Saturday, 30 October 2010

South Again...

Hello! Welcome again to readers of my previous blogs on various subjects and from various locales:

I now present a new diary from a new locale. My latest job has once again taken me to the Southern Hemisphere to an isolated island covered with mountains and glaciers. The differences this time are many, and they will become clear.

I shall be writing for the next 14 months from King Edward Point, by the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken, the erstwhile core of the Southern Ocean whale fishery of the first half of the 20th century. It is also famously the site of the death of Ernest Shackleton, who died a few hundred yard from where I sit, and to whom a memorial is dedicated at the far side of the cove.

The place is beautiful and remote. It's also full of nature, being far less extreme in climate terms than the Antarctic Peninsula, and is home to endemic species and to the most southerly known songbird, the South Georgia pipit. This I hope to record!

Anyway, below is a short summary of my route to the Falkland Islands and onwards to South Georgia.
A couple of hours stopover in Ascension Island, not far from the equator. A strange lunaresque landscape, though hot. Little moisture is to be found, except on the summit of Green Mountain, where lush forest supposedly flourishes fed by moisture condensed out of the air as the warm sea air is forced upwards by the island.

Above, the classic shot from Port Stanley, capital of the Falkland Islands upon which the war was focussed during the 1982 conflict. The frame-like structure in front of the cathedral is a whalebone arch - the bones are blue whale jaw bones and clearly demonstrate the immense scale of these giant creatures. Blue whales were slaughtered in their thousands around South Georgia.
Preparing to sail from Stanley to King Edward Point - this took us the best part of 5 days of pretty pleasant going. Plenty of birds including wandering albatross could be seen from the rear of the ship.
Enjoying the sunny weather, which has incredibly continued until this day (the 3rd of November)! Thanks for reading.... RobPosted by Picasa