphere of the station as it was.

Molly developed her sketches into paintings using a number of mediums. These were done in a temporary studio established above the generator house at KEP, and later in her studio in France.
Molly studied art, architecture and interior design at Napier College, Edinburgh University between 1968 and 1973. Following her studies she worked in London as an Exhibition Designer.

The book features the working sketches and the final works from her visit to South Georgia on opposite pages. It has 64 pages and 130 illustrations and costs £15.00 plus p&p. You can order it direct from Guy Sheridan


We hope to bring you a review of the book by former Commissioner Howard Pearce next month.

An artist in South Georgia

A page from the “An artist in South Georgia” showing the sketches used as reference for the watercolour shown left.
Watercolour painting of the view from KEP Watercolour painting of the view from KEP by artist Molly Sheridan.

 

 

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

Ringers in colony

The ringing team, who arrived on FPV “Pharos SG” at the end of last month, got to work ringing Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatrosses and all told managed to ring over a thousand birds over a few weeks. The grey-heads have since laid their eggs, as have most of the black-brows. For the grey-heads, the number of breeders has certainly not dropped and looks to have even increased. We will know for sure at the beginning of November when we census all of the main study colonies.

 

Ringers in colony N. Photo Fabrice Le Bouard

 

Chris Hill, a Communications Engineer who arrived with the ringers very quickly installed a new VHF radio repeater on Tonk Peak, enabling us to contact each other from virtually any point on the island, which has been a huge benefit.

The new “bird boy” Derren, who will be replacing me when I leave next April, has learned the ropes very quickly and has developed a real affinity for black-brows.

 

 


Drinking champagne on the patio. L-R: Andy Wood, Robin Snape, Jaume Forcada and Chris Hill. Photo Fabrice Le Bouard

Drinking champagne on the patio

Male Elephant Seals sparring

There have been up to seven or eight bull Elephant Seals battling it out and roaring at each other on the beach outside the base, sometimes engaging in face to face tussles more characteristic of KEP than BI, which is considered more of an out-post for males who can not quite cut it on the mainland. To see these displays is pretty exciting as last season only a few individuals came ashore. Four females have given birth on other beaches and we are still hopeful to see one or two more pups.

Male Elephant Seals sparring on Freshwater Beach. Photo by Robin Snape.

Male Fur Seals have arrived and begun to hold territory along the coast in anticipation of the arrival of females who will come ashore to pup later next month. We have been making the most of the beaches, as routes to distant parts of the island will soon be completely blocked by the seals. Watching the drama unfold on the beach through the window makes a great substitute for TV. Donald is prepared for the first day of the Fur Seal season starting tomorrow morning when he makes his first visit to SSB (special study beach).

The Macaroni Penguins are coming in thick and fast after their winter away and Big Mac, our largest colony, is starting to fill up. Chris Hill was tasked with installing a new penguin gateway, which successfully logged the first penguins entering the Little Mac study colony as they passed through the gateway sensors that detect their microchip tags and log them. Fabrice is currently busy monitoring the Macaronis as they arrive, but he has been particularly busy with the Northern Giant Petrels this season, as the number turning out to breed in the study area has exceeded records since study began in 2000.

We wait in anticipation of the first call of RRS James Clark Ross, which is currently steaming across to us from the Falkland Islands with our re-supply for this season.

 

Dates for your Diary

If you live in the South West of England you may be interested to attend a talk by the Royal Geographical Society (SW Region). The talk, entitled “Tierra del Fuego to South Georgia”, will be presented by Dominic Flint at 7pm on November 22nd at Kelly College in Tavistock.

Dominic, who worked as an Observer on one of the toothfish vessels in South Georgia waters, will talk about the South Georgia sustainable fishery and how albatross mortality on the longlines has been reduced to virtually zero. Contact the Hon. Sec. Chris Brightman on 01392 877630

Anyone visiting Barcelona between November 13th and February 24th should schedule in a visit to the ‘Museo Maritime’ which is hosting the major travelling exhibition “Trapped in the Ice: Shackleton’s legendary Antarctic Expedition”. The Museum’s website is can be read in English: www.museumaritimbarcelona.com

 

South Georgia Snippets

The good news is the ozone hole is a lot smaller than last year. Unusually for spring, ozone levels over the Island in the past couple of weeks have been nothing to worry about. The bad news is this is not sign of recovery. The Ozone hole is 30% smaller than last years record size, more elliptical in shape and less centred over the pole. But the smaller hole is related to the mild temperatures in the Antarctic stratosphere during the 2007 southern hemispheric winter, rather than a general improvement. Info from the Environmental News Service: www.ens-newswire.com

South Georgia albatross have been in the international media this month when the journal ‘Nature’ published the results of a study that used logging instruments on South Georgia Wandering Albatross. Previously believed to follow a ‘Levy flight pattern’ that would be an optimal strategy for foraging over a large area for sparse food, the new data shows that actually the birds, as their name implies, do wander more randomly in search of food.

