Sunday, 26 August 2007

Winter trip Number 2!

Watch this space!
I'm off on my second and last winter trip tomorrow for a week, before we have to start thinking about clearing the runway of snow for the return of the planes in October.
Myself and Mark Goring (GA) are going to attempt a visit to Caverhal which is a base which belongs to the Chileans. It is unmanned through the winter so it should be nice and peaceful. I'm looking forward to having a look and exploring this old base as i have heard so much about it from others who visited back in April.

Darts and Casino night

Last Friday we had our first winter darts match. We played best of three games against King George Island and lost 2 games to one. Pretty disappointing as there are only 4 people wintering at that base. However they have no pool table so guessing they have been practicing there technique.

last night Dickie organized a cocktails and casino evening. It was a black tie event and we have a roulette table and blackjack table. Unfortunately the evening didn't go on too late as most people were very tired after we have a brilliant day, weather wise and spent the whole day snowboarding.

Jim as our croupier

Friday, 24 August 2007

A visit from Royalty

Today we were visited by a very welcome animal. An Emperor penguin appeared on the runway. Usually an Emperor penguin or two are seen on the base each winter but they only usually come when there is sea ice so this was quite unusual as we have no sea ice and it was quite windy today. This seemed like a juvenile as it was not yet fully grown and the closest Emperor penguin colony to us is a juvenile colony.

Thursday, 23 August 2007


Today i went out on one of the Avon boats to help our marine assistant, Allison with a CTD. (Conductivity-Temperature-Depth) experiment.
This involved driving out to a site marked with a GPS co-ordinate. Once there we dropped the CTD machine over the edge and then reeled in out to a depth of 400 meters. Then reeled it back up. As the machine descends in automatically collects water samples at different depths which Allison then does tests on for things like Salinity and organisms living at different depths.

Shortly after dropping the CTD a massive Leopard seal surfaced about 5 meters away from the boat. Needless to say our hearts were beating pretty fast as we struggled to get our cameras out. Leopard seals are the Antarctic's No. 1 predator and are highly dangerous animals to be around. It is also quite rare to see these animals as they are quite uncommon. The seal had a good look at us then swam of. We were very honored be have such a close encounter. On the way back to the Wharf we spotted another seal on an iceberg and assumed it was a pregnant Weddell seal but upon closer inspection (4 meters) the beast woke up and low and behold it was a smaller Leopard seal! We got pretty close to this seal for some good pictures, but as soon as it slipped into the water we thought we'd call it a day as they are far more comfortable in their own environment.

Sunday Chef

Every Sunday our fabulous chef Cyril has a day off so we all take in turn to do a 'Sunday Cook'
Last Sunday was my turn so i treated the base to my culinary delights. Yum!
A full fry up for brunch and then a traditional roast Turkey with all the trimmings for the evening meal. I even made little sausages wrapped in bacon. Followed by rice pudding for desert.
Needless to say no one complained and i think it reminded everyone of a home cooked Sunday roast, which is one thing i miss more than anything being down here.

Cyril does an amazing job cooking for 22 of us every day with no complaints. He must find it hard coming up with ideas and having to improvise with ingredients as we have no fresh food, salads and have to use powder milk.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Typical winter weather

Well it certainly is winter here at the moment. We thought we had finally got decent sea ice last month and after spending a day measuring the thickness it was decided that we needed an extra week before we could travel safety on it. With that along came a weeks worth of 30 knot plus Northerly winds which blew it all away overnight along with the divers wooden boards which covered the dive holes. Bugger!!!
This week has however brought strong Southerly winds which are extremely cold. The temperature has plummeted to a chilling -25 and the sea ice has been blown back in. But for how long???

On a personal note it was my Dads birthday this week, so happy birthday to you. Miss you loads.