Half a million penguins and a bone saw.
After working in Antarctica on the MV Spirit of Adventure in 2009 I was left with an itch to get back south – those of you who know me best will be aware of that. After years of trying I was eventually offered a job working for the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) as a boating officer on the Island of South Georgia. While South Georgia isn’t the ‘real’ Antarctic it’s still south of the convergence and at 110 miles long as well as being surrounded by incredibly rich waters it’s home to millions of penguins and seals, dozens of mountains and glaciers, the occasional iceberg and a handful of humans.
It’s an island famous for two things – being the first territory invaded by the Argentineans in the 1982 Falklands conflict and the great explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton who finished his epic ‘Endurance’ survival story (If you don’t know the story buy one of the many books about it, you won’t regret it.) on the island and where he was buried after his death on a later expedition.
A picture tells a thousand words, so they say. I’ll try to keep the writing to a minimum and let the photos tell the story, having said that this post will be quite heavy in both pictures and words as I’ll try to set the scene for future posts and make up for lost time!
It began in mid November with a Military flight from RAF Brize Norton airbase in the the UK to the Falkland Islands before joining the BAS research ship James Clark Ross (JCR).