The heavy accumulation of snow on the roof of the Museum bent and fractured the boiler flue, which needed to be mended in time for the Museum to open at the end of the month. After the repairs though, when the heating was turned on, a small flood occurred where pipes had burst over winter. Luckily there was no major damage and the main exhibition area was not affected.

Museum Team

The four-person Museum team arrived, along with a new Doctor and a seismic Engineer, on October 23rd. The Museum team had a busy start trying to get the Museum de-winterised and shop stock unpacked in time for the first, and large, cruise ship just two days later.

 

 

Arriving at the Island on “Pharos SG” L-R: John Fowler, Elsa Davidson and Miriam Iorwerth of the Museum Team; the new doctor Rachel Hadden and Seismic Engineer Chris.

The BSES Expedition, bringing a group of 12 young explorers to South Georgia in December, hit problems when the vessel supporting them had to pull out. Frantic efforts to raise extra funds and find other vessels to bring them to the Island have resulted in a brilliant save, and the organisers have been amazed and relieved at the response. It may have all been doubly worth it as once they receive permission for their revised plans they should now have longer at the Island.

Thunder and lightening is a very rare event on South Georgia, so the one spark and clap on October 6th over Cumberland Bay East was notable.

With Halloween just past it was timely to read that Captain Scott’s old ship, and the first ship used by, and that gave its name to, the ‘Discovery Expeditions’ based at KEP, has topped a list of most haunted sites funded by the UK National Lottery. According to a report on scotsman.com, ghostly footsteps are sometimes heard on the ship, which is now at Dundee in Scotland. Some say it is the ghost of Shackleton, “who so loved the ship he never left”, or maybe they are those of another sailor, Charles Bonner, who fell to his death from the crow's nest in 1901.

October is the height of the Elephant Seal breeding season. The colony at KEP has grown from 2 females on the October 1st, to a maximum 138 later in the month. The colony size is average compared to other years, and in total we expect about 150 females will haul out to pup here this year. The first pup was born on the 4th, and there were several weaned pups before the end of the month.

 

first Elephant Seal pup

Bull Elephant Seals

The first Elephant Seal pup born at KEP this year.

Bull Elephant Seals squaring up before a fight.

The Elephant Seal harem at KEP is very active with births, pups suckling, matings and all the attendant activity. (Adobe Flash player required: here).

 

On the 21st, as more females were ready to mate, two big battles between the vying bulls were seen on the Point within 24hrs.

The KEP flagpole was lowered for maintenance, but a bull Elephant Seal ran it over, putting a noticeable bend in it. Luckily Gareth cleverly managed to straighten it out.

It is still possible to ski from sea level up into the hills if you pick your route, but the big thaw since early in the month has surprised us all. Several parties have got out to ski, snowshoe, camp and enjoy the spring wildlife. At least two parties reached St Andrews Bay despite unhelpful weather conditions.

The bad weather made for an uncomfortable return trip to the Falkland Islands for the Fishery Patrol Vessel “Pharos SG” early in the month. The crew recorded a 35-degree roll, and a twenty-man life raft was lost overboard.

A ringed Giant Petrel seen feeding on a dead pup at KEP was traced, using its ring number and information, back to Bird Island. It was a male who currently has a nest on Bottom Meadows with an egg that was laid on Oct 4th.

Gentoo Penguins at Maiviken were nest building and mating in the middle of the month, and Light-mantled Sooty Albatross have returned to nest sites in the cliffs all around the coast. The White-chinned Petrels have also been heard chirping from their burrows at night on the hillsides above KEP.

 

See all the spring activity at Maiviken, with Gentoo Penguins nest building, displaying and mating. (Adobe Flash player required: here).

 

Spring can be an itchy time! (Adobe Flash player required: here).

 

View of the Month

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

 

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