South Georgia Newsletter, June 2013

From South Georgia Website

Jump to: navigation, search

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

Government Appointments

A new position of Operations Officer has been created within GSGSSI to deal mainly with logistics. Current Government Officer, Keiron Fraser, will take up the new post in October. He will be based in the GSGSSI office in the Falklands, but will be expected to make regular visits to South Georgia. The new position is partially a result of Executive Officer Richard McKee moving to the UK for two years. Whilst abroad Richard will remain working part-time for GSGSSI, dealing with all South Georgia vessel visit and expedition applications, attending UK meetings on behalf of GSGSSI and a range of other government work. He moves to Edinburgh in July. A new Government Officer will be recruited to join the team of three Government Officers at South Georgia.

Richard McKee visited South Georgia in early June. During the visit a table-top major incident exercise was conducted, the scenario involving a cruise ship incident. This useful exercise lead to discussions about a number of important issues. Learning points were identified, which will assist with the current planning for any major incident response.

Richard McKee (centre) aboard HMS Argyll during his recent visit to South Georgia. Photo HMS Argyll.
Richard McKee (centre) aboard HMS Argyll during his recent visit to South Georgia. Photo HMS Argyll.

Naval Vessels Visit

Two naval vessels, HMS Argyll and RFA Black Rover, were patrolling South Georgia waters in early June. Both vessels entered Cumberland Bay on the 3rd for a three day visit. HMS Argyll is equipped with a Lynx helicopter which was used to deploy a land patrol and to assist in GSGSSI projects.

Twelve personnel from HMS Argyll were accompanied by GSGSSI’s Andy Black on a patrol from Fortuna to Stromness. The aircraft was also used to take two other GSGSSI officers for a flight survey of the Busen Peninsula looking for any signs of remaining reindeer following the reindeer removal from the area last summer. Snow on the ground meant it would be easy to see tracks from any reindeer movements in the area. No indication of reindeer was seen. The aircraft also assisted the removal of field kit from the Tonsberg field huts. The equipment was loaded into nets, which were under-slung from the helicopter and flown to King Edward Point.

One of the KEP jet boats was used to assist getting the crew from both vessels on shore for a visit to Grytviken. The Museum and Post Office were opened for the visitors, and many enjoyed a leg stretch along the shores and a chance to visit the historic whalers’ church and Shackleton’s grave. A lunchtime reception was held in Carse House for the senior officers from both vessels, the invitation was reciprocated by HMS Argyll who hosted some of the locals to lunch.

Three passengers from KEP were embarked for the return journey to the Falkland Islands and both vessels departed on June 6th.

After his return, one of those passengers, GSGSSI Executive Officer Richard McKee, expressed, “sincere thanks to the Commanding Officer and crew of HMS Argyll for their assistance recently, including aerial support for the survey of the Busen Peninsula.” The other passengers were Andy Black and Tom Clegg (Gilkes Project Engineer, who had been working on the hydroelectric generator) both of whom can be seen in the photo above.

Fishing And Shipping News

June has been a busy month for the fisheries. Several of the six-strong toothfish longlining fleet made passages to Stanley (Falkland Islands), for mid-season transhipments. During the transhipment the catch is offloaded and verified, and a sample of individual box contents checked, as part of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) chain of custody process for the certified South Georgia toothfish fishery. Catches through the month varied a little, but remain good.

The catch verification team working in Stanley, to check box contents and packing weights of toothfish being offloaded from a SG licensed longliner.
The catch verification team working in Stanley, to check box contents and packing weights of toothfish being offloaded from a SG licensed longliner.

The krill fishing season started with the arrival of the first krill trawler for licensing and inspection on June 16th. A further trawler and a reefer vessel arrived two days later. The reefer had people on board to do a crew swap with one of the trawlers and provided bunkers; it returned a few days later to tranship with one of the krill trawlers.

The following week two more krill trawlers arrived for inspection and licensing. Around this period a severe gale, with winds gusting to 70 knots, caused significant disruption to the fishing vessels, with many vessels seeking shelter closer to the coast or in Cumberland Bay. Few vessels managed to fish for the two days of gales.

Initial krill catches have been good and at least two of the krill trawlers attended the reefer in Cumberland Bay to tranship their catch.

A fourth krill trawler was inspected and licensed on the 28th.

