Kuli South Georgia Expedition

Oct 16

Our Core-free Lifestyle

Published at 23:33
Dispatch created from email
The storm that has delayed our climb to the glacier stayed with us for all
of Monday, dumping several centimeters of snow on the ground. Most of us
enjoyed the shelter of the ship. Bjorn, Mariusz and Marcello remained boxed
in their cozy cabin on Barff Peninsula.

When Tuesday brought back the sunshine, our three intrepid heroes clambered
up to the glacier and radioed Paul to say it was “questionable” whether
it would be suitable for ice coring. That means we now have a maximum of one
week left in South Georgia, and no sure source of the ice cores we need to
investigate climate history.

Paul, refusing to be cowed by unconfirmed reports of inadequate ice, is
sending our radar expert Gino up to plumb the depths of the glacier with his
high-tech tools. He and the others are assigned come back with a few meters
of core. Meanwhile, Paul will lead a team to the snout of the Nordenskjold
glacier and take core samples on Wednesday. Naturally, it all depends on
whether the storm decides to make a comeback or not.

Back at King Edward Point, Paula, an Irishwoman who works as a boat
specialist and mechanic for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), gave me a
tour of the facilities on the island. The BAS on South Georgia consists of
about a dozen mostly youthful scientists and support staff, charged with
researching birds, fish and marine mammals in the isolated sub-Antarctic
wilderness. They work hard – and, from all appearances, play with equal
gusto. The BAS facility includes a well-stocked English-style pub with a
broad wine rack. The kitchen is stocked with all manner of British
delicacies, even though chocolate is rationed. The wall of the welding shop
sports the requisite nude-model calendar, this one from 2001. And then
there’s the sauna, where the BAS staff steam up and then plunge into the
ice floe-packed bay in their swimsuits.

There is an entire week of festivities surrounding the Winter Solstice on
June 21, including a compulsory dip in the water and a “pub crawl.” This
year, they set up eight separate pubs for about 12 people who wintered on
the island, according to a participant. Most BASers who come here stay for
several years. No wonder.
  • Name: King Edward Point
  • Elevation: 0 m
  • Latitude: 54° 1654South
  • Longitude: 36° 3028West


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