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   News and Events 

South Georgia Newsletter, April 2006

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Longliners Licensed in readiness for the start of the South Georgia Toothfish Season

The longliner “San Aspiring” at KEP jetty. Photo by J.Fernandez.

Fishing boat in the Cumberland Bay East. Photo by J.Fernandez.

The main toothfish fishing season starts in South Georgia waters on May 1st. Eleven vessels will be licensed this year, and six of these: - “Argos Helena” (St Helena), “San Aspiring” (New Zealand), “Koryo Maru 11”(South Africa), “Protegat” (Falkland Islands), “In Sung 22” (Korea) and “Jacqueline” (Falkland Islands) were inspected in April. Four of these were inspected and licensed on April 30th the two others had been inspected and licensed earlier in the month. Both these vessels, “San Aspiring” and “Argos Helena”, were allocated a 50 tonne TAC (Total Allowable Catch) to fish from April 1st in the waters around the South Sandwich Islands. The 100 tonne TAC in the South Sandwich Island area, known as 48.4, was set by CCAMLR (The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.)

International Scientific Observers are on all vessels and have used the port visit for vessel licensing as an opportunity to come ashore and meet the BAS (British Antarctic Survey) scientists who work at KEP and will analyse samples the observers collect during the season.


Fisheries Observers came ashore to meet the scientists at KEP Station. Photo by J.Fernandez.

Twenty-five fishermen and two observers from longliner “San Aspiring” came ashore whilst their vessel was in for licensing and took the opportunity to walk around KEP, Grytviken and the surrounding areas, visiting the South Georgia Museum and taking the opportunity to send some mail from the Post Office. It was good for them to stretch their legs and make use of such a beautiful day, after sailing and fishing for several weeks in the frozen waters of the Southern Ocean.


HM Queen Elizabeth II’s 80th Birthday is celebrated with a New Stamp Issue

The South Georgia Post Office has released a new collection of 4 stamps, a sheetlet and two First Day Covers to commemorate the 80th Birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II onApril 21st. The four stamps are composed of four attractive photographs taken throughout the Queen’s life, two are valued at 50 pence, one at 75 pence and one at a pound. Two of the same stamps, one 50p and one 75p, make up part of the £1.25 sheetlet, which also features seven other photographs in a strip at the bottom. The sheetlet is used on one of the First Day Covers (price £2.10), and the four stamps on the other (price £3.50).

The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Government celebrated the Queen’s birthday with a public holiday.

Image Scanned: FDC’s and stamp H.M. Queen Elizabeth II Birthday


“RRS James Clark Ross” at King Edward Point

Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross arriving at King Edward Point .Photo J. Fernandez.

After finishing the Antarctic summer season, the “Royal Research Ship James Clark Ross” made its last visit to the research station at King Edward Point, arriving at the jetty at 8:30 am on April 3rd.
Whilst here with the ship marine biologist, Keiran Fraser, undertook two days of diving, collecting samples for a scientific project to add to those taken at various sites throughout the ships journey around the Scotia Arc, in the Southern Ocean.

Throughout the day, many of the crew and BAS personal from JCR, took the opportunity to visit the South Georgia Museum to buy some souvenirs and send out their mail from the South Georgia Post Office. Also, some chose to go for a walk around the old whaling station of Grytviken or walk along the coast to enjoy a gorgeous weather day.
In the evening all those on board were invited to a barbecue in the boatshed at KEP, many catching up with old friends they had not seen for a long, long time.

When the ship left the next day they were given a rousing farewell from all the winterers left on the KEP base, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over Cumberland East Bay.