World Leaders Send Midwinter Greetings

Heads of state from around the world, including US president Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, sent goodwill messages to the South Georgia and Antarctic Bases to mark midwinter. And for the South Georgia and British Antarctic bases the celebrity list of well-wishers was augmented by some big names taking part in the annual Midwinter Broadcast from the BBC. Billed on the BBC website as “..possibly the BBC World Service's most unusual programme as well as serving its smallest intended audience…..broadcast each year on June 21st to a guaranteed audience this year of just 41 people: the men and women scientists and support staff overwintering at four British bases in Antarctica.”

Most of the show is taken up with greetings from base members’ families and short snippets of music, one tune chosen by each base. Intertwined are midwinter greetings from BAS HQ staff and a sprinkling of celebrities, which this year included Stephen Fry, Derren Brown and Chas of ‘Chas and Dave’ fame!

See below to find out how the South Georgia bases celebrated midwinter this year.

Sir Rex Hunt – New Stamp Releases

The 75p stamp shows Sir Rex in front of Government House, Falkland Islands – December 1982.
The 75p stamp shows Sir Rex in front of Government House, Falkland Islands – December 1982.

Based on text by former Commissioner for South Georgia (1992-5) David Tatham; editor of ‘The Dictionary of Falklands Biography’ (2008).

In June both South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and the Falkland Islands’ governments released a set of stamps commemorating the life of Sir Rex Hunt. The release of the stamps on June 11th coincided with a memorial service for Sir Rex Hunt at St Clement Danes, the Central Church of the Royal Air Force, London.

Rex Hunt was the most well-known Governor of the Falkland Islands and their Dependencies (which then included the island of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands). He led the islanders during the Argentine invasion of April 1982 and returned after liberation to supervise post war reconstruction.

When he was sent as Governor to the Falkland Islands in 1980, Rex Hunt also assumed responsibility for the island of South Georgia and the other British Dependencies in Antarctica. In December 1981 he sailed for South Georgia on HMS Endurance accompanied by his wife Mavis. “It is difficult to convey the thrill of one’s first sighting of this magnificent island”, wrote Rex later in his memoires ‘My Falkland Days’.

This was to be a tour of inspection of the various scientific stations of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) on the Island; but it proved eventful. On a visit to two film-makers, Cindy Buxton and Annie Price, the naval Wasp helicopter in which Rex and Mavis were flying crash landed in high winds. It tipped nose down and did a somersault. Cindy and Annie looked on in horror and then rushed over with fire extinguishers in case they were needed, but luckily no fire broke out and Rex and Mavis climbed out unharmed albeit somewhat shaken. Though the crew and passengers were safe, the Wasp was a write-off.

Rex Hunt and Mavis also visited the abandoned whaling stations at Stromness and Husvik and laid a wreath on the grave of Sir Ernest Shackleton at Grytviken.

Rex and Mavis were back in Stanley, Falkland Islands, for Christmas 1981. In the new year developments in and around South Georgia precipitated the crisis which induced the Argentine military government to bring forward their plans to invade the Falklands. An Argentine scrap metal merchant refused to abide by the conditions which Rex Hunt had imposed for permission to work in South Georgia. Argentine naval support ships visited South Georgia without permission. Finally the Falklands were invaded and one day later, on April 3rd 1982, an Argentine flotilla attacked the small Marine force at KEP. Although the Marines inflicted damage on the attackers, they were obliged to surrender. The Argentine occupation of South Georgia lasted only three weeks. On April 25th a British force compelled the invaders to surrender after a brief and bloodless encounter.

Rex Hunt had been expelled from the Falkland Islands after the Argentine invasion and spent the conflict in the UK. The spirited defence of Government House had made him the hero of the hour. He returned to Stanley after the Argentine surrender and was awarded a knighthood.

South Georgia was protected by a small British garrison at KEP from 1982 to 2001. In April 1985 the constitution of the Falkland Islands was revised and the Government of South Georgia was separated from that of the Falklands. However the administration was conducted from Government House in Stanley and Rex Hunt was appointed the first Commissioner for South Georgia.

Rex, with Mavis, made a further tour of the Antarctic in HMS Endurance in February 1985. They visited several of the South Sandwich Islands and went on to South Georgia to call on the recently established garrison and visit the BAS research stations.

The £1 stamp depicts Sir Rex on a visit to Pobjoy Mint to launch the first coins to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Liberation.
The £1 stamp depicts Sir Rex on a visit to Pobjoy Mint to launch the first coins to mark the 25th Anniversary of the Liberation.

