54 17'S 036 30'W. South Georgia, Southern Ocean.

Follow Matt Kenney during his deployment in South Georgia, working as a Boating Officer and Coxswain for the British Antarctic Survey.

Read Matt's posts with news, reviews and extracts from his Journals, and see photo and video posts to show you some of the work the Antarctic Survey are doing in the Southern Ocean, and also provide an insight into life on a British Antarctic research station.

Matt will also provide accounts of his work at sea and ashore on Humber Destroyer RHIBs and 11m twin jet drive Pilot vessels along side the team at the King Edward Point research facility.

Matt arrived in South Georgia on the 28th October 2010.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

December 11

So on in to December 11, in the second of my latest series of catch up blogs.  Looking back, December was a great month to be in South Georgia, and some exciting things were happening.

Firstly, the team here welcomed the arrival of Dr Jostein Bekke and his team of researchers from the Bjerkes Centre for Climate Research in Bergen.  The team had arrived with a considerable amount of equipment to take lake coring samples from some of the small lakes in the mountains of the Busen and Barff peninsulas.  The team had a vast amount of kit to transport to each location including an inflatable raft, lake coring equipment, drills, sample tubes, an outboard engine, a generator, aluminium cases full of sundry scientific instruments, and of course personal kit and supplies for up to a week in the field.  All of this equipment had to be stowed on the aft deck of the jetboat during passage to and from field locations, and this included strapping 20 foot long sections of drain pipe to the side decks!

Once again the Royal Navy dropped by to say hello.  The type 45 destroyer HMS Montrose rolled in to cumberland bay during her tour of the South Atlantic.

Another major highlight was the arrival of the Norwegian reindeer herders Karl Eric and Henrick.  Herick is a Sammi reindeer herder from the north of Norway, and is part of a traditional community of reindeer people in the region.  An unassuming, friendly and placid character, Henrick often belies his impressive strength, and agility as he hunts reindeer in the tradition method of lassoing the beast and wrestling the animal to the ground (including the large bucks!).  The process is very humane, and causes little pain to the animal as death is achieved quickly using a razor sharp blade and an intimate knowledge of which blood vessels are cut.  Henrick gave lassoing lessons, and showed us how to prepare the meat for cooking.  The meat itself is very tasty, though both Henrick and Karl Eric could discern a subtle difference in the flavour of the meat compared with the resident norwegian herds.  The team are here to begin planning for the eradication of reindeer from South Georgia, and there will be further updates on this.

Lastly, the outgoing winterers finally left the island after their year (or two) of adventure on South Georgia.  To mark the evolution of time, and in a way put closure on what was a fabulous year together, we took a fabulous overnight camping trek to Curlew Cave on the North coast of the Thatcher Peninsula.  Curlew Cave is a natural cave cut in to the rock, and features a lovely warm (ish) and dry sandy floor - perfect for bivvying out over night.  The weather was less than perfect on the walk over, which in the conditions took us around 4 hours and saw us navigating through thick cloud in the mountain passes.  however, once in the cave, with socks hung up to dry, and a blazing campfire permeating the frigid cold, we soon settled in to a few warming rums and some freeze dried beef curry!  As a consolatory gesture, the return journey the following morning was made in glorious sunshine and excellent views from the mountain pass.  Good bye (for now) and good luck to Rob, Matt, Ashley and Sam!
L-R: Ali, Me, Katie, Tommy,Matt H, Rob.

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Matt Kenney 2010.