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 News and Events 


Spring in South Georgia

South Georgia has received a slow start to its summer this year as the winter cold was around until nearly mid December. Summer's late start meant burrowing petrels could have had a challenging start to the breeding season on the outlying islands, as the entrances to many of their burrows remained iced up under tussock clumps for longer than usual.Fur seals have coped well and their numbers appear to support the trend of an increasing population in the King Edward Cove area. As ever the elephant seal pups adorn the beaches with their smiling faces and loud burps and snorts. Skiing enthusiasts at KEP and Grytviken enjoyed some late spring snow and excellent skiing in the wee hours of the early morning.


South Georgia Web Site
The Project Atlantis team this year has captured imagery in a large number of the bays visited by the cruise vessels. The idea is to develop the explore section of the web site so that web site visitors can view 360 degree visual panoramas of the more popular areas to visit.


Dias & Albatross
The two sunken wrecks of Albatross and Dias appear to continue to leak out thick oil from their ruptured fuel tanks. Some penguins and seals on the beaches of Grytviken have suffered. OSRL (Oil Spill Response Ltd) that pumped fuel oil from the wreck of Petrel were unsuccessful earlier this year in their attempt to clean out Albatross and Dias.


Christmas at Grytviken

Christmas at Grytviken HMS ENDURANCE was able to remain in King Edward Point (KEP) for Christmas this year at the end of her work period in South Georgia. This was the first time in four years the ship has been able to stay over Christmas at KEP.

Despite being in the Antarctic Isle's summer, it snowed to give the Cove a white Christmas. A midnight mass and a Christmas morning carol service was celebrated in the beautifully decorated Grytviken Church. The ladies of the Cove had spent much time and effort decorating the Church and filling every window ledge with candles. Many of the RN surveyors from HMS ENDURANCE attended the service in their number one uniforms. A Boxing Day football match between the ship and those on shore took place on the whaler's pitch. The final score was 4 goals to 2 goals to the ship. The ship's company much enjoyed walks ashore and indeed the hospitality of those living on the island. The Cruise vessel Explorer visited on Christmas Eve and also held a service in the Grytviken Church.


This year HMS ENDURANCE completed successful surveys in Drygakski Fjord and off Cooper Island. The inshore survey of the Fjord proved to be a tough nut to crack. Fierce winds, low temperatures, choppy seas and faulty equipment provided a number of challenges to be overcome. Perseverance and determination eventually won through and the surveys were completed just prior to returning to KEP. The ships flight were busy supporting the surveyors, flying vertical photography tasks for the Hydrographic Office in Taunton and supporting British Antarctic Survey and the Project Atlantis Team.


Norway's Friends of South Georgia

cutting the sheet HMS ENDURANCE is carrying back to Porstmouth a large sheet of metal (3.5 m by 1.75 m) from Gytviken Whaling Station for the Norway's Friends of South Georgia. The metal is to be used to form a memorial to all those Norwegians who lost their lives while whaling from South Georgia. The memorial with the names of those who lost their lives engraved on the metal is due to be erected in Sanderfjord in 2004. This is the 100 years anniversary of the start of whaling from South Georgia.



europa at KEP
Six expeditions have visited or are planning to visit South Georgia this austral summer:

· Dave Hann with Quark Expedition led a group of clients successfully over the Shackleton Crossing in the period 7 to 14 November. Apparently the weather was superb, but the Ozone hole was open and many suffered severe sunburn.
· A Norwegian Team under the leadership of Ulf Prytz completed the Shackleton crossing during the period 21 November and 1 December from the Yacht Golden Fleece.
· Greg Mortimer with Aurora Expeditions failed in their bid to complete the Shackleton crossing from 28 November to 3 December due to poor weather and client fatigue. He is due to return during the period 8 to 13 March 2003 with a second group to attempt the crossing.
· The Royal Scottish Geographical Society is to undertake a 6-week scientific expedition to South Georgia between late-December 2002 and early February 2003. The expedition is in celebration of the centenary of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (Bruce 1902-04). The scientific research objectives are to identify the environmental history of the island since the Last Glacial Maximum, around 20,000 years ago, and to analyse this history in the wider global context of environmental changes in Antarctica and southern South America. The team will comprise a total of 12/13 people: 9 scientists, the skipper and 2 crew members of the expedition yacht. The area of operation extends from the Bay of Isles to Royal Bay on the north coast of the island.
· Alun Hubbard, from his Yacht Gambo plans to attempt a series of ascents in the Allardyce and Salvesen ranges from 24 February to 25 March. Peaks under consideration in the Allardyce range include Paget, Roots, Marikoppa and Paulsen. In the Salvesen range Sabatier, Sederens and Normann area is to be considered. There is a scientific component to quantify the short-term response of the Nordenskold glacier to climate change.
· Chris Tiso in the Yacht Pelagic plans to sail around South Georgia and to conduct some walking, skiing, climbing and diving in various areas from 15 March to 6 April.


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