Rex Hunt retired from Stanley in October 1985 and returned to England. He continued to follow events in the Falklands and South Georgia closely and on several occasions went south as a lecturer on cruise liners. Sir Rex Hunt died on November 11th 2012 and was buried at Hutton Rudby churchyard in Yorkshire.

The £1.20 stamp is a recent portrait of Sir Rex Hunt.
The £1.20 stamp is a recent portrait of Sir Rex Hunt.

The design for the First Day Cover (FDC) shows Sir Rex and Lady Hunt outside the hut at St. Andrews Bay, along with Captain Nick Barker, Captain of HMS Endurance, Cindy Buxton and other ships’ officers.

The Falkland Island stamp set is:

30p: Rex Hunt Civil Commissioner for the Falkland Islands photographed in his office circa 1982.

75p: Sir Rex Hunt (Governor) in full uniform taken with the official Governor’s car (a London Taxi) outside Government House.

£1: Sir Rex Hunt in March 1992 with Falkland’s flag.

£1.20: Queen Elizabeth II speaking with Sir Rex Hunt at Pangbourne College March 9th 2000. The Queen was at Pangbourne College for the official opening of the Falkland Islands Memorial Chapel.

FDC: Sir Rex and Lady Hunt on Carcass Island 1981.

Both sets of stamps and First Day Covers can be bought from

Sponsor A Southern Area

The frustrating, exciting and ultimately successful field season to bait the northern section of South Georgia as part of the ambitious South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) Habitat Restoration (rodent eradication) Project is only just over, but already the charity is changing focus. To complete the project, which is vastly larger than any rat eradication project ever attempted anywhere in the world, the southern end of the Island still needs to be baited. The charity needs to raise a further £2.5 million to complete the baiting, which is due to recommence in early 2015.

To help potential donors focus on what remains to be done, the southern area (comprising all rodent infested areas south of the Phase 1 trial area baited in 2011- light green on the map above), has been broken down into 31 distinct areas. The amount need to bait each area has been calculated, and now individuals, foundations and other funding groups will be invited to target their own area. The areas will range from a slice of the beautiful St Andrews Bay for around £10,000, to the biggest 5,400 hectare area called ‘Ocean Harbour’.

The Ocean Harbour zone includes: the macaroni penguin colony at Rookery Bay; the remains of the Ocean Harbour whaling station; and the gentoo colonies at Penguin Bay, and will cost £347,533 to clear of rats.

It is hoped that tour operators, working with their passengers, will want to take on some of the smaller subdivisions of popular tourist sites such as St Andrews Bay. This area is home to vast colonies of king penguins, elephant and fur seals, as well as albatross, prions, petrels and many other seabirds that should benefit from the removal of rats. St Andrews Bay is regularly visited by tour ships and is a favourite area with both cruise ship staff and visitors with its plethora of wildlife, glaciers, rivers and stunning mountain backdrop. The smaller subdivided areas will be in the areas numbered ‘4’ and ‘5’ on the map above.

St Andrews Bay
St Andrews Bay

The Jumper

The 4th Whaling Symposium hosted by the Sandefjord Whaling Museum was held on June 20th and 21st at Sandefjord, Norway. The symposium, which attracts whaling historians from all over the world, is held every four years. This year there were 65 participants and 17 papers were presented by speakers from 13 different countries.

Several of the attendees had South Georgia connections, including: the SGHT Director (SG Museum Manager) Sarah Lurcock; two trustees of the SGHT, Bjorn Basberg and Alexander Borodin, and Dundee University PhD student Scott Smith who will be studying the whaling stations of South Georgia; a representative of Oyas Venner (Friends of the Island) Olav Helge; and Odd Gateland who has just published a book on the history of Stromness Whaling Station (which will hopefully soon be translated into English).

It could be claimed that whaling was the first global industry having started in the northern hemisphere in the 17th Century. The conference heard that the ecological impact of whaling in by the 19th century was potentially greater than any other industry. The conference also heard that the worldwide record for a single whale catcher was set in 1931 by one of the whale catchers operating from South Georgia which caught enough whales to produce 21,000 barrels of oil in one season.