Giant Petrel Given a Helping Hand

The giant petrel on the beach at KEP. Photo by J. Fernandez

A distressed Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) was found near the KEP jetty and given a helping hand. The apparently young bird had been seen acting strangely the day before and now appeared to be waterlogged and unable to fly. Occasionally birds, especially fledglings, collide with hazards such as radio aerials. At this time of year they are also drawn to lights on misty or snowy evenings and can crash into buildings or ships. It is for this reason ships close to shore are asked to keep deck lighting to a minimum, and around the base outside lighting is reduced and sometimes turned off altogether in high bird-strike risk conditions. The Scientists from KEP caught the bird easily, checked it for any obvious injury, called it “Michael” and placed it in a box in a quiet room to dry out and recuperate. It was released the next day, still a little damp, but it held its wings out to dry in the sun and the good news was that 2 days after it was found, “Mike” suddenly just flew away. We hope now that “Mike” is well and still on the wing.


“Restless” Visits South Georgia

Ron Restless Captain. Photo by J.Fernandez “Restless” leaving KEP, we wish all the best Ron! Photo by J.Fernandez

King Edward Point has had many different yacht visits during the summer season. Last to leave was Ron Davis aboard his yacht “Restless”. After some problems with his engine near Bird Island, Ron sailed into Elsehul bay (north of South Georgia) where he spent a few days repairing his engine as best he could. Once the engine was in relatively good condition, he sailed to Prince Olaf Harbour where he met yacht “Pelagic” whom he asked to email his friends in Falklands to pass on his whereabouts. The next day, he sailed to Grytviken. He has spent some weeks in the Cove walking around the area and enjoying the company of the local people, who enjoyed hearing about his many funny experiences. Ron has been sailing for 18 years, so he has plenty of stories to tell. As soon as the favourable winds came, he prepared his sails to leave KEP and is now continuing his solo trip towards South Africa. Ron said he hopes to return to South Georgia one day with a new engine!

Since setting out on April 27th he has spoken to KEP a couple of times by radio and he said everything was fine, weather was good and he thinks he will arrive at South Africa on May 20th.


The “Bobby Charlton” Progress

Here is the latest photograph to show you Jamie’s progress growing a “Bobby Charlton” style combover for charity. The money pledged for Jamie’s unusual challenge is growing, and if he succeeds will be paid to the “Save the Albatross Fund”.



Last haircut from Jamie Watts. As you can see now, with a bit of gel in it!!! Photo by J.Fernandez.


South Georgia Snippets

During the past month, King Edward Point has said sad goodbyes to the rest of the people who were waiting to return home at the end of the summer season. The Morrison FI Ltd works at the South Georgia Museum and Visitors Centre have finished for the season. The last of the Morrison Construction workers, Alan Geach, Kevan White, Stuart Briggs and Peter Stevenson left King Edward Cove on the Fishery Patrol Ship Sigma on April 5th.

Taxidermist Steve Massam left KEP too. He embarked on the FPV Sigma on April 16th, after he finished his work on the giant squid’s beak and the fish models which will go on show in the Museum.

Congratulations Steve Brown and Judith Dickson
Two ex BAS folk who met at the KEP base in 2001 got married in the UK on Saturday April 22nd. Steve Brown was the Base Commander and Judith Dickson was Assistant Scientist during the first two years of the new base at KEP. Many of their contemporaries on South Georgia at the time were due to attend the wedding, so it would have been a good reunion as well as an occasion to celebrate a special union.

Pat and Sarah are back
Sarah and Pat Lurcock are back from their holidays. Government Officer Pat was straight back to work with his colleague Emma Jones to prepare for the busy toothfish licensing period.
After a very busy summer tourist season Javier Fernandez was glad to hand over the Post Office to Sarah, and this is his last website newsletter before he heads off for a well deserved holiday.


Pat Lurcock disembarking FPV Sigma. Photo by J.Fernandez

  Sarah Lurcock looks happy to be home again. Photo by J.Fernandez

New Educational Game

A new Flash educational game has been developed and published on this website in the games section. The game has been designed to provide a better understanding for the younger generation of the ecosystems at South Georgia. If you do have a young family please do encourage them to play the “Penguin Attack” game. It can be found in the gamezone here.

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