Whaling related papers were varied, for instance one was on the modern architecture of a whaling museum on Pico Island (Azores); another was the story of the rise and fall of the Japanese ‘whale town’ of Taiji. Taiji set out to make the whale, and performing whales in an aquarium, the draw for a tourist town built on reclaimed land. Though initially successful, changes in attitudes to captive animals played a part in the subsequent decline that has left Taiji a ghost town not dissimilar to the whaling stations of South Georgia.

Through many of the papers there was the repeated story of early whaling success, with the resulting increase in effort and exploitation leading to overexploitation and resulting decline in whale populations and the industry. There were surprises though, such as learning of the whaling method of ‘whale jumping’ used by whalers in the Philippines. Instead of hand or gun harpooning the whale, as developed in most cultures, the Philippine whalers had a ‘jumper’ who launched himself from a small boat onto the whale wielding a hook to bury in its side. This method of catching Brydes whales was used until as recently as 1997, since when interest in whale watching from tourism has taken over.

Some South Georgia scrimshaw in the vast collection held in the Atlantic Hotel in Sandefjord.
Some South Georgia scrimshaw in the vast collection held in the Atlantic Hotel in Sandefjord.

The venue for the symposium was in the extraordinary Atlantic Hotel. This hotel is home to its own whaling museum. Huge numbers of artefacts from whaling and whaling ships are scattered throughout the public rooms, including harpoon guns, a whalebone arch, whalers clothing and an enormous collection of scrimshaw.

The attendees also had the opportunity to take a trip on the fjord on the refurbished whale catcher Southern Actor, and to visit the Whaling Museum. Southern Actor used to operate out of Leith Whaling Station. It has been refurbished and is now based at Sandefjord from where it regularly takes passengers out on short cruises.

The next Whaling and History Symposium is due in 2017 and will coincide with the Centenary of the Sandefjord Whaling Museum.

Whale catcher Southern Actor.
Whale catcher Southern Actor.

A trip out on the old whale catcher Southern Actor which used to work out of Leith Harbour.

Maritime History Booklet

A small booklet on the maritime history of South Georgia has just been published. As the Island can only be reached by sea, its history is essentially a maritime one. Mariners have visited the island as sealers, whalers, explorers, scientists, fishermen and tourists and in this small book the author Robert Burton introduces the history of South Georgia from the perspective of the vessels that have sailed, and occasionally come to grief in, its stormy waters.

The booklet starts with the first sightings of the Island before introducing some of the expedition ships that visited its shores including Shackleton’s Endurance. It includes sections on sealing and whaling and on research ships from the Deutsche Atlantik Expedition ship Meteor to the current BAS ships.

The front cover of the Maritime History booklet
The front cover of the Maritime History booklet

Military ships are also covered. The author points out that the early exploration ships used by captains Cook and Bellingshausen, and the German International Polar Year expedition were naval vessels. This section also includes the visit in 1905 of the Argentine naval transport Guárdia Nacionál bringing a cargo of coal for Grytviken whaling station and the timely arrival of HMS Dartmouth in 1920 when a number of workers at Grytviken went on strike, threatening violence, with the intention of establishing ‘the first Marxist republic outside the Soviet Union’. The cruiser arrived unexpectedly on a courtesy visit. Order was restored and the ringleaders deported.

Vessels involved in the 1982 war are also covered, as are fishing vessels and tourist vessels. The later part of the book takes a look at those vessels that remain around the Island, from the small tow boats ashore in the whaling stations to the wrecks and hulks, before finishing off with a section on navigational aids such as lighthouses and a brief look at two vessels, Alert and James Caird, represented within the Museum at Grytviken.

This 32 page booklet is an SGHT publication and is richly illustrated with photographs and includes a map of the Island showing the sites of the wrecks and hulks and other vessel remains.

Only 1000 copies have been printed by publisher WildGuides. It costs £5 and is available from the SGHT website and from the South Georgia Museum.

Bird Island Diary

By Hannah Wood at the BAS Research Station at Bird Island.

June started as usual with the wandering albatross census. The chicks are very healthy looking and have grown an enormous amount (with the exception of one individual who we have named Tiny Tim). They can be seen busily renovating their nests with tussac, preening themselves or stretching their small wings. It’s amazing to think that these fluffy little stumps will someday develop the largest wingspans in the world!

Tiny Tim on his nest. Photo Jerry Gillham.
Tiny Tim on his nest. Photo Jerry Gillham.

The grey-headed albatrosses have finished fledging; unfortunately we have suffered many losses this year, possibly due to nest predation by the giant petrels. The last chick took to the skies on June 20th, and we hope that they do well and return to the island in 6 or 7 years to start their own family. Another successful fledgling was the offspring of one the island’s oldest residents, a 54 year old grey-headed albatross ringed by Lance Tickell on the first scientific expedition to Bird Island in 1958. The bird was ringed as a chick and has raised many chicks, including this year’s, with great success. We hope to see him and his offspring again in the future!

We have had 20 leopard seal sightings this month, which is great news, and excitingly a second satellite tag was recovered from a seal. ‘Pearce’ the leopard seal was first spotted as an adult 22 years ago, meaning that he is probably older than the current seal assistant! His tag will tell us important and rare information about where he has been since it was attached last year. Little is known about leopard seal movements during the year and each tag retrieved helps us to gain a better insight into the lives of these incredible apex predators. We look forward to seeing what he has been up to between his Bird Island visits!

‘Pearce’ the leopard seal returned and his satellite tag will give rare insight into leopard seal movements. Photo Hannah Wood.
‘Pearce’ the leopard seal returned and his satellite tag will give rare insight into leopard seal movements. Photo Hannah Wood.

Craig the Base Technician has been kept very busy with failing equipment. Both the boilers have had faults followed by a broken generator. He has been stuck with his head inside machinery for most of the month! Luckily Midwinter has provided us with ample cause for celebration and distraction (see below) and we have been trying to make the most of a few days of decent weather to get out and about for walks.

A winter walk on Bird Island. Photo Jerry G Gillham.
A winter walk on Bird Island. Photo Jerry G Gillham.

South Georgia Snippets

Downpours cause damage: June has been a month of weather extremes. The month began with torrential rain causing significant damage to the Grytviken track, with large sections of the track washed away, making it impassable to vehicles. Grytviken was also inundated with water leading to landslips and a small wooden bridge being washed away.

The following week there was a very heavy snow fall which accumulated to more than 30cm depth at sea-level. Indeed this and following snowfalls meant that the Grytviken track was closed due to avalanche risk for several weeks, whilst snow at sea-level accumulated to around a metre in total with several sizable avalanches above the track. The cold snap also caused ice to accumulate in the Cove up to 10cm thick, which made boating difficult at times.

Monday 24th saw a marked change in the weather with significantly warmer conditions accompanied by severe gales with winds gusting to 70knots. This caused a rapid thaw and soon bare ground was visible again in places at sea-level; temperatures peaked at 13°C towards the end of the month.

Shackleton ‘Flagship’ Scholarship available: A special ‘Flagship’ scholarship is currently available from the grant body Shackleton Scholarship Fund to mark the centenary of Shackleton’s Endurance expedition setting out for Antarctica in 1914. To mark the anniversary, the Shackleton Scholarship Fund is offering a scholarship worth £10,000 for research in the natural or social sciences of relevance to the countries of the South Atlantic, including South Georgia.

Applications from individuals or teams of research workers from any country should be made to the Fund’s website by September 15th 2013.

Meanwhile the 2013 Shackleton Awards have been announced as: £2,000 for Dr Michael Tabak, University of Wyoming, for a study on the eradication of rats (Rattus norvegicus) from the Falkland Islands. Part of this work will assess the danger of ‘reinvasion’ by rats of islands already cleared by determining the ability of rats to swim considerable distances; £2,000 for Andrew Mathews who will studying the benthic (sea-floor) community structure in the shallow water environment at Adventure Sound, FI; £2,500 for Ezequiel Mercau to study his project –‘The Falklands War and British Identity’; and £2,000 for Dr Stephen Palmer to pursue two historical topics: first the European Space Research Organisation (ESRO) in Stanley and second, the ships and vessels of the Falkland Islands Company.

Shackleton’s Penguin: A penguin collected by Shackleton is on show for probably the first time ever in a collection of curiosities forming a new ‘Curiosity’ exhibition at The Turner Contemporary Gallery in Margate, Kent, UK. Other Shackletonia included in the exhibition is correspondence from Shackleton about the preservation of the penguin specimen. Apparently the penguin is usually part of the collection of Quex Park (Kent), which is better known for its large collection of stuffed African animals.

Bemused and Amused Muses: South Georgia couple Pat and Sarah Lurcock were bemused but amused to be contacted by an Austrian folk band Dos and Dust who told them that they are the band’s muses for their album ‘South Georgia’.

Sebastian Müller from the band wrote to say that he and his band “have been very fascinated with everything concerning South Georgia ever since we've read about it in an article some years ago. So fascinated, that in 2011 we even released an album titled "South Georgia", inspired by the territory.” What prompted Sebastian to write now was that the CD version of the album has now almost sold out and he said “we'd like to send one of our last copies to Mr and Mrs Lurcock, out of respect and as a little "thank you" for unknowingly being our muses.”

Pat and Sarah are now looking forward to receiving the album, not least because a quick search on YouTube revealed that the folk album is very much their sort of music. Indeed you can listen to the album and buy it as a download or CD on the band’s website

You can also see them performing the beautiful track “Island” on You Tube here.

Dates for Your Diary:

Exploring Antarctica: The Final Expeditions of Scott and Shackleton: Chatham Historic Dockyard, Kent until August 30th. The exhibition centres on the ultimate expeditions of both Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton - charted through the words, photographs and artefacts of those involved. You can find more information here.

Midwinter Marked With Madness And Massive Menus

Midwinter is an important celebration on all the BAS bases, marking the shortest day of winter and heralding the return of longer days and sunshine. At Bird Island they started celebrations early on June 21st. Hannah Wood describes the celebrations: “We started with a brilliant cooked breakfast made by the Base Commander; fresh orange juice, a real treat! Later in the morning it was time for the much anticipated Midwinter Dip! A tradition which requires a very quick sprint into the sea! I don’t think any of us lasted more than a couple of seconds before sprinting back to base for a hot shower! Then we got back into pyjamas and comfy clothes for the traditional matinee showing of The Thing! I had never seen it before and so was eagerly anticipating the Antarctic Research Station-based horror fest! It was brilliant! Next up it was time to don the glad-rags and get spiffed up for Midwinter’s dinner, a great feast which started with a champagne toast and ended with two incredible cakes and the exchanging of gifts!”

The Bird Islanders raise a toast to midwinter. Photo Craig Brown.
The Bird Islanders raise a toast to midwinter. Photo Craig Brown.

Hannah said, “The run up to midwinter was spent in a haze of panic as we all frantically rushed to complete our Midwinter presents for one another. June evenings have mostly been dedicated to secret painting, sawing, sanding and varnishing. The pressure to make something fantastic was immense! Everyone’s hard work and effort showed on the day though when the creations were unveiled. Each present was unique and personal and I know they will all be treasured for years to come.”

The Bird Island midwinter presents.
The Bird Island midwinter presents.

The Midwinter festivities were continued throughout the rest of the week with activities every day, including Highland Games and our version of Wimbledon, complete with Pimms and (frozen) strawberries! The week ended with a tribute to Glastonbury Festival where we listened to songs from this years’ line-up, erected tents outside and spent a night huddled in sleeping bags in front of base.”

Wimbledon Bird Island style. Photo Craig Brown.
Wimbledon Bird Island style. Photo Craig Brown.

Midwinter sports featured cabre tossing. Photo Jerry Gillham.
Midwinter sports featured cabre tossing. Photo Jerry Gillham.

At KEP celebrations spread throughout the midwinter week too, but had to fit around work as there was a steady stream of fishing vessels in port. Celebrations started with the traditional Midwinter’s pub crawl. Each working group had set up a bar and hosted the other base members in some unusual nightspots including the starry ‘Theatre Bar’.

The Theatre Bar was one of several pop up bars on offer for the midwinter pub crawl at KEP.
The Theatre Bar was one of several pop up bars on offer for the midwinter pub crawl at KEP.

KEP also had a showing of ‘The Thing’ and various other entertainments, but the centrepiece was midwinters day itself. With a similar programme to Bird Island, the day began with a hearty breakfast for all on base to provide warmth and energy ready for the traditional midwinter swim. Nine hardy, heroic or crazy fools rushed though thigh deep snow into the bay for a quick dip. Midwinter presents were exchanged early in the afternoon, with some excellent craftsmanship including knitwear, carpentry and metalwork. Then in the evening a superb group effort produced an excellent meal, which of course featured reindeer.

KEP Midwinter meal. Photo Joe Corner
KEP Midwinter meal. Photo Joe Corner

To subscribe to the SGIsland News Alerts list click here

  • © Copyright GSGSSI 